Wednesday, 27 May 2015

A review for Theory Unproven

A 4.25 star review at scatteredthoughtsandroguewords.

With a zoologist, Eric Phillips, as one half of the main couple, I loved the realistic way his life and work with the elephants was portrayed.  Dirty, all consuming, and soul satisfying…the readers understands through the many passages what it must be like to have that deep connection with another species. 

All good characters, all people the reader will want to spend time with.

Tyaan is a character that will draw conflicted feelings among the readers.  I thought his was a character grounded in the reality of the changing times in South Africa...Got it, you understand him even if you don’t like his actions, it makes him human.

While I was reading it, I was hooked on the elephants, Eric and Tyaan’s attraction for each other and strained journey towards a relationship.  

This is a long book yet most of the time I spent reading it flew by.  And I could easily book a flight back to this universe.  

...this story is so lush, so vibrant in feeling and scope that I am still so very much in love with Theory Unproven weeks later.

I recommend this story for all who love romance, foreign lands and a landscape of adventure where the search for love can be rough, affectionate, and hard won.  

Read the review in full here.

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Friday, 22 May 2015

Fiction Friday - A fantastic discovery & much eye-rolling

Last Fiction Friday I pimped Foxe Tail by Hayley Walsh, which I described as gay Hardy Boys or a cross between QAF and the Famous Five. Since then I have finished the next two books in the series, Foxe Hunt and Out-Foxed. These three books complete the opening story arc of the series and bring all the events incorporated in these books to a satisfying conclusion. Each has a insular plot that is solved within the individual book as well as the main threat and the romance that straddle all three books.
There are several more books in the series which I do plan to read but I’ll give myself a break before (and between) reading that I did not allow myself on this occasion. I found three books (and they’re not short by mm standards) were a little too much of Skyler and his friends, however, because of the cliffhanger nature of the first three books and the overarching storyline, I needed to read these three close together.
Skyler is one of those characters that everybody in his orbit loves: his exes, his students, most of the teachers, random strangers he picks up in bars. The only people that don’t seem to idolise him are the bad guys and homophobes. Maybe because of this trait, Skyler induced many of the eye-rolling moments that I referred to in my title; in fact he is a character that probably should come under the TSTL banner. Given the number of attempts on his life in such a short period (the books take place over a couple of months) by the law of averages he should be dead already.
Sidney, Skyler’s best friend, is far too indiscreet to be a police detective and was probably my least favourite character of the bunch; a shame since she was really the only woman in the series (apart from Skyler’s Mum). The SFC (Skyler Fuck Club)—all exes of Skyler’s—seemed easily led into Skyler’s schemes despite regularly telling him to keep out of the investigations.
I know it sounds like I didn’t like the books but that’s not true. According to the author’s notes the mystery was based on true events in her local community, which I thought gave a sense of reality to the proceedings, nothing was too farfetched (apart from the all-encompassing Skyler love).
I loved Keith, Skyler’s eventual love interest, and was right behind him when, at the beginning of the third book, Skyler asked why Keith didn’t tell him the truth. I also liked 'Skyler the teacher', and the way that he interacted with his favourite class. I loved the kids in that class, especially the two boys and the way their coming out was dealt with.
So, despite my urge to slap several members of the cast, I did enjoy these books and I would recommend reading them without a gap.

4 stars for the overall trilogy.

However my favourite read of the last two weeks was A Hidden Magic by Angela Benedetti. A Hidden Magic is the first book in the Sentinels series.

Fey incursions into the mortal world have been on the rise, and Paul MacAllister's trying to figure out what the king of the local Elven enclave Under the Hill is up to and how to stop it. Rory Ellison was caught up in one of those attacks and nearly killed by a gang of goblins. He doesn't believe they were real, though, and is resisting anything Paul might say to the contrary.

Normally Paul would be willing to let Rory go his own way, at least until he's taken care of more immediate business. But Rory has a particularly rare gift, one the Elven king needs to have under his control in order to carry out his plan. Keeping Rory away from the fey who will use him, to death if necessary, means protecting him night and day, whether Rory agrees or not. 

I guess you would call this book urban fantasy/mm romance. It was a fun read with a great cast of characters and excellent world building that didn't drag the story down with too many superfluous details.

