Friday, August 31, 2012

The Friday Review - Aisling by Carole Cummings

As a teen I'd often wait until the family had gone to bed, then I'd switch on my bedside lamp, reading late into the night. If I'd been recently busted for being up after lights out, I'd hide under the covers with a favorite read and a flashlight. The worlds created in the pages of books transported me to another place and time. Sweeping epics carried me away, and before I knew it, I'd stayed up much too late. Again.

Fast forward a few years. Okay, a lot of years. The words are viewed through bifocal lenses now, but the same all-consuming urge to stay up all night and read has overtaken me again. I've become engulfed in a world so foreign, and yet so familiar, that has pulled me in completely. I couldn't stop reading, and had to force myself to put this book down or else be late for work, thanks to the incredibly talented Carole Cummings. 

Aisling Book One is a young adult novel that introduces us to two very opposite men. Wil, living a life of fear and yet so determined to be free of those who'd enslave him; Dallin, whose stoic, analytical mind must bend to accept what he's previously believed to be myth. Thanks to very descriptive writing and a perfectly paced plot, I found myself in the shoes of both men, living in their world, and came to care for these two unique individuals and the allies they meet along the way. (I'd also like to hurt anyone who dares look at poor Wil with ill intent!) And while the book ends with our heroes yet to form a bond, the lead-up is riveting. 

Fabulous world-building and characterizations make this a must read. I cannot recommend it highly enough. I envy this author's way with words.

Want to get away from it all? Why not take an epic adventure vacation with Aisling. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone

Hi y'all. You'd think that a M/M romance author who spends far too much time researching and writing hot and heavy erotic scenes (and gives her mom a copy of the book) wouldn't have problems with a "comfort zone". Well, I do, or rather, I did. I've come a long way in the past few years, and my evolution is reflected in my writing.

I'm being spotlighted at MANtastic Fiction, talking about my own personal boundaries as they pertain to my work. Stop and share your own view of stepping outside your comfort zone and get in on the drawing for an ebook copy from my back list.

Eden Winters Steps Outside Her Comfort Zone.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Early Literary Influences -- A Guest Post by Michael Rupured

Today on Early Literary Influences, I'm thrilled to have a guest poster, brand new author Michael Rupured. His novel, Until Thanksgiving, will be debuting soon from Dreamspinner Press. Michael's influence is not actually a book, but a person, a librarian, who made a huge impact on his formative years. 

Nothing makes me happier than to see an avid reader make the leap to author. Please welcome Michael to the site, and to the world of m/m romance author. 


Unless it came with crayons, there weren’t many books for children in our house when I was growing up.  Little Black Sambo was the one book I remember seeing. There were others, but for some reason, that’s the one I can recall.

The library in the parochial school I attended for first and second grade consisted of a tall bookcase with a shelf for each of eight grades.  Dr. Seuss dominated the two lowest shelves. I read every book I could reach.

We moved across town in time for me to start third grade in a brand new public school.  A full-time librarian reigned over a library bigger than our house. Be still my beating heart!

Our class went to the library once a week. Miss Littrell entertained us with a story, using different voices for the characters. She was great and could have made a fortune recording audiobooks for children.

The day we met, I was writing my name on the little card I’d pulled from a pocket on the back of the book to check it out. Everyone called me Mike—a name I’ve never especially liked. Inspired by Mary, Jerry, Fanny, and Lucy who’d checked the book out before me, I decided to give Mikey a try, adding the y with an extra flourish in the tail to make it mine.

Miss Littrell came up behind me, glancing at the card before she spoke. “Do you need any help, Mickey?” That was the end of Mikey and the beginning of a wonderful relationship. We’re friends on Facebook to this day.

Little green cards, each with a name printed in neat block letters with a black magic marker, covered the wall behind the checkout and return desk. Miss Littrell added a star sticker to my strip for every book I read. After fifty little stars, I got a new green strip with a big gold star. By the end of sixth grade, my strip sported dozens of big stars in a variety of colors, the additional hues needed after some of us got into competitive reading.

All those stars paid off. I became a library helper in fourth grade—one of the chosen few with full access to the sacred interior of the library.  While Miss Littrell read to a class, I sat behind the checkout counter returning little cards to the back pockets of books so they could be checked out again. Some days I got to read to the first graders. Heady stuff for a nine-year-old.

As I got older, Miss Littrell read excerpts from age-appropriate books to introduce us to various authors and genres. She taught us how to use the card catalog then gave us a tour of different nonfiction sections of the library, through reference books, and on to periodicals. In the absence of the Internet, the library was the door to an information super highway that in 1965, was still just a dirt road.

After Dr. Seuss, my first favorite author was Beverly Cleery. Scenes from her books stand out in my mind—Henry Hudson in a bedroom lined with jars of baby guppies, Louella the goat munching on his aunt’s prized gardenias. I couldn’t get enough and read everything she ever wrote.

