Guest Post: EJ Russell for Mystic Man

Many thanks to Open Skye for inviting me to stop by today as part of the Mystic Man blog tour! Mystic Man is a contemporary novella set in Connecticut, part of Dreamspinner’s States of Love collection. To celebrate the release, at the end of the tour I’ll be giving away a $20 Amazon gift card and an ebook copy of Clickbait (another of my contemporary romantic comedies) to one lucky commenter.

As part of my writing process, I always try to find a picture of an actor or some other public figure who fits my general mental image of my main characters. I do this because I am so not a visual person—and because description is the hardest thing for me to write. Dialogue? Heh. No problem. My characters can natter on to each other until the cows come home. My first drafts tend to look more like screenplays than novels with all of the verbal sniping.
But then I have to get down to work and describe things—their home, their clothing, their hair and eyes and skin and…stuff. It’s much easier for me to jump-start my writer’s brain if I’ve got a picture to look at than if I try to close my eyes and imagine things. (When I close my eyes, I hear words—I don’t necessarily see images, which is something that I used to argue endlessly about with one of my friends who’s an artist. But I’m an auditory learner. He’s visual. Our brains are wired differently.)
So since I can’t see my character’s hair and eyes and skin and…stuff in my head, I collect visual aids in the form of online photos. I cast them, as if I were casting a play or movie.
When I was “casting” Mystic Man, my mental image for Aaron, my historian/librarian, was Anthony Head as Giles in Buffy. What can I say? It was the glasses—and the fact that Giles’s natural habitat was the library as he delved into the historical archives to help Buffy fight the good fight—that made that one a no-brainer.
I’m not sure exactly why I zeroed in on ice dancer Charlie White as my image for Cody. I know that Charlie’s last name was why I decided to use another colorful name—Brown—for Cody’s surname.
I’ve always been fascinated by Charlie White as an ice dancer. I mean, back in his competitive World/Olympic champion days with Meryl Davis, he didn’t look like someone who could be into such an intricate and mannered and regulated sport. With that fabulous mop of blond hair and that grin? Let’s face it. He was Surfer Dude on Ice.
That’s one of the things I loved about him—the juxtaposition, the contradiction, the playing against type. This video is from 2014 when Charlie and Meryl won their Olympic gold medal. In the first piece (my favorite), their original dance to a My Fair Lady medley, Charlie’s whole attitude and demeanor is exactly Cody’s enthusiasm and joy.

I told Brooke Albrecht, my cover designer, that Cody looked like Charlie—especially the hair—and she found the perfect cover model!

Mystic Man
A States of Love Novella
When a series of personal crises prompt risk-averse research librarian Aaron Templeton to apply for a job on the other side of the country, nobody is more surprised than he is. He nearly runs home before the final interview except for one little problem: he has no home anymore. He put his condo on the market before he left California and it’s already sold. Only an encounter with free-spirited Connecticut native Cody Brown at the Mystic Seaport Museum staves off Aaron’s incipient panic attack.

Cody loves nothing better than introducing newcomers to the great features of his beloved home state, and when the newbie in question is a rumpled professorial type with the saddest blue eyes on the planet? Score! The attraction between the two men deepens as they explore Cody’s favorite spots, but when difficulties arise and Aaron’s insecurities threaten to overwhelm him, will Cody’s love be enough to keep him in Mystic?

Buy links:

Universal: http://books2read.com/mystic-man?affiliate=off
Dreamspinner: http://bit.ly/mystic-man

Author bio:
E.J. Russell–grace, mother of three, recovering actor–writes romance in a rainbow of flavors. Count on high snark, low angst and happy endings.

Reality? Eh, not so much.

She’s married to Curmudgeonly Husband, a man who cares even less about sports than she does. Luckily, C.H. also loves to cook, or all three of their children (Lovely Daughter and Darling Sons A and B) would have survived on nothing but Cheerios, beef jerky, and Satsuma mandarins (the extent of E.J.’s culinary skill set).

E.J. lives in rural Oregon, enjoys visits from her wonderful adult children, and indulges in good books, red wine, and the occasional hyperbole.

Website: http://ejrussell.com
Newsletter: http://ejrussell.com/newsletter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/E.J.Russell.author
Twitter: http://twitter.com/ej_russell
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ej_russell_author/
Amazon author page: http://www.amazon.com/author/ej_russell
Bookbub author page: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/e-j-russell
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/ej_russell

Cover RevealL: Three Months to Forever by Hudson Lin

 

I’m Hudson Lin and welcome to my cover reveal! Three Months to Forever was inspired by my own three-month work stint in Hong Kong, when I fell in love with the city. This cover illustrates just how diverse Hong Kong is. From the towering skyscrapers, to the shimmering harbor, to the mountains that surround, Hong Kong is beautiful in so many unexpected ways. I can’t wait to share the city with you through the story of Ben and Sai and how they turn three months into forever.

Blurb:

Ben is looking for an adventure when he accepts a temporary assignment in Hong Kong, but he never anticipated how his life might change when he meets a sophisticated older man named Sai. Their initial attraction is sizzling and soon grows into more as Sai takes Ben on a tour of the city’s famous landmarks and introduces him to the local cuisine. Sai stimulates Ben’s intellect and curiosity, and for jaded corporate lawyer Sai, Ben’s innocent eagerness is a breath of fresh air. It would be so easy to fall in love….