I followed this book up with a collection of all the shorts that have been written in this series.

Definitely a 4 star series so far. I plan to start reading the next book in a few days.

Thursday, 21 May 2015

5 Heart review for Theory Unproven

A 5 heart review from Hearts on Fire reviews

...the story was well paced, with great main characters and secondary characters...

The chemistry between the two main characters has a great build up, with compassion for Tyaan..., and hope for Eric that he won’t get his heart broken, since you love him pretty much from the start of the story!

If you like animals, you are going to love these two characters! (Jack and Ianto, the elephants)

I would recommend this book for romance lovers who really enjoy the development of the story as much as the romance and hot scenes...

Read the full review here

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Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Snippet 4 & 5

These final snippets are for shinya_diey over on Dreamwidth. The request read, "May I ask about WIP of your choosing? 7, 19, 79"

Since I didn’t have any more manuscripts ready that ran to 79 pages I’ll can give you two snippets. Both are very rough and nothing more than partially written paragraphs in a vague layout.

The first is 19 lines from the 7th paragraph of something currently referred to as ‘cafe french’.

Opening his mouth to speak Adam realised that his mouth was inexplicably dry. He flicked his tongue out, wetting the centre of both upper and lower lips in one swift movement. Luckily, the gorgeous creature in front of him was still concentrating intently on the board above his head and didn’t notice the aborted attempt at speech, which Adam suspected had left him gaping like an idiot.

Before he could make any further foray into communication, the swarthy man shifted his focus to Adam. Pale brown eyes, the colour of the hazelnut syrup in the bottle behind the counter, regarded Adam warily, the expression heightened by the frown which still carved deep furrows above the thin straight nose.

“Bonjour.” The man’s voice was deeper than Adam had expected, rich and velvety.

With just one word it seemed to seep into Adam’s chest, spreading out and dripping down his spine until it pooled low and warm in his groin. Damn, he needed to get laid, if that was the response one word from a swarthy stranger could instigate.

It didn’t even register that the one word hadn’t even been English or that, without thinking, Adam answered in kind.


The furrows in the stranger’s brow smoothed and he smiled; a brilliant flash of white teeth in full lips. A string of words emanated from the Frenchman’s lips, so fast that Adam caught nothing but the sil vous plait at the end.

The second is 9 lines from the 7th paragraph of something tentatively titled ‘RH Pillock’.

Spread-eagled on the bed, in a manner most unbecoming a man of his station, Toby wore a towel, wrapped loosely around his waist, and nothing more. Moisture still clung to his skin and droplets of water shimmered in the soft burr of hair that ran between his nipples, the remainder of his chest and abdomen as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Unless he allowed his gaze to dip lower where the pale brown hair started again in earnest just below his belly button, the soft sweep of an inverted V spreading ever wider. Although, on pain of death, Jacob would swear he had never ever looked with any degree of interest.

He should really reprimand Toby for lying on the bed whilst still wet from his bath.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Damn, I knew there was something I was meant to blog about today...

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JMS Books are having a One Day Flash sale at ARe. Today only all JMS Books are 25%.

Sounds like the perfect opportunity to pick up a copy of my short story, Waiting for a Spark.

Want to try before you buy? Here's an excerpt:

Across the bus, Gorgeous smiled encouragingly and his tongue flicked out to wet his lower lip. Could he read Jerome’s mind? Or was the fact he wanted to push the guy to his knees and urge those moist lips to his cock written all over his face?

Nav’s voice was loud in the space left by the school kids’ chatter. “Yeah, they gave the job to a fuckin’ Pole. It’s a fuckin’ outrage, innit?”

There was a spare seat next to Gorgeous now. What would he do if Jerome just walked over there and sat down? Just started talking as if they weren’t complete strangers.

“It’s fuckin’ not on. Jer? Is it?”

“Yeah,” Jerome nodded, only vaguely aware of his friend’s rant. Did he have the bollocks to go up to a total stranger on the bus and ask for his number?

The smile slipped from Gorgeous’ face. He frowned and reached for the abandoned paper in his lap.

“You should write an article about it for the paper,” Nav urged, on a roll now.

“Maybe,” Jerome agreed. Had he done something wrong? Taken too much time thinking about it or just misread the situation completely.