My first favorite book was Champion Dog: Prince Tom, a true story about a boy and his cocker spaniel that made me want a dog of my own. I ordered the paperback from Scholastic Books and cried my way through the brown-inked pages dozens of times.  A few years ago I finally got a dog—Toodles, a long-haired Chihuahua who grieves when I’m out of sight. She completes me.

In grade school I read all of Jim Kjelgaard’s books about dogs and wolves, tore through Walter Farley’s series about horses, and continued with Marguerite Henry’s tales of Misty and Chincoteague. When that wasn’t enough, Miss Littrell turned me on to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Series, the Boxcar kids, the Borrower books, and C.S. Lewis’s fantasy series, just to name a few.

She also directed me to shelves with more information about things that interested me. I checked out books on tropical fish to learn more about Henry Hudson’s guppies. An illustrated guide to blooming plants of the south provided my first glimpse of a gardenia bush in bloom. I could find out anything—as long as it happened long enough ago to make into print.

While other kids played baseball or took swimming lessons, I rode my bike to school to help Miss Littrell with inventory and other duties that kept her in the library all summer. Graduating to junior high didn’t stop me, either. I came back to help the next two summers.

When the superintendent transferred hundreds of teachers to integrate public school faculty, Miss Littrell ended up at an inner-city school. She told me it was closer to her home, but I could see she’d been crying. Her replacement said my help wasn’t wanted or needed. Fine. Be that way.

My elementary school librarian is my earliest literary influence. Without her encouragement and support, I’m not sure reading would have been as important to me as it was and is. Loving to read is an essential first step to becoming a writer. I hope third graders today have a Miss Littrell to inspire future generations of authors and an interest in reading and a curiosity for knowledge beyond the classroom for everybody else.

Dreamspinner Press will release Until Thanksgiving, my first novel, in December or January. The ink hasn’t dried on the contract so I don’t have a cover or anything.  


Gay and pushing forty, Josh Freeman knows his best years are behind him. After his partner of seventeen years has an affair with a younger man, Josh buries himself in a pile of take-out boxes, empty bottles, half-smoked joints, and self-pity. His best friend, Linda does what friends do—gently kicks his ass and encourages him to give the job he’s been offered in Washington D.C. a try—at least until Thanksgiving.

Thad Parker, a DC-based relocation expert, rarely dates and has never fallen for anyone. But when he meets Josh Freeman and shakes his hand, a spark hits him like a lightning strike. When Josh takes an active interest in someone else, Thad decides to wait.

While he waits, misunderstandings about Thad’s relationship with his older roommate, a reckless encounter with a serial killer, and a brush with death conspire against Josh and Thad’s chance at happiness.


Thank you, Eden, for this opportunity to meet your fans. I’ll let you know when I have a cover, the official blurb, and a release date. Until then, I invite your readers to follow me through the process of getting my first novel published.

Monday, August 27, 2012

MM Authors Exposed

I've been posting for two weeks now about a new project started with fellow authors D.H. Starr, Ethan Stone, P.D. Singer, Fyn Alexander, Sedonia Guillone, and artist Jared Rackler, who also happens to be an aspiring writer. Today we're launching our new site.

Here's how it works. Want to know how we got our start? What's our biggest writing obstacles? What we like to do for fun? Visit us at our Goodreads Group, on our Facebook Page, or at the site, and bring us your questions. They'll be posed to the group and we'll answer on the site.

Here's the first question and answers: "What's your process for getting your idea down on page?"

Official announcement:

Hello world!

To our devoted readers…welcome to MM Authors Exposed where authors and readers can interact in an honest and safe environment. We wanted to create a forum where we could interact with you, the reader, the most important people in our world.
We’ve also created a Goodreads group for you to join where you can feed us your questions so please follow the link and join our group.
As authors, our greatest desire is to allow those characters in our heads and hearts out so they see the world. But it’s just as important to us that our stories resonate with you, the reader. So please ask us anything from funny questions to serious and we’ll respond.
Thanks for spending some time with us and happy reading.
Authors Exposed

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Coming Soon -- Part Seven

Today I'd like you to meet the final member of MM Authors Exposed, Mr. Jared Rackler, of Jared Rackler Designs. If you recognize the name it might be because I've mentioned him before. He's the artistic talent behind my banner and the covers of my works: The Telling, Night Watch, Boy Under the Bridge, In Shadow, What You  Can't Live Without, and Tinsel and Frost. He's created countless covers for other authors as well.

Here's the link to his profile at MM Authors Exposed. 