But nothing is that simple. Sai’s job forces him to do things that violate his morals, and his relationship with his family is a major obstacle to any lasting relationship with Ben. Back in Toronto, Ben’s father is ill, and can he really leave behind his home for a man he’s only known for a short time? With the clock ticking, they must decide whether to risk it all and turn three monthsinto forever.

Author Bio:

Hudson Lin was raised by conservative immigrant parents and grew up straddling two cultures with ofttimes conflicting perspectives on life. Instead of conforming to either, she has sought to find a third way that brings together the positive elements of both.

Having spent much of her life on the outside looking in, Hudson likes to write stories about outsiders who fight to carve out their place in society, and overcome everyday challenges to find love and happily ever afters.

When not engrossed in a story, Hudson knits, drinks tea, and works the 9 to 5 in the beautiful city of Toronto, Canada.

Buy Links:

DSP: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/three-months-to-forever-by-hudson-lin-9751-b

 

 

 

Guest Post: Alexis Duran with Prowl!

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OS: We are here with Alexis Duran, who has graciously answered some questions for us!  How would you describe your writing style/genre?

AD:

I write in several different genres, but there is almost always an element of fantasy in my books. These days, I’m writing mostly in various subgenres of gay romance, including high fantasy, paranormal, and now cozy mystery. It’s interesting for me as a writer to go back and forth between a rather serious, dark series like Masters and Mages, and a light, quirky series like Edge of Night or the Jacqui the Cat Mysteries. My tone certainly alters, and my style is more formal in the high fantasy books, but I like to think I always infuse humor into my work, and most importantly, a sense of wonder of how amazing and magical this world of ours is.

OS: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

 

AD:
Ha! Well, let’s just say, when you’re writing erotica, you occasionally have to ask yourself, “is that even possible?” and then end up doing some interesting contortions to find out.

 

OS: Have you ever taken a trip to research a story?

 

AD: It works kind of backward for me. My travels often end up inspiring the setting of a book, and I’ll revisit the same places over and over once I’ve decided to put them in a book. I have a friend in Friday Harbor who’s sick of me because I’ve set several stories there now, including Jacqui the Cat. I have a book planned that takes place in Hawaii, and I’m determined to make that research trip happen!

 

OS: What do you do when you get writer’s block?

AD: Okay, I’m going to be very annoying and tell you that I don’t get writer’s block anymore. Or not in the big sense, anyway. I’ve trained myself to make writing a priority, set a schedule and stick to it, whether I feel like it or not. I always write something. Yes, there is often resistance, but if you’ve trained yourself to write at a certain time, your fingers will just start moving. When I get stuck on story plot, or start drawing blanks, usually going for a walk, pulling weeds, or just getting away from the story for a little while will allow the subconscious to do its work and let me see what I couldn’t while staring at the computer screen.

OS: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

 

AD: I used to, but quickly learned my fragile ego couldn’t take it. If I want to write genuine, heart-felt stories, I really can’t hold back. So I pour my heart and soul into a story, and then I have to let it go. Naturally, not everyone’s going to love it, and I’ve decided that’s really none of my business. I read the glowing five-stars reviews, because who doesn’t love that? I wouldn’t recommend going to reviews for feedback and critiques of your work because you have no idea who these people are or where they’re coming from. Most reviewers are just fine, but some people use anonymity as an excuse to vent their spleen and their negativity really has nothing to do with you as a writer, but it can still wound. Get your feedback from beta readers and critique groups who can explain to you why they feel the way they do and stand by their comments.

 

OS: What do you do if you get a brilliant idea at a bad time?

 

AD: I’m an obsessive carrier of journals, of every size. Some people might think I have a journal buying problem. If I really absolutely can’t jot down a few notes, I try to memorize what it is I’m thinking about in a few sentences. But you know, what really drives me nuts is when two characters start having a really interesting conversation and I’m not in a position to transcribe it. I can never quite seem to capture that original flow.

 

OS: Do your books spring to life from a character first or an idea?

 

AD: Character, almost always. A story never really gets off the ground for me until the voice of the main character comes to life in my head. Jacqui was an extreme case, in which I had this chatty character taking up all of my creative brain space but I had no idea where he belonged yet. He really forced me to sit down and figure out his story whether I wanted to or not. One instance in which the kernel of an idea came first was Gryffon Hall, in which I really, really wanted to rewrite a classic fairy tale with gay protagonists. I was actually “assigned” the story of the griffon through a submission call. Well, I failed to make the deadline because I didn’t know whose story it was, and then about a year later, Wryler showed up to make the story his.

 

OS: How do you deal with rejection letters?

 

AD: Back in ye olden times, I’d pick them up at the post office box, and I allowed myself the ten minutes it took to drive from there to work or home to grieve, wail, believe I was a terrible writer without any chance of ever being published and basically feel like crap. Then I had to put that crap aside and get on with my life. Now they come in emails, and I’ve gotten so many I really don’t have a problem shrugging them off. Rejections are badges of honor, really. Proof that you’re committed to the dream no matter what the setbacks.

Jacqui the Cat Series
Alexis Duran has a new book out in her Jacqui the Cat cozy MM mystery series – “Roam” – and there’s a Giveaway!

About the Series

Jacqui Corleone is a fashion designer, a yoga-instructor and a concerned citizen who selflessly helps the police solve crimes. Oh, and he occasionally turns into a small wild cat. Probably due to a wizard’s curse or an evil government plot to create super warriors.

Or, he’s a cat cursed to turn into a human and only the bite of a sexy alpha lion will allow him to remain in his superior form of Cat.