“How they’ve come over here stealing our jobs and our women. Taking benefits intended for British people. Yeah,” Nav nudged Jerome with an elbow, drawing his attention with the sharp jab of bone into his ribs. “Fuckin’ immigrants.”

“What?” Jerome snapped, suddenly aware of the nature of his friend’s tirade.

“It’d make a great piece to get you noticed by the editors.”

Yeah, if the paper was owned by the BNP. His sarcastic retort remained on the tip of his tongue, though. There were several people on the bus muttering their accord at Nav’s little speech; none seemed particularly bothered that this impassioned crap was coming from the mouth of a skinny Asian lad. Even Nav, the first generation of his family to be born and bred in England, didn’t seem aware of the irony. The elderly woman nodding along in agreement had probably said the same thing about Nav’s own parents when they first arrived on British soil from India.

Others watched their small group with cautious eyes, narrowed in concern or suspicion. A pleasant, fantasy-fuelled bus ride had suddenly become a powder keg waiting for a spark.

Snippet 3

Today's snippet is for Elin Gregory, author and all round good egg, who is always ready with words of encouragement and inspiration. This is for you my friend.

17 lines from the 4th paragraph of p.68 of my WIP, Under the Radar.

Emboldened by Gethin’s last response, Zach knew his next question would push all acceptable boundaries of behaviour, but the laughter had left him feeling light-headed. Reckless, even. He ignored the small voice in his head that told him to mind his own business and ploughed on.

“This Meredith, did she give you a parting gift?” Zach said, adding just the hint of a leer. Gethin’s eyes widened, but they lacked that flash of amusement he’d previously displayed. Regardless, Zach pressed on. “You know? A present for a young hero going off to war?”

Gethin’s expression ran through a myriad of emotions. Shock. Disgust. Disappointment. Slack-jawed, Gethin stared at Zach, his mouth open sufficiently for Zach to glimpse the white of his teeth and a flash of pink. Maybe he’d pushed too far again. It was this sort of behaviour that had previously goaded complete strangers and colleagues alike to take a swing at his well-chiselled jaw line. A quick glance at Gethin’s hands, lax and comfortable in the dense fabric of Zach’s jacket, lead Zach to believe that violence wasn’t Gethin’s intention, to Zach’s relief.

Gethin exhaled sharply and, having gathered his wits, he made his objections. “What? No! If that were the case I would be compelled to return to her.” A sigh escaped from his lips. “I don’t want to go back. Not for longer than a visit to see my Ma and sister.”

The omission of his father from that list registered with Zach but he decided not to push that particular line of questioning any further.

This is an MS that has been hanging about for a while. It's almost completed and I should get my finger out and finish it so that it is submission ready. *adds it to things to do list*

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Snippet 2

Another snippet, this time for Meredith Russell, she of the mad cover art skills. (If you don't believe me just take a look at the cover for Theory Unproven and tell me it's not bloody perfect.)

So,  here's 12 lines from the 6th paragraph of p.57 of Lovers Entwined.

Meredith, I know you asked for a WIP and LE has been previously released, but it's in the process of being reissued and as you know I'm hoping you'll be having some input, so I thought I'd give you a little teaser.

“Thanks.” Trey looked as if he didn’t know whether to be insulted or amused. It appeared he was teetering on the side of the former. “Is that how you treat everyone who buys you dinner? No wonder you don’t have a boyfriend.”

Instantly regretting that he had allowed himself to reveal that snippet of information, Ewan responded shortly. “I found a photograph of Tristan.”

Ewan slipped a photograph from the folder and held it out to Trey. “He looks exactly like you, if you discount the ‘tashe and the military issue haircut. And the nose. Which is why I was asking. I wasn’t being rude.”

“Oh.” Trey studied the photograph, the move hiding his face in shadow. “I had a surfing accident when I was seventeen. The board flipped out from under me, caught the wave and smacked me in the face. Broke my nose and knocked me clean out. I was lucky I didn’t drown.”

Hopefully, there will be another snippet tomorrow. I won't promise because you know what a flaky blogger I am :)

Monday, 11 May 2015

Snippet 1

Last week I offered up the chance for people to request snippets from my work, either on-going projects or published manuscripts.

Here's the first one for one of my original online friends, idamus.