And remember, if you're looking for quality graphics, he's your man. He's also been know to design trading cards, like the ones he did for The Angel of 13th Street.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Saturday Snark - Collusion

Today's Saturday Snark comes from the draft of Collusion, the sequel to Diversion. Lucky always has snark to spare. He's been "arrested" as part of a sting operation, by his nemesis, Keith. Their boss, Walter, looks on.
Grumbling under his breath, Keith got out and opened the back door, hauling Lucky upright. Lucky didn’t exactly fight him, being under their boss’s watchful eye, but he didn’t exactly help either. 
 The cuffs snicked free and Lucky jerked his arms in front of him, rubbing abused wrists. Out of Walter’s line of sight, Keith mouthed, “Fucker.”
Lucky replied, “Not that’ll do you any good. I do have standards, you know.”
 “Lucky, that’s enough,” Walter quietly intoned, handing a Starbucks cup over the seat. “Get some sleep, then report in this afternoon.” Lucky stepped out of the car while the man he’d never admit to admiring added, “You did good.”
 Keith gave him the hairy eyeball from the side mirror. Lucky stuck out his tongue. The car pulled away, leaving Lucky in front of his duplex.
“Another wild night, I see,” his landlady commented from the unit next door, where she sat on her porch swing stroking one of about seven cats. 
Saturday Snark is hosted by the Marie Sexton, on her blog. Click here for Marie's wonderfully snarky offering, and check out the links below for other participants. Happy Snark Day!

Coming Soon - Part 6

Only two more days to go until the launch of M/M Authors Exposed. Today I'm introducing another member of our team, Fyn Alexander, author of the Angel and the Assasin series and Knightly Love. I'm so thrilled to be working with such a talented group of authors!

What an awesome cover! Got knights? Count me in!

And don't forget, visit M/M Authors Exposed on Monday, August 27 to find out what we're all about.

Friday, August 24, 2012

The Friday Review - Visting the Ghost of Puppyboy by Rick McGranahan

Today's review wanders away from the normal M/M romances that I devour like there's no tomorrow, though the protagonist definitely gets his HEA.

I received my print copy of Visting the Ghost of Puppyboy the day before I left for a fantasy vacation, and spent the whole trip reading whenever I found a free moment. What a riviting book! And, get this: it's author Rick McGranahan's autobiography--and he lived a fascinating life.

Puppyboy haunts me. For a period of three days I was a part of his life. I danced with him on a raised platform, basking in the spotlight's glow. I cheered on his efforts to find true love, and held him close when what he thought was love poofed like smoke through a closed fist. I screamed, "What the hell do you think you're doing?" when he followed the downward spiral of drugs, alcohol, and meaningless sex. He took me many places, introduced me to countless people, some good, some bad, many unforgettable. I laughed when he laughed, cried when he cried, begged him to lay off the drugs, and prayed that his risky lifestyle wouldn't reap long-term repercussions. I was a mourner when Puppyboy was laid to rest, admiring his determination to stay alive, and I was there when he crashed and burned, Rick rising like a Phoenix from the ashes.

Paul became my hero when he issued that ultimatum that quite possibly saved Rick's life, and I shed many happy tears when love finally came to stay. Thank you, Mr. McGranahan, for inviting me to share your adventure. The deliberate lack of editing made this tale more personal; it's a heartfelt, uncensored letter from a dear friend, not a commercial effort. What struck me most is that the author is unapologetic. Too many memoirs are filled with regrets, but Rick McGranahan understood that this was merely a journey to be taken. It's his story and he's not ashamed of it. There's a lesson there for the rest of us: accept who you are, change what needs changing, but never forget that who you were shaped who you are today.

And the story continues. For as much as I was a part of Puppyboy's life, he's now a part of mine, and I occasionally catch myself seeing the world through his eyes. To have been so young, he imparted valuable wisdom, the greatest of which is that love is out there; it may take awhile to find it, but it's there. Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy is a raw, uninhibited peek into someone's life, a wild ride well worth taking, and your tour guide is one of the most unforgettable characters you'll ever meet. Some review sites have distinctions above five stars, to indicate that a book is a must read and a keeper. While I don't currently have that, I will say that this is one incredible book, and I am in awe of its power. I give it five stars because that's all that's allowed on this site. It deserves so much more, and I'll be revisiting Puppyboy often in the near future.

I'm pleased to say that through reading this book and then exchanging emails, and finally meeting in person, I now count this amazing author among my friends.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Coming Soon - Part Five

I feel like a teen-aged fangirl, getting to rub elbows with some of the most talented and best-known writers in the M/M romance genre. Today's featured author has too many hit novels to name, including one that I fell in love with long ago before I ever even dreamed of writing a novel of my own. Isn't that cover gorgeous?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Sedonia Guillone, fifth member of MM Authors Exposed. Check out Sedonia's profile on our new site. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Coming Soon - Part Four

Next Monday myself and a few other authors will be launching a site that we hope will provide a fun place for readers and authors to hang out together. I've already introduced a few of my collaborators; today allow me to introduce Mr. Ethan Stone.

Ethan is the amazing talent behind such works as Subject 13 and Bartender, PI (is that cover hot, or what?), among many others.