Jacqui does not have a split personality, but sometimes his cat personality can get rather loud.

Loud? You’re loud.

Jacqui Corleone is a cat shifter who doesn’t know why or how he turns into a cat. He lives a solitary life in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. He’s not afraid of intimacy (yes, he is) but sensibly refrains from potentially awkward entanglements. Unfortunately, the sexy new deputy sheriff just moved in across the street and Jacqui’s vow not to get mixed up with island dudes is sorely challenged.

When the mysterious disappearance of three blue pots draws Jacqui to investigate, he’s drawn ever deeper into danger–and into the arms of Deputy Wyatt West (you wish).


Giveaway

Alexis is giving one lucky winner a $10 Amazon gift card. Enter via Rafflecopter for a chance to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b60e8d4713/?


Book One: Prowl

Prowl
Jacqui Corleone is a fashion designer, a yoga-instructor and a concerned citizen who selflessly helps the police solve crimes. Oh, and he occasionally turns into a small wild cat. Probably due to a wizard’s curse or an evil government plot to create super warriors.

Or, he’s a cat cursed to turn into a human and only the bite of a sexy alpha lion will allow him to remain in his superior form of Cat.

Jacqui does not have a split personality, but sometimes his cat personality can get rather loud.

Loud? You’re loud.

Jacqui Corleone is a cat shifter who doesn’t know why or how he turns into a cat. He lives a solitary life in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. He’s not afraid of intimacy (yes, he is) but sensibly refrains from potentially awkward entanglements. Unfortunately, the sexy new deputy sheriff just moved in across the street and Jacqui’s vow not to get mixed up with island dudes is sorely challenged.

When the mysterious disappearance of three blue pots draws Jacqui to investigate, he prowls ever deeper into danger–and into the arms of Deputy Wyatt West (he wishes).

Prowl Excerpt:

Not that anything could make Jacqui a dull boy, but hours spent stooped over his sewing table had given him a kink in his neck along a strong urge to throw aside his needle and leap out the window.

Instead he sighed dramatically, pressed his palms against the edge of the heavy table and stretched his neck, tilting his head to one side and then the other. He arched his back, slouched, arched again. Not working.He stood, padded across the hardwood floor and slid open the glass door to his tiny balcony.

He’d been working for hours and still had two jackets to finish. Zee was arriving the next day to pick up the new outfits Jacqui had created. Everything had to be perfect. And complete. Complete and perfect and amazing. Because Zee was a rising star, and when the rabble got a look at the Cat’s Eye creations adorning Zee’s nearly famous bod, Jacqui would have it made. That was the assumption, anyway. Orders would flood his inbox, gobs of money would flow into his bank account, and he could hire an assistant and stop working these dog-awful hours.

Or not. After all, what else would he do with his time if not toil?

Right now, he had a strong urge to prowl.

Now is not the time, Cat. Now is the time of toil.

He stepped out on his second-story balcony and took a deep breath of fresh, slightly salty air blowing in off the water. His studio apartment overlooked Friday Harbor, and at the cusp of sunset, both town and harbor were bathed in a pinkish glow, doing that twinkly and picturesque as all get-out thing that happened on lovely summer evenings like this.

Must prowl.

No. The stitching had to be perfect. The lines exquisitely formed to Zee’s angular shape, the drape immaculate. The last version hadn’t been up to Jacqui’s exacting standards. He’d pulled out a day’s work in a pissy rage at himself, and now he was paying for it.

You’ll be more efficient after a prowl. And Zee’s seaplane won’t arrive until midday.

Jacqui made the mistake of looking down, letting his gaze wander across the street, to where a moving van had recently been parked.

Jacqui had a new neighbor.

Back. To. Work.

Jacqui’s new neighbor was Wyatt West, the new deputy sheriff in town. Yes, Jacqui had played around with the name in an endlessly juvenile fashion. Wild Wild West, with the broad shoulders, lean waist, and an ass to die for. Dark brown hair, amber eyes, and a crooked smile that made Jacqui’s heart do a little squeezy thing, leaving him breathless. How wild was West, Jacqui couldn’t help but wonder?

So they’d never spoken. Minor detail. Didn’t matter. Until this weekend Wyatt West of the exceptionally hot body was a live aboard, a local brand of lunatic who lived on a sailboat surrounded by fucking water. Jacqui wasn’t about to go sniffing around a mental case like that.

But now Wild Wyatt Hot Bod was Jacqui’s across-the-street-two-condos-down neighbor and required closer inspection. Because all neighbors required inspection. Because curiosity.

“Wait for it. Anticipation makes it all the more sweet.”

To hell with that. Do the change and let’s check Wild West out.

Get it On Amazon/Kindle Unlimited


Book Two: Pounce

Half-cat, half-human, all-awesome, Jacqui has spent his life avoiding getting too close to anyone. But despite his best intentions, he just can’t stay away from the sexy deputy sheriff, Wyatt West, especially after Jacqui is the victim of a local band of thieves and turns to the police for help.

When the call of curiosity grows too insistent, Jacqui does a little prying around on his own, an activity that quickly leads him into danger.

Is this the end for our Furry Fashionista, or will the heroic and altogether too handsome Wyatt save the day? And more importantly, will they finally have sex?? Read Pounce, Book 2 in the Jacqui the Mysteries, to find out.