She gave me 9, 15, 82 and asked for something from a WIP.

Here is 15 lines from the 9th paragraph on p.82 of my recent submission, New Lease of Life.

A barrage of giggles from the next table broke through the palpable tension, ripping it asunder. With a grin, Colby turned toward the laughter and addressed the women sitting there. “I’ll have what he’s having.”

As a group, they laughed in unison.

Pip frowned around the straw, reluctantly letting it slip from his lips in order to speak. “But it’s yours.”

An astonished look passed over Colby’s features and he shook his head. “It’s a film quote. When Harry Met Sally?  No? Best rom com ever. And you call yourself a gay man.”

A chorus of sighs emanated from the next table. Did they agree with Colby’s assertion? Who knew? Certainly not Pip, who felt as though the conversation was slipping away from him.

“I’m disappointed. Please tell me you’ve seen Priscilla.”

Who? “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I wouldn’t know a rom com if it got up and bit me on the bloody arse.”

“Interesting thought. Love the way you say arse. That long stretched out R.”

Whispers of conversation drifted over from the other table. So sweet.

Enjoy ;)

Friday, 8 May 2015

Fiction Friday

The last FF post was 21st April. Looks like I've let this slip again. I gave my excuses yesterday, so let's not harp on. I'll get right down to the nitty gritty.

Foxe Tail (Skyler Foxe Mysteries #1) by Haley Walsh

Gay teacher Skyler Foxe thought teaching English Lit was murder. Wait till he falls into the real thing.

Skyler Foxe is a brand new English teacher in his hometown of Redlands, CA. He loves literature, loves his students, loves his friends, especially his best friend Detective Sidney Feldman. But he doesn't love keeping his orientation a secret, afraid of the backlash in this conservative county. But will murder thrust him into unwanted limelight? Who killed his principal's son outside a gay dance club? And what's the connection to James Polk High? Is the macho football coach or his mysterious and gorgeous new assistant coach involved? Can Skyler trust anyone at the high school when there seems to be conspiracies around every corner?

First off this is not a romance, it's a mystery story with a gay lead. It's like a gay Hardy Boys or QAF meets the Famous Five. The romance, such as it is, barely gets started in the last 5% of the book, which btw ends on a TBC. Never fear, nobody is in mortal peril and the main mystery is solved, however a second mystery that has weaved its way into the first has yet to be solved, a minor character is in hospital and there is still something suspicious going on with the love interest.

The Tea Demon by Cornelia Grey -  Clever and well written short story, a touch of steampunk, a pinch of fantasy, and a sprinkling of the Arabian Knights.

All free and worth half hour or so of your time. What more could you ask for?

Sucker-Punch by Sarah Black
Cupid's Beau by Jade Archer
Be a Bad Boy by Lee Brazil
Masochism 101 by Kim Dare
Bear Naked by J.L. Merrow
Just One Kiss by Lisa Worrall
Punch-Drunk Love by Nico Jaye
Man of the Match by Lane Swift
Somebody Nice! by Raine O'Tierney
Metronomy by Suki Fleet
Knickers in a Twist by Ofelia Gränd
Mr. Jaguar by K.A. Merikan

I'm still slogging my way through the Don't Read in the Closet stories, as you can probably tell. The ones above all got 4/5 stars from me. I've no idea how many are left to read but I'm almost certain I won't have them finished before the new ones start being issued.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Still more radio silence...

Since I haven't been blogging, what have I been up to?

Well, I've been reading, but more about that tomorrow.

Mostly I've finished up the WIP 'New Lease of Life', prepped synopsis and blurbs, and sent it off for submission. After all the additions and tweeking that MS is out of my hands at least for now. I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to Pip and Colby just yet. While the publisher decides yay or nay, I've had an idea for a promo piece which I might as well get written now because I'll forget all about it come release time.

As a mini celebration of sorts (because any finished MS is a victory) give me three numbers, one less than 10, one less than 20, and one less than 100, and I'll give you a snippet from one of my stories. If you want to you can specify published or WIP (because there are many started MS on my desktop), or even a particular book title.

So, bombard me with your requests.

FYI: It doesn't have to be on this blog, I'll check each of the other platforms I've posted this on for responses (Twitter/FB/Goodreads/Dreamwidth/LJ).