Check out Ethan's full profile at our new site: M/M Authors Exposed, and don't forget to stop by there and say hello on Monday, August 27 when we go live with the site. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Early Literary Influences - Best in Children's Books

Welcome to Early Literary Influences - Books That Shaped My Life Volume 2. Last Tuesday I showcased the children's book Bambi, which had a profound impact on me at a very early age, teaching principles that I carry to this day. If you haven't read it, you can find that post here.

Today's literary influence is actually a series of books that captured my imagination, broadened my horizons, and gave me a healthy dose of not only great fiction, but poetry, biographies, and even geography.

The books? The Best in Children's Books series by Doubleday, published in the 50s and 60s, and featuring gorgeous illustrations to accompany wide-ranging stories.

You never knew quite what you'd get when you picked up a volume, but were pretty much guaranteed cover-to-cover excitement. If I'm not mistaken, my mother bought us the whole set, and I cherished every one.

I'm using Volume I to give you an idea of the treasures found inside the covers:

1. Abraham Lincoln - Ingri and Edgar Parin D'Aulaire
2. How the Rhinoceros Got His Skin - Rudyard Kipling
3. A Child's Garden of Verses - Robert Louis Stevenson
4. Hansel and Gretel - Jakob and Wilhelm Grimm
5. Mother Goose Rhymes
6. The Story of Gold - Maud and Miska Petersham
7. Puppet Play - Tina Lee
8. What a Magnet Can Do - Gerald S. Craig and Sara E. Baldwin
9. Animal Children
10. Angus and the Cat - Marjorie Flack
11. Pancakes for Breakfast - Grace Paull
12. This Is Australia

These books made learning fun, and I read as eagerly about a former president as I did about baby animals, racing through the book to get to my very favorite part, the "This is" feature, as in Australia, Africa, or some other faraway land. 

There I was, living on a farm in the middle of nowhere, but thanks to these books, I visited exotic locales, read of other cultures, and learned the beauty of diversity way back before I even knew what the word "diversity" meant. 

To my younger self, Best in Children's Books were a step along the path of creating my own stories, and fuel for a future writer's imagination. These books are now collector's items, costing a pretty penny. To me they were worth more than gold. 

Tune in next week, for another installment of Early Literary Influences - Books That Shaped My Life.

PS. A dear friend asked a very key question: "Where are the books now?" To be honest, I didn't rightly know, so I called Mom. She told me she still had them but she'd thought about taking them to Goodwill. I may have caused the poor dear permanent eardrum injury when I screamed, "NO! THOSE ARE COLLECTOR'S ITEMS!!!' Long story short, these wonderful books from my childhood are now going to be a part of my senior years. I can't wait to read them again. And if anyone wonders why a m/m romance writer has a collection of children's books proudly displayed on her bookshelf? I'll say they're my grandchildren's. Yeah, that's what I'll do. 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Welcome Sue Brown

Please join me in welcoming author Sue Brown, and a very attention getting topic--men. Take it away, Sue!


Let’s talk men.

Or rather, let’s talk about the outer coating. We could talk about what makes men tick but we’d be here all day, football, beer, and pies would be mentioned, and then it would get sexist, and someone would cry. 

Probably me.

So let’s talk about what makes your toes curl.

I love eye-candy as much as the next girl, I really do. You see a gorgeous man, with broad shoulders, tapering to a narrow waist, and long, long legs… Whoa mama, I’m going to spend some time in my bunk.
I’m not so much fixated by one particular look. I love blonds, red-heads, dark and mysterious, long hair, short hair and everything in between. I like most skin colour as well. It isn’t the type but the man himself.
And that’s where I find it so difficult to pick my men for my books. I can’t deny that I’d probably pick Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki from three years ago as my models for every single book if it wouldn’t get boring. No, you’re right, it wouldn’t get boring.

You see, number one, they are the most gorgeous (in my head) pairing to ever walk this earth, and number two, I am naturally very lazy, and trying to find guys that I think would make a good pairing is actually quite difficult.

I could trawl Tumblr or Facebook, but if I can’t see them interacting in my head, then they don’t work. My boys have to eat, sleep and have mad passionate monkey sex together. Just being eye-candy don’t cut it. I need to see them together. Jensen and Jared made that bit easy for me—I could imagine them together because Jared spent a lot of time draped over Jensen in publicity photos. As for the eating, sleeping – just in my imagination, folks.

One of the reasons I like Dan Skinner’s work is that you see the models together. The models themselves rarely make my toes curl but the way they interact definitely does. As I’ve gained more confidence in asking for what I want in my cover art, one of my requests is for the allusion of intimacy. If the book is about two men who’ve just met, it doesn’t matter if they don’t look into each other’s eyes, or touch one another. But if we’re talking long-term relationship, then yes, it matters to me that I can see the men being together.