Pounce Excerpt:

Jacqui stretched out long, ass in the air, paws out in front of him. As Cat, he was strong, fast, invincible. He could see in the dark, leap tall fences in a single bound, smell and hear every nuance of change in his neighborhood, and spy on Wyatt without getting arrested for being a creeper. Everything about being Cat was good, except for doorknobs and dogs. And the inability to sew or make anything. And the fact that ordinary cats took one look at him and freaked.

He sat on the sidewalk outside his apartment. The gin had released its hold on his brain. The crowd at Wyatt’s had long ago dispersed, and Jacqui could not sleep. At two o’clock in the morning, the street was empty of people. A possum rooted around in someone’s compost pile on the next block. Two cats were facing off in a yard behind the apartment building, still in the growling low stage. Bats zinged through the air, chasing bugs.

His ears twitched and his tail flicked back and forth across the pavement. From a long way off, he heard a bicycle. Because he had nothing else on his prowling agenda, he went toward the sound, vaguely curious to see who was peddling home in the wee hours.

He padded across the street and peeked into Wyatt’s backyard. If the tree in the corner were positioned differently, he’d totally be peeking into that bedroom window.

No. That’s just wrong.

Another reason why being a cat is better. Peeping is required. It’s a survival skill.

It’s creepy.

Jacqui peered into the dark rectangle of Wyatt’s patio door for a while, thinking back on how dangerously close to flirting they’d come. They’d flirted with flirting. He knew if he changed back into Jacqui and rapped on that door, Wyatt wouldn’t be surprised. Except for maybe the naked thing. And maybe Wyatt would think Jacqui was more than a little weird, but he wouldn’t turn him away.

Jacqui turned away. It kind of felt inevitable, this imminent collision of body parts and exchange of fluids, but it had to be carefully controlled and limited.

Okay, Wyatt, we can fuck, because we’re guys and that’s what guys do, but here are the rules:

One: No getting all up in my business.

Two: No looking at me funny when I have out loud arguments with myself.

Three: No asking me where I’ve been all night.

Four: No questioning why a guy who loves cats and volunteers at the local shelter doesn’t own a cat.

Five: No falling in love.

Six: No suggesting I see a therapist to address my fear of intimacy issues.

Seven: No prying into my life prior to two years ago.

Eight: No whining when I drop you like a hot potato for no reason whatsoever.

Nine: Who the fuck is that?

Jacqui stopped on the corner of Harrison and Oak to watch the Midnight Biker push his bike up the hill. He was a young dude Jacqui hadn’t seen before, with stringy blond hair poking out of a stocking cap. He wore a lived-in, slept-in, rolled-in-the-dirt-in dingy canvas coat and shredded jeans. He had a big pack on his back and his eyes darted this way and that, peering into people’s yards.

Suspicious? Oh, yeah.

Jacqui slipped into a convenient pool of shadows and watched the interloper trudge by.

Get it On Amazon/Kindle Unlimited


Book Three: Roam

Roam
Being half-cat isn’t easy in a human world, and Jacqui’s life has just gotten a lot more complicated now that he’s dating the hot deputy sheriff who lives across the street. Wyatt’s brain might explode if he finds out his lover turns into a cat sometimes.

And even more unthinkable, Wyatt might REJECT Jacqui if he discovers that his boyfriend and Satan the feral wild cat are one and the same! As if Jacqui doesn’t have enough to worry about, he becomes the unwilling foster parent of a drooling dog, and soon discovers a nefarious plot involving marauding Rottweilers with a taste for Cat.

Follow Jacqui into trouble in his most exciting misadventure yet!

Roam Excerpt:

Several desperate phone calls did not procure any dog-sitter leads. Mei Lin was off island. Rose laughed derisively at the suggestion. Mary Lou, who ran the shelter, was ferrying visiting relatives around the island and just couldn’t possibly take in an extra dog, no matter how much she really wanted to.

When Sam pulled to a stop in front of Jacqui’s apartment, Jacqui’s spirits were low. All Cat could do was emit a low moan every now and then.

“I’ve got to give the beast a bath before I let it anywhere near my stuff.”

“Can I watch?” Sam asked, grinning.

“Help? Surely you meant to ask if you could help?” Jacqui said, turning a withering glare upon him.

“Yeah, that’s what I meant.”

Jacqui slid out of the truck and ran up the stairs to his loft apartment. He was half-tempted to lock the door, pull the drapes, and hope that Sam would give up and drive away with the dog.

Not likely.

He grabbed a bottle of expensive shampoo that he’d decided left his hair too dry, and a thick beach towel. Clutching these items, he looked around at his pristine upholstered furniture and shining wood floors with increasing trepidation. He set down the supplies, rummaged around for an old sheet, and threw it over the couch.

Jacqui didn’t have much in the way of old stuff. He quickly got rid of items that didn’t please him. In other words, he had little he was willing to sacrifice to the ravages of Stinky. Worst-case scenarios began to fill his mind: images of dog toenails shredding cushions, dog slobber staining silk, and so he forced himself to pick up the bath supplies and go back down the stairs.

Sam had found the hose the groundskeeper used and was playing a game of spray-Stinky-from-behind every time the poor dog turned around, which was constantly. The sight of the lumbering man-child and the soaking wet, hairy dog sent a shiver up Jacqui’s spine. He didn’t like hoses, and didn’t like the merriment with which men like Sam turned them on others.

“Put the hose down and step away,” Jacqui said in a low, hopefully menacing tone.

“What? Don’t want to get wet?” Sam asked with a grin, but when he saw the glower on Jacqui’s face, some glimmer of self-preservation stopped him in his overly playful tracks. He took his thumb off the trigger of the nozzle. “I promise I won’t spray you on purpose.”