What do you like to see on covers? Some publishers have a fixed house style, making their books instantly recognisable. Others like my publishers, Dreamspinner and Silver have a more flexible approach to cover art, giving their authors more choice. Both systems work equally well

Recently, I was extremely fortunate that I saw the image for my forthcoming book almost before I had started, and Joem Bayawa and Dreamspinner agreed to use the image. For a lazy person like me, it was a gift.

So, men, gorgeous as you are, could you just pop over and wave at me every time I’m thinking about a new story. If you could come with a ready-made partner, and if you would agree to being on the cover of my book… Ta, very much.

Author Bio: Sue Brown is owned by her dog and two children. When she isn't following their orders, she can be found plotting at her laptop. In fact she hides so she can plot and has got expert at ignoring the orders.

Sue discovered M/M erotica at the time she woke up to find two men kissing on her favorite television series. The series was boring; the kissing was not. She may be late to the party, but she's made up for it since, writing fan fiction until she was brave enough to venture out into the world of original fiction.
Sue can be found on the internet at her blog, her website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Chapter One
THE conversation had gone something like this:
Alex: “You need a vacation after being stuck inside with me for so long.”

Liam: “Somewhere hot. Sandy beaches, blue sea, hot men.”

Alex: “I can promise you the beaches are sandy.”

Liam: “What do you mean? Alex, what are you planning? I know that look in your eyes. I thought we were talking about a vacation.”

Alex: “I’m offering you a vacation, moron.”

Liam: “Where?”

Alex: “The Isle of Wight.”

Liam: “Where the fuck is that?”

Alex: “The UK.”

Liam: “It rains there and the men aren’t hot.”

Alex: “Ewan McGregor, man, Ewan McGregor.”

Liam: “That’s a low blow, even for you.”

Liam’s vision of a tropical vacation with cocktails and cabana boys faded away with the tide and instead there was this, a special hell, surrounded by screaming kids and overweight moms. Alex really knew how to give his best friend a good time.

Liam leaned against the glass and sighed. Somewhere up there, Alex was laughing at him. The bastard could have given him a train ticket to anywhere; the Orient Express, for instance. The lyrics said a “Ticket to Ride,” not fucking Ryde. But no, Alex loved the Isle of Wight after a summer vacation during college and he would not be moved. So a ticket to the ass end of nowhere it was. Maybe Alex had secretly hated him all these years.

The Isle of Wight was obviously a popular destination for families, because from the second Liam had gotten on the ferry to the island he hadn’t been able to get away from whining brats. Liam wasn’t one of those men whose life was going to be completed by progeny. He liked Kathy well enough, even though he’d deny it if pushed, but she was Alex’s kid, so of course Liam liked her. Children en masse were hell on earth. Particularly the little fucker behind him.

The train eventually reached Ryde. Could any train ride be so slow? The island was the size of a handkerchief. The majority of the crowd got off, to Liam’s relief. He was particularly pleased to be rid of the evil kid who had spent most of the journey kicking the back of his seat. After days of riding this train from hell, he had no patience for some bored brat. He’d glared at the monster when the kicking had started, and then tried glaring at the mother. The woman had stared back with sublime indifference. Liam thought about moving to the seat behind the kid and kicking his seat to see how he liked it. He could just imagine how that would go down. Pervert On Train Attacks Small Child! Liam’s imagination ran wild as he visualized the headlines. It might even get on YouTube. Somebody would record it on their cell phone and upload it. Liam shuddered as he imagined the small clip going viral. His mother would never speak to him again. The nightmare had kept him occupied until the train disgorged the horrid child and his equally horrid mother at Ryde Esplanade.

For the couple of minutes it took to get to Ryde Pier Head station, Liam leaned against the back of the seat and closed his eyes. Forget the last few days riding this God-awful train. Today was the day to fulfill Alex’s request. Then he could go home and get on with his life.

His empty life.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Coming Soon - Part 3

As part of the upcoming announcement about a collaborative effort between myself and few other writers, I'd like you to meet another member of the team behind M/M Authors Exposed, a site designed for authors and readers to hang out and interact. You know me, and yesterday I introduced D. H. Starr. Today I'm very pleased present my very dear friend, P.D. Singer, author of The Mountain series and The Rare Event, among other works. She's also the one who encouraged me to publish to begin with.

Read more about P.D. Singer on M/M Authros Exposed:

Wednesday you'll meet the next member of our group. Here's the weekly schedulede:

Monday - I'm hosting a guest appearance by writer Sue Brown. Be sure to stop by to find out about her lastest work, and say hello.

Tuesday - The second installment of my new series on Early Literary Influences - Books That Shaped My Life.

Wednesday - Meet the next member of M/M Authors Exposed - Ethan Stone.

Thurdsday - Meet M/M Authors Exposed member Sedonia Guillone.

Friday - The Friday Review - Stop by and see which book I'm showing love to this week.

Saturday - Meet M/M Authors Exposed member Fyn Alexander.