“Not good enough. Put the hose down, Sam.” Jacqui reached for his best Clint Eastwood, steely-eyed glare.

Sam carefully lowered the hose to the ground and lifted both hands as he backed away a few steps.

“There’s the look that puts the fear into a Rottweiler.”

Stinky ran circles around Sam, barking gleefully, a sound that grated on Jacqui’s already taut nerves.

“This is not a game. This is not fun. We are going to clean that damn dog with no shenanigans. Understand?”

“No shenanigans.” Sam nodded and hung his head in fake shame.

Jacqui strode forward with confidence. Never let them see your fear.

He dropped the towel and the shampoo on the strip of grass between the sidewalk and the road, and picked up the hose. He took a deep breath and said, “You hold the beast. I’ll douse him.”

Get it On Amazon/Kindle Unlimited


About the Author

Alexis Duran was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. At the University of Oregon, her fascination with people and relationships led her to major in Sociology, but her main love has always been creative writing.

She’s worked in museums, finance, film production and for several performing arts organizations. Her favorite job so far has been inventorying the collection of a haunted Victorian Mansion. She is the author of the Masters and Mages and Edge of Night m/m fantasy series as well as several stand-alone romances.

Her fiction has won awards including the Rupert Hughes Award from the Maui Writers Conference.

She lives with one dog and four and a half cats. She is currently working on the next Jacqui the Cat mystery and always has several new ideas brewing.

Sign up for my newsletter here.

Author Website: http://www.alexisduranblog.com

Author Facebook (Author Page): http://www.facebook.com/alexis.duran.18294

Author Twitter: http://twitter.com/AlexisSDuran

Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8332457.Alexis_Duran

Author QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/alexis-duran/

Author Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00L4KQU0Y#</

Release Day Review: Wight Mischief by JL Merrow

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/wight-mischief-by-jl-merrow-9635-

Blurb

A ghost of a chance at love.
Personal trainer Will Golding has been looking forward to a getaway with his best friend, Baz, a journalist researching a book on ghosts. But on the first day of their camping trip on the Isle of Wight, Will takes a walk on a secluded beach and spies a beautiful young man skinny-dipping by moonlight. Ethereally pale, he’s too perfect to be real—or is he?

Lonely author Marcus Devereux is just as entranced by the tall athlete he encounters on the beach, but he’s spent the years since his parents’ violent death building a wall around his heart, and the thought of letting Will scale it is terrifying. Marcus’s albinism gives him his otherworldly appearance and leaves him reluctant to go out in daylight, his reclusiveness encouraged by his guardian—who warns him to stay away from Will and Baz.

The attraction between Will and Marcus can’t be denied—but neither can the danger of the secrets haunting Marcus’s past, as one “accident” after another strikes Will and Baz. If they don’t watch their step, they could end up added to the island’s ghostly population.

Review
This book is a mystery with a gentle romance wrapped up within it. Whilst his best friend Baz is researching his book on ghosts Will meets enigmatic Marcus, a reclusive writer. Will doesn’t know that Baz has another story he’s investigating involving Marcus and his family. Both sides of the investigation dove tail together taking Will and Baz all over the Island. I loved the descriptions of places and attractions on the island, they evoke a wonderful atmosphere when reading those parts of the story. The beautiful coastline with rugged cliffs and sandy beaches, tales of the ghosts of smugglers and soldiers, pubs in historic settings. Makes me want to go there right now. The romance is full of English reserve, Will and Marcus don’t properly get together until towards the end but it was totally fitting with their characters and what was going on around them. The mystery side kept me entertained, the bad guy was obvious from the outset and it ws good seeing the characters playing catch-up. At times Baz provides the comic element, he’s a very self centred character and in that regard I didn’t like him. But you can see the depth of friendship between them. Overall I felt this was a very enjoyable story.

4 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Audiobook Tour: The Solstice Prince by SJ Himes Narrated by Joel Leslie

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Solstice Prince Audio Banner

The Solstice Prince

Realms of Love Book #1

SJ Himes

Gay Epic Fantasy Romance

Audio Release: 04.30.18

 

Solstice Prince Audio Cover

Cover Illustration and Design by Sarah Jo Chreene

Narrator: Joel Leslie

 

BLURB

Rescued from slavers, healer novice Jaime Buchanan finds himself alone and free in Pyrderi, a kingdom of magic, mythical creatures, and a culture as open and kind as his homeland was cruel and close-minded.

Despite his rescue, Jaime is not left without scars, both mental and physical. Traumatized by his experience and hiding his gift, Jaime struggles to earn his place in the kitchens of Angharad Palace, the heart of Taliesin City. His former life as a student of the healing arts leaves him at a disadvantage in the kitchens, and his damaged state is becoming more apparent by the day.

One day, when necessity and fate intervene, Jaime meets someone unexpected—Prince Maxim, youngest son of the Pyrderian king, a sword master and a devastatingly kind man. Unaccustomed to powerful people with compassion and heart, Jaime flees. A cascade of events reveals Jaime’s hidden talents of healing, and he finds himself not in chains, but at the beginning of a new life.

This swift change of fortune opens Jaime up to new possibilities, including a smitten prince who cautiously courts Jaime, easing him away from his fears and reminding him that compassion and love can make him strong. The winter solstice is quickly approaching, and Prince Maxim shows Jaime the enjoyment and excitement to be found in a land that embraces the ice and cold, and the mysteries of all things magical. He learns to see the man under the royal mantle, and Maxim is more than even Jaime suspected.

The winter solstice is nigh when tragedy strikes, and Jaime learns that his past of grief and sorrow can be a pillar of strength for his solstice prince. If there is one thing that Jaime believes above all else, it is in the healing power of love.

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

TANTOR

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36566371-the-solstice-prince

solstice teaser 1

solstice teaser 2

EXCERPT

His eyes were drawn to the wide shoulders of Prince Maxim, the royal speaking quietly to a pair of full healers in their silver and white robes, the edges trimmed in varying hues of green that denoted their ranks and specialties. One of them saw Jaime hovering and pointed towards him with a smile. Prince Maxim turned and grinned wide when he saw Jaime. Jaime smiled back, flushing. The prince said his goodbyes and strode across the room to him. Long legs, a trim waist, a broad chest, and strong shoulders clothed in black leather pants and a brilliant white shirt, topped with a long jacket in rich sky blue left Jaime at a loss for words. The prince looked every inch the royal.

Prince Maxim was at his side before he was ready, and Jaime shivered, skin tingling from head to toe when the prince gave him a wide smile and offered his hand. Jaime found his much smaller hand engulfed in the prince’s with his long fingers curling over, holding him firmly. His face burned, and he ducked his head, hair falling over his eyes.

“Good morning, Jaime.”

“Good—good morning, Your Highness,” he stammered back, and he gripped the hand holding his in an unconscious plea for support.

He was holding hands with a prince. His life had taken an unexpected twist.

“Please, call me Maxim,” the prince offered, and Jaime gasped, shaking his head frantically. The prince was smiling at him, somehow beyond patient.

“I wouldn’t dare! I couldn’t, Your Highness,” Jaime burst out, heart racing again. “It’s not allowed.”

Prince Maxim drew closer, their joined hands between them, and he gave Jaime a slow perusal, taking in his wide eyes, flushed cheeks, and no doubt able to see the galloping pulse in his neck. “There is no one to gainsay you for the privilege. I do not mind. Please, it would be an honor for you to use my name.”

“Can I—can I think about it?” He couldn’t believe he just said that, and he nearly bit the tip of his tongue off snapping his mouth shut.

Prince Maxim chuckled and turned them both, tucking Jaime’s hand in the crook of his elbow. “While you’re thinking about it, how about I give you a tour of the castle? Something besides the kitchens and servants’ halls? Would you like to see the library? Do you like to read?”

“Master Eames wanted to talk to me…”

“I’ve been ordered to return you promptly after midday by Master Eames, along with strict instructions not to overdo it.” The prince’s charming grin never fell away, and he seemingly saw nothing amiss in a healer ordering about a royal. Master Eames was a distinguished healer, surely used to getting his own way, and Jaime had no desire to run afoul of the healer’s orders either. Prince Maxim continued, “Now what about some breakfast and then on to the library?”

“I love to read. I would love to see the library.” The idea of the prince taking him to personally see anything was spinning about in his mind, making him feel dizzy, and leaving him glad for the strong hand holding onto his.

SJ Himes Logo

I’m a self-employed writer who stresses out about the silliest things, like whether or not I got my dog the best kind of snack and the fact my kindle battery tends to die when I’m at the best part in a book. I write mainly gay romance, erotica, and urban fantasy, with occasional forays into contemporary and paranormal. I love a book heavy on plot and character evolution, and throw in some magic, and that’s perfection. My current series are: The Beacon Hill Sorcerer, Bred For Love (as Revella Hawthorne), The Wolfkin Saga, and the epic fantasy romance series Realms of Love. My last two novels in the Beacon Hill Sorcerer won 3rd Place in the Gay Fantasy category for the 2016 Rainbow Awards.

I live in New Orleans, where the personalities are big and loud and so are the bugs! New Orleans is rich in cultural history, and the flavor and music of the City is impossible to hide. Before that, I lived all over the United States: Tampa, Western Massachusetts, Indianapolis, and on and on…. I’m a nomad, and I’ve yet to find a place that calls to me strongly enough to become home. My faithful travel companions are my dog Micah, the numerous voices in my head who insist they all get put on paper, and the wind at my back.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SJHimes/

Website: https://www.sjhimes.com/en

Joel Leslie/Narrator

Joel Leslie is a UK transplant, growing up with American parents in a British commonwealth. A classically trained actor with an MFA in theatre from USC, he is often cast for his unique ability to deliver native, authentic combinations of American and British sounds. His great range and ability to bring characters to life with honesty, wit and versatility delights producers and listeners alike.

He is proud to have a strong following with m/m listeners and an ongoing relationship with some of the finest writers in the genre. He loves that every day he gets to share these beautiful, inspirational and empowering GLBT characters with the world.

His authors have praised him as “a narrator among narrators, a man whose ability to create different characters rests on the power of his voice and his impeccable delivery,” and a “true delight…” “his professionalism, good humor, and charm make him a dream to work with,” “Anyone else would only be second best”.