Next Sunday I'll introduce the final member of M/M Authors Exposed - Jared Rackler, followed by a writeup of what we're hoping for from the site on Monday, August 27, the day the site goes live.

Have a great week, y'all!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Coming Soon - Part 2

I mentioned a few days ago about a collaborative effort between myself and several other authors to create a place where readers and authors can interact. Today I'd like to introduce one of the co-authors of this project, Mr. D.H. Starr.

Doug is a dear friend, wonderful voice of reason, the very talented author of Meant for Each Other, Wrestling With Desire, Wrestling With Love, and Premonition, to name a few, and like me, loves chatting about books.

Check out his profile and a more complete list of works at our new site:

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Friday Review - A Bit of Rough and Roughhousing

In an attempt to show love to some of my favorite books, I'm making it a goal to post a review of a book each Friday. Some will be new books that I recently read, but others will have stood the test of time, with reviews that I wrote months or even years ago that still hold true today.  And before you think I give glowing reviews to everything I read, I don't. I will only post reviews of books that I thorougly enjoyed and wholeheartedly recommend.

With that said, this week's featured story is the first M/M romance I ever read, Laura Baumbach's A Bit of Rough. And because I was new at reviewing and the review is short, I've added on my thoughts on the sequel, Roughhousing. I read both books long before the review date, but posted them once I'd joined Goodreads.

A Bit of Rough was the very first m/m book in a collection of that consists of about 400 at present time. Bram Lord is the strong, protective lover we all dream of, and in James he meets his match. Over the the years I've told many that the first chapter alone was worth the price of the book. That sex in the alley scene is a scorcher!

It seems right that this book was my introduction to the genre. It's a well-written explanation of why I'm now hooked on m/m stories. 

Reviewed 12/17/09

Bram and James are back and so am I! So often I'm disappointed with sequels, but not this time. James is still strongly independent and Bram still growly and possessive. Long live the cave man!

Is there going to be a third book, I ask hopefully, batting my eyes at Ms. Baumbach?

Reviewed 12/17/09

Over the years, I believe I've gotten much better at reviews--at least they're wordier and go more in depth, but these were written by a tried and true fan, so I won't change them now.

Tune in next week for peek at another of my favorite books. And for the record, I now own more than 1,000 M/M romance novels.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Early Literary Influences -- Bambi

Today I'm posting the first of what I hope to make a series here at Greetings From the Trailer Park: Early Literary Influences, the Books That Shaped My Life.

Today's literary influence is Bambi. Yes, you heard me....Bambi! You remember the little spotted deer, friends with Thumper and Flower, don't you? I know, a M/M romance writer and a children's book don't seem to belong in the same sentence, and yet here we are. Of all the books I've ever read, only scriptures have had a bigger impact on my life. How does a children's book of only a few pages influence a person's life? Well, I'll tell you.

I must have been three of four years old when my mom bought Bambi for my brother, sister, and me. Along with the book came an album (remember vinyl albums?). Before I could read I listened to the album, turning the book's pages when a tone sounded. I spent countless hours with Bambi and friends and, hearing what I thought were their voices (very active imagination!), I came to view them as human.

Through Bambi I learned that it wasn't Flower's fault that he smelled bad, he was still a nice skunk. And Thumper was annoying sometimes, but who doesn't get that way from time to time? See where this is going? Through this simple little story I learned empathy, to see the world from another's point of view, and that your friends don't have to look or act like you do. And all before I could ride a bike.

I cried when Bambi's mother died, and my heart raced when he ran from the fire, no matter how many times I heard the story. Point number two. I learned early on what made a good story. It pulls the reader in, makes them feel they are there, and makes them truly care what happens to the characters.

Sadly, for my mom, the story also taught me a lesson that has lasted forty-six years, and shaped who I am today. Because I became sympathetic to these fictional characters, I decided at the age of three or four that animals were friends, not food, and every single meal for the next fourteen or fifteen years became an ordeal for my family, for my mom believed I needed to eat meat to be healthy. Once I was out on my own, that ended. I've been vegetarian for about thirty-two years now, due in large part by to a simple children's book.

I also learned to champion those who had no voice of their own, learned to respect others, and the value of protecting rights, be they for humans or our furry friends.

Never underestimate the power of words.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Another episode of Saturday Snark!

Like last week, this snark comes from my Amber Quill Press novel, Diversion, because nearly everything out of Lucky's mouth, even his every thought, is snarky. He doesn't idle well, and while in a board room with a bunch of pharamceutical execs, his mind begins to wonder to his soon-to-be-new-partner, Bo.
With Ol’ Windbag up at the head of the table in full steam about legalities, causing Lucky’s eyes to glaze over, he thought, What the hell? and let his imagination out to play. In a brief mental vacation he fisted those highlighted brown locks in his callused hands, as Bo’s enticingly sinful lips got down to business. Oh, baby, I bet you could suck the sheets straight up my ass, city boy.
 Be sure to follow the links and enjoy more Saturday Snark!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Enter to win a copy of The Wish

Today Reviews by Jessewave is hosting a giveaway contest for a copy of my latest release, The Wish. It's a re-lease, polished a bit more, the names of a few minor characters changed to avoid confusion, and the novel has a lovely new cover, but the story is the same.