Joel has consistent access to his home studio for all production needs. When not in the booth he spends his time chasing after two loquacious wiener dogs.

http://www.joelleslienarration.com/

 

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Time to Laugh: Stay with Me (The PI Guys, #1) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/stay-with-me-by-se-harmon-2808-b

Blurb:

The PI Guys: Book One
Private investigator Mackenzie Williams’s newest client is everything he’s looking for in a guy—charming, beautiful, intelligent, and successful. There’s only one itty bitty problem—the guy’s not exactly gay. In fact, Jordan Channing is looking for a PI to follow his fiancée. The smart thing would be to thank Jordan for his time, turn Mr. Perfect away (don’t let the door hit you on the rump, thank you very much), and forget he exists.
Of course, Mackenzie has never been accused of doing the smart thing. Being a smart aleck is more his MO. Relationships aren’t up his alley, never have been. So why’s he so inexplicably drawn to his new client?

Jordan has always been the high achiever, a man who lives in a focused, controlled, and carefully constructed manner. But for the first time in his life, he has to admit the impossible—another man is getting his engine running on all cylinders. Despite Jordan’s denial, it’s not long before he can no longer resist the strong undercurrents pulling them together. Now Jordan must decide if he can go against everything he’s ever known to have the only love he’s ever wanted.

Review:

I loved the overall story – GFY done right, but I didn’t like Mac much until half way in. He just seemed a bit childish … but I did like his snark. Mac eventually grew on me, (I ended up really liking him when he popped up in ‘So into You’).
Mac is a PI who is still hurting from being dumped from a long-term relationship. To make matters worse, his ex decided to be with a woman AND the he took the dog. (This creates a funny secondary storyline as Mac schemes to get the dog back.)
Jordan hires Mac to watch his girlfriend for signs of cheating. Mac is immediately attracted to the straight man but knows nothing can come of it. Yet, as they spend time together, Jordan becomes attracted to Mac (and conflicted about his feelings for another man). Mac doesn’t make it easy either and is not without faults – he tends to push people away, he doesn’t believe love is for him and he hides behind his sarcasm. However, they manage to start a relationship but it’s not plain sailing. They have a big fight (both men are to blame), but in the end, they get it together and work it out.
It’s a really good story, once it gets going and by the end, I had a good sized smile on my face ☺

4 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for Review

 

Time to Laugh: Shiny! Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Tyler Stevens

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shiny-by-amy-lane-5174-b

Blurb:
Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia are both having sort of a day. Will gets fired for letting fifth graders read Harry Potter, and Kenny finds his boyfriend and his sex toys in bed with a complete stranger. When Will knocks over Kenny’s trash can—and strews Kenny’s personal business all over the street—it feels like the perfect craptastic climax to the sewage of suckage that has rained down on them both.

But ever-friendly, ever-kind Will asks snarky Kenny out for a beer—God knows they both need one—and two amazing things occur: Kenny discovers talking to Will might be the best form of intercourse ever, and Will discovers he’s gay.

Their unlikely friendship seems like the perfect platonic match until Will reveals how very much more he’s been feeling for Kenny almost since the beginning. But Kenny’s worried. Will’s new-found sexuality is bright and glittery and shiny, but what happens when that wears off? Is Will’s infatuation with Kenny strong enough to stay real?

Review:

You can’t have a month devoted to “funny” and not include Amy Lane.  I find her books to be some of the most consistently “clever” and thus funny and witty.

This is known as Amy Lane “Lite”.  Instead of her very angsty material, this is one of the sweet and happy books she gives us now and then. 

The story is a mix of Will exploring his sexuality and the developing friendship and work relationship Will and Kenny have and then later their coming together as friends turned lovers. There are some doubts – is Will just with Kenny because he’s his first or is it real? Where will Will work? What about Kenny’s being on the rebound? However… For those of us who love a sappy ending – the ending of Shiny will knock your socks off!
The secondary characters in Shiny are also great – Aunt Cara- the lesbian bride, Will’s mom – trapped in the 1960s, Kenny’s ex – the big, dumb cheater and Kenny’s ultra liberal family – trying so hard not to judge Will.

In the audio format Tyler Stevens does a really nice job. He does swishy voices fantastically and I adore his female voices as well.  I think he is a true “performer” rather than “reader” and as such we get a lovely performance to enjoy.  

This is one of those times where the narration adds to the story and makes it even better. I highly recommend this audiobook.

4.5 of 5 stars
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Morgan - Signature-small

Purchased for Review

Tags (whatever you can think of to describe the book in basic labels): teacher, GFY, virgin, weddings, comics, religion, cheating exes, friends to lovers

Guest Post: Kim Fielding for The Little Library

OS: Welcome to Kim Fielding here today to talk about The Little Library which releases on Monday!

KF:

Hi! I’m Kim Fielding and I’m very excited to announce the release of my newest novel, The Little Library! Set in California’s Central Valley, this story stars a guy with a slightly obsession with books. What’s not love about that, right?
***

Blurb

Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.
Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.
In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Little-Library-Kim-Fielding-ebook/dp/B07BJL6NMB/

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/805336

***

Kim Fielding is the bestselling author of numerous m/m romance novels, novellas, and short stories. Like Kim herself, her work is eclectic, spanning genres such as contemporary, fantasy, paranormal, and historical. Her stories are set in alternate worlds, in 15th century Bosnia, in modern-day Oregon. Her heroes are hipster architect werewolves, housekeepers, maimed giants, and conflicted graduate students. They’re usually flawed, they often encounter terrible obstacles, but they always find love.

After having migrated back and forth across the western two-thirds of the United States, Kim calls the boring part of California home. She lives there with her husband, her two daughters, and her day job as a university professor, but escapes as often as possible via car, train, plane, or boat. This may explain why her characters often seem to be in transit as well. She dreams of traveling and writing full-time.

Follow Kim:

Website: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/

Facebook: http://facebook.com/KFieldingWrites

Twitter: @KFieldingWrites

Email: Kim@KFieldingWrites.com

Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bau3S9

A complete list of Kim’s books: http://www.kfieldingwrites.com/kim-fieldings-books/

 

 

 

Time to Vote for February’s Best- Comment and Enter to Win $25 from Dreamspinner!

 

Time again to vote for the best books and audiobooks RELEASED in February 2018. One random commenter will be chosen to receive a gift certificate of $25 from Dreamspinner Press! *Must be able to win via email. If you don’t see a book/audiobook on the list that should be here, please email me and I’ll add it. Thanks!
  • Audio: Who we Truly Are by Victoria Sue narr Nick J Russo 15%, 23 votes
    23 votes 15%
    23 votes - 15% of all votes
  • Sanctuary by Sloane Kennedy 11%, 16 votes
    16 votes 11%
    16 votes - 11% of all votes
  • Audio: True by Ella Frank narr Shannon Gunn 11%, 16 votes
    16 votes 11%
    16 votes - 11% of all votes
  • Body and Soul by Lucy Lennox 9%, 13 votes
    13 votes 9%
    13 votes - 9% of all votes
  • Once Upon a Wolf by Rhys Ford 8%, 12 votes
    12 votes 8%
    12 votes - 8% of all votes
  • Audio: how to Blow it with a Billionaire by Alexis Hall narr Joel Leslie 5%, 7 votes
    7 votes 5%
    7 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Second Wind by Aimee Nicole Walker 5%, 7 votes
    7 votes 5%
    7 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Audio: Agent Bayne by JC Price nar Gomez Pugh 5%, 7 votes
    7 votes 5%
    7 votes - 5% of all votes
  • Pretty In PInk by Jay Northcote 3%, 5 votes
    5 votes 3%
    5 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Bobby Green by Amy Lane 3%, 4 votes
    4 votes 3%
    4 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Poke Check by Scott and Vocey 3%, 4 votes
    4 votes 3%
    4 votes - 3% of all votes
  • Throwing Stones by Avery Cockburn 2%, 3 votes
    3 votes 2%
    3 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Bitten by the Alpha by Annabelle Jacobs 2%, 3 votes
    3 votes 2%
    3 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Audio: Under the Boardwalk by Felice Stevens narr Nick J Russo 2%, 3 votes
    3 votes 2%
    3 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Where Death Meets the Devil by LJ Hayward 2%, 3 votes
    3 votes 2%
    3 votes - 2% of all votes
  • Infected Throwaways by Andrea Speed 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Love on a Battlefied by Posy Roberts 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Going Overboard by LA Witt 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Cowboy's Home by RJ Scott narr Sean Crisden 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Bone to Pick by TA Moore narr Michael Fell 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Leaning into the Fall by Lane Hayes Narr Nick J Russo 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Shattered Pieces by KM Neuhold narr Kenneth Obi 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Test of Endurance by Kora Knight narr Michael Pauley 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Ghost Slept Over by Marshall Thornton narr Jason Frazier 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Trust with a Chaser by Annabeth Albert narrs Bachmann and Toma 1%, 2 votes
    2 votes 1%
    2 votes - 1% of all votes
  • Bromantically Yours by KC Wells 1%, 1 vote
    1 vote 1%
    1 vote - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: September by Robert Winter narr Kale Williams 1%, 1 vote
    1 vote 1%
    1 vote - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Never Let you Go by Andrew Grey narr Jeff Gelder 1%, 1 vote
    1 vote 1%
    1 vote - 1% of all votes
  • Audio: Permanent Ink by Vaughn/Gale narr Kirt Graves 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Audio: Risky Behavior by La Witt narr Michael Ferraiuolo 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Audio: Mark Cooper vs America by Henry/Rock narr Joel Leslie 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Audio: Dog Days TA Moore narr Derrick McClain 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Cam Boy by Quinn Anderson 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Losing It by Christine d'Abo 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Audio: Hotline by Quinn Anderson narr Nick J Russo 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • Audio: Life is Awesome by JC Price narr Seth Clayton 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 149
Voters: 74
March 15, 2018 - March 21, 2018
Voting is closed

Friends to Lovers: Wow! (On A Night Like This Book 1) by Sean Kennedy

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37952545-wow?from_search=true

Blurb: On a night like this, magic can happen.
Seven couples. Seven stories. One night. A night for love.

Mark is a respectable banker during business hours, but on a Saturday night he becomes the fabulous Allotta Moxie, drag queen extraordinaire. Allotta is everything Mark is not—confident, bold, sassy, and well-loved.
He wishes he had a quarter of her self-assurance, especially when it comes to Joel, the new hire at work. Most men run a mile when they discover Allotta hiding in his closet. She’s a lot to take on. So what will be Joel’s reaction when he meets Allotta for the first time? And more importantly, will Allotta like Joel?

 

Review: This is a really fun, original story. The characters were so much fun, especially Allotta. Mark works in an office by day, but he moonlights as drag persona, Allotta. There’s Connor – he and Mark have an awkward friendship, (they work together, hooked up but didn’t work out). And then Joel, the new guy at work. Mark and Joel hit it off, but Mark is afraid to tell him about Allotta, mostly because past relationships had issues with this part of his life.
This is the first of series of novellas revolving around 1 night – the 2nd and 3rd stories are now available and can be read as standalones.
Overall, this was a fun read!

4 stars out of 5

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Copy purchased for honest review