Leave a comment on the thread at Jessewave's to enter the drawing.

At his death, Byron Sinclair left behind more than just his much older partner Alfred Anderson. The couple helped raise their respective nephews, and while Paul Sinclair and Alex Martin are now adults, they still have some growing up to do, particularly when it comes to getting along with each other. 

If they refuse to be in the house at the same time, how can Alex be so sure Paul is an opportunistic suck-up with the morals of an alley cat? Paul isn’t impressed with aloof and arrogant playboy Alex, either. Both swear they know all they need to about the other--and about themselves. Byron’s dying wish is for Alfred to help Paul and Alex see how perfect they are for each other. But when the boys stubbornly refuse to acknowledge what's right in front of them, Byron must get creative – though it’ll be difficult without hands, or a voice, or a body….

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Coming Soon...

It's no secret that I enjoy interacting with readers. I've long made it a habit of replying to reviews, be they good or bad, to show my appreciation for the reader who took the time to read my work. That I know of, I've not made anyone uncomfortable. However, more and more I'm hearing that reviews, especially at places like Goodreads, are for readers and reviewers, not authors, and that I should under no circumstances reply. This saddens me, because I sincerly hope that no reviewer that I've responded to feels that I'm "invading their space", and I've made several good friends that I met in this manner. But because I don't want anyone to fear the "crazy stalker author" I've since stopped this practice, but still eagerly respond to email, inquiries, and private messages. There's no author rule book, so how exactly can a writer reach out without the contact being unwelcome?

I've discussed the issue with some of my fellow writers, and we believe we've found a solution. On August 27, we're launching a collaborative effort blog. Via Facebook and our own Goodreads Group, we'll gather questions from readers. We'll post the questions on the blog to be answered by members of the author group, and open up the channels of communication. We hope to create a safe and fun environment for authors and readers to hang out together.

As the time draws near, I'll post additional details, such as the profiles of the other authors taking part in this effort. Until then... stay tuned!

A Nice Little Review for The Wish

A lovely little review posted today for The Wish at MM Good Book Reviews. Here's some of what reveiwer Pixie had to say:
I will recommend this to those who adore true love stories, interfering spirits, two determined young men, a new love that develops from unmitigated grief and the beginning of a new true love story, oh yeah there’s some really hot lovemaking involved as well.
Many thanks to Pixie and MM Good Book Reviews.

Read entire review here.

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Guest Post by M.A. Church

Good morning, y'all! Today I'm turning over my blog to M.A. Church, who has a lesson for us on what really matters in life. Take it away, M.A.!


* Airfare from Memphis to Las Vegas: $500
* Meals, Room, Entertainment: $2000
* Falling in love: Priceless

Money makes the world go round, and can buy the best things life has to offer. Pricey clothes, expensive cars, luxury toys, insanely high priced meals, the best rooms in hotels… and people who’ll jump to do your bidding. Money speaks—wealth and power go hand in hand. And when you have money, hey, why not throw it around like it grows on trees? There’s more of where that came from.

So what if the men you date are more interested in your money than your private thoughts? Does it really matter if all they see you as is a bag of money? It’s certainly safer. After all, they’ll tell you what you want to hear. They wouldn’t dare tell you the truth. If you have money, you don’t need anything else.
But… what if that’s not right? What then? Wealth can buy you security, provide comfort, and surround you with ‘yes’ men. Sure, money can buy a lot of things, but do those things really mean anything if there’s no one special to share them with? What about a lover’s touch, a simple smile, or the feeling of being near the one you love? Money can’t buy that—it can’t buy you a sense of completeness. As the old saying goes… ‘You can’t take it with you.’

Can you buy love?

Not the love I’m talking about. There have been all kind of shows on TV about this subject—saying yes money can and no it can’t. Frankly, I don’t think money can buy love. Not soul-touching, deep, give your life love. It can buy a warm body, but that’s not the same.

Money may be able to buy a lot of things… except true love. And true love is…

Sparks ignite when Cupid takes aim at two mortals in Las Vegas: Randy Jones, an average guy on a company vacation, looks into Garrett’s eyes at a craps table and time stands still. Throwing aside everything he believes, Randy engages in a torrid two-night affair with Garrett—only to panic when he realizes he’s fallen in love.

Cynical billionaire Garrett Shiffler has everything money can buy, and most of his dates can’t see past the dollar signs. Life has taught him that innocence and love are figments of the imagination. But when Randy disappears, taking with him feelings Garrett thought he’d never know, Garrett wages the most important battle of his life to win Randy's love—but this time he fights with his heart, not his bank account.
Meanwhile, Cupid wonders what happened. His golden arrows never fail unless the Fates interfere. If Garrett wants to win Randy back, he’s going to have to do it on his own, because the Fates have other plans for Cupid.

They stepped closer and Randy’s body was as tense as a drawn bow. What would a suave, sophisticated guy do in this situation? Suave, right. Randy just hoped he didn’t make an idiot out of himself.
Randy’s breathing increased as he chewed his lip. His heart sped up as Garrett leaned into him. Would the kiss be hard and brutal, his mouth claimed by an onslaught of passion that would leave him breathless and 
bruised? He moaned in surprise as Garrett’s mouth sweetly moved on his.

From one heartbeat to the next, pleasure exploded in Randy’s mind. He hadn’t expected such gentleness. Throwing caution to the wind, he grasped Garrett’s hips and pulled him closer. Garrett’s tongue explored his mouth, that sinful goatee tickling his chin. When Garrett nudged his head to the side and nibbled a path down Randy’s neck, he willingly bared his throat. And moaned again when Garrett sucked hard on the tender skin 
near his collarbone.

Randy, squirming from the sensations, rubbed his leg up and down Garrett’s thigh. One of Garrett’s hands drifted down and lifted Randy’s leg higher, palming his ass as he kneaded the firm flesh. The electricity that jumped between them had Randy shaking.

“Garrett,” Randy gasped as Garrett found a particularly good spot, “there’s gotta be cameras in here.”
Garrett held Randy tightly for a moment, their bodies crushed together, before he released him and moved away. He mumbled under his breath about how could Randy think, much less clearly, at that moment. Randy leaned against the elevator wall, eyes closed, and tried to bring his rampaging body under control. The elevator dinged and lurched to a stop, causing Randy to stumble into Garrett.

He slid his arm around Randy to steady him and didn’t let go when the doors parted. Garrett pulled Randy toward his suite, throwing the door open. Once inside he slammed the door shut, spun Randy around, and trapped him against the back of the door. He slammed his mouth over Randy’s, picking up where he left off in the elevator until Randy was gasping for air.

“Let me be very clear,” Garrett panted into his mouth. “I want you in my bed. I want you desperate, wild, and begging.”

“I’m to the desperate phase now.” Randy trembled, trapped between him and the door. “Wild is right around the corner, and begging isn’t far behind.”

Garrett’s thumb traced over Randy’s swollen bottom lip. “That’s what I like about you, Randy, you speak your mind and don’t play games. I can’t tell you what a turn on that is for me.”

“I don’t have the first clue how to play games like you’re talking about, nor do I want to.”

“And thank God for it.” That jaded little devil on Garrett’s shoulder rolled his eyes. This guy either was very good, or very innocent. “Now, let me show you my bedroom. I can’t wait much longer to have you in my bed.”

Garrett ushered him through the living area, not giving him time to admire the softly lit main area. He opened a door to a large room that held a beautifully made bed with a sinfully black silk bedspread. The room was done in dark woods and masculine tones with paintings and photography from some extremely well-known artists. It shrieked authority, money, and power. The curtains were open, letting in the light from the city.
Garrett stepped behind Randy and turned him toward the mirrored closet. Garrett unbuttoned his shirt, parted the fabric, and placed his hands on Randy’s stomach. Taking his time, he ran his hands up Randy’s chest, dragging the pleasure out until he reached those perky nipples that begged for attention. Garrett flicked both hard peaks, making Randy arch in his arms. Then he rolled them between his thumb and forefinger as they both watched their reflection.

“So very hot,” Garrett whispered in Randy’s ear as his fingers teased the nubs until Randy moaned.
Randy reached behind him and wrapped his arm around Garrett’s neck, dragging him closer. That bulge that pressed against Randy’s ass was huge and had his imagination sitting up, tail thumping. It had been a long time since a lover affected him this way. Randy leaned his head back against Garrett’s shoulder and watched, heavy-eyed, as Garrett’s hands drifted down and undid his belt.

Find Priceless here at Dreamspinner Press:

M.A. Church
M.A. Church lives in the southern United States and spent many years in the elementary education sector. She is married to her high school sweetheart and they have two children. Her hobbies are gardening, walking, attending flea markets, watching professional football, racing, and spending time with her family on the lake.

But her most beloved hobby is reading. From an early age, she can remember hunting for books at the library. Later nonhuman and science fiction genres captured her attention and drew her into the worlds the authors had created. But always at the back of her mind was the thought that one day, when the kids were older and she had more time, she would write a book.

By sheer chance she stumbled across a gay male romance story on the web and was hooked. A new world opened up and she fell in love. Thus the journey started. When not writing or researching, she enjoys reading the latest erotic and mainstream romance novels.

Twitter @nomoretears00