13Sep/16

Lysistrata Cove by Dena Hankins

lysistrata-coveIn January 2016, we caught up with Dena Hankins as she sailed into port, and talked about her sensual books and motivations for writing. Listen to her wonderful episode, 040: Navigating Gender Waters, to find out more about Dena and get links to her work.

REVIEW

Transmasculine Jack Azevedo runs charter trips on his sailing boat around the Caribbean. His peaceful existence is disturbed after he finds an uncharted island with a beautiful sandy cove. It seems to be too good to be true, and ultimately is, as the cove is jealously guarded by a sultry, fiery inhabitant, Eve la Sirena.

Eve is in hiding from the world. A former diva and singing superstar, she is in the midst of plans to restore creative freedom to her fellow musician. But what she is doing is illegal, and if found out, could see her being sent to jail and her work lost. Jack’s arrival on the island puts all her efforts in jeopardy, but her initial hostility turns to intrigue, as Jack cautiously gets under her skin.

This is a beautiful, complicated love story, with rip-roaring sex and lashings of sparky dialogue. As with Dena’s other work, The Heart Of The Lilikoi, her writing is vivid, effortlessly luring the reader into whichever location she is describing. Jack is a pirate at heart, a sexual explorer and BDSM bottom who isn’t afraid to push his sensual boundaries. When he sees Eve for the first time, he instantly knows who she is. He has had her music in his heart for years. Yet whilst he is smitten and cannot keep away, Eve does not want him anywhere near her.

The project she is working on is illegal, yet driven by the suicide of a former lover who saw all his work destroyed by a legal battle. She wants musicians to get the credit they deserve, and has set up a complicated control room of technical capabilities to enable that to happen. If anyone gets wind of what she is doing, her work will be destroyed.

It’s a complicated scenario. Eve has a live-in lover, Harmonie, who keeps her on the straight and narrow. Harmonie is a slightly sinister figure, and I was never sure of her motives. Their relationship is on the wane, but the way it was done was very clever. I cannot say more without adding spoilers.

Dena Hankins injects excitement in what could have been a lush, sleepy tale of sun and sex. Her experience as a sailor is obvious in Jack, the maverick hero, and he is supported by a raft of strong characters, including Marie, his right-hand woman, who I suspected was in love with him.

And the sex, sometimes brutal, always honest. The most sensual scene had no sex at all, just eating. It wasn’t very long, but enough that it was obvious these two people would be sharing more than coconut juice in the very near future.

Just a couple of niggles; the club scene seemed a little out of place. It was necessary to establish Jack’s status as a BDSM bottom, and Eve’s force of character as a top, but for me it didn’t quite fit in with the rest of the story. That being said, it was brilliantly written and very sexy. And the Eve/Evrim thing might confuse some people. I did have to read through a couple of times to figure out why the change of name was relevant. It is, but it might be missed by some.

Maybe towards the end, the story felt a little rushed. A lot happened at once, after most of the story was spent concentrating on building of the relationship and the dynamic between Jack and Eve. (Love that a waterspout was included in the storm scene, and that it didn’t end as I expected it to.) The suspense could have been drawn out even more than it was. Again, I can’t say any more without revealing spoilers. There are a few romance tropes, but Dena has cleverly couched them in her own unique style. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I wanted the book to continue for longer than it did. And that has to be the sign of a great, satisfying read.

Finally, kudos for writing a book set in the Carribbean that doesn’t mention the green flash….

09Sep/16

Ryan Amador

September 9, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce Ryan Amador as the guest on episode 074: Empowering the Individual!

This week singer, songwriter, theater-maker Ryan Amador joins us to talk about letting the truth of the individual unfold through the writing of music and song.

Follow and support Ryan’s music:

Bio:

Ryan Amador is a singer, songwriter, and theater-maker from Los Angeles. Ryan has released two full length albums: the self-titled “Ryan Amador” (2013) & (In)Body’s “Becoming” (2016), and three EP’s: “Symptoms of a Wide Eyed Being” (2011), “Palos Verdes: A Teenage Retrospective” (2012), and “4S” (2014).

His music video “Define Me” garnered over 470,000 views on YouTube and led to live performances at Pride Events in New York, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, and Brisbane, Australia. Following the release of his video “Spectrum”, Ryan was honored to give a TEDx Talk in Santa Cruz, CA on the topic of diversified sexuality. In April 2016, Mather Dance Company in California used Ryan’s song “Instead” in a competitive dance competition which was then featured by DancingWithYT on Youtube.

His latest project (In)Body is a collaboration with LA-based producer/instrumentalist Daniel Weidlein. Their song “Safe In Your Heart” earned Ryan the 2013 ASCAP Robert Allen Award for Songwriting.

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02Sep/16

Caleb James

September 2, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce Caleb James as the guest on episode 073: I Left My Head at the Copy Shop!

Caleb talks about his latest release, Dark Blood, and how he balances real life and writing life. He also shares some good insight on crossing genres and looking to life for writing inspiration.

You can buy Caleb’s work here:

Connect with Caleb on your favorite social site:

Bio:

Caleb James is a board-certified psychiatrist, clinical trainer, and author of both fiction and non-fiction, both under his pen name and real name. He lectures, and provides training and workshops, on topics related to mental health and the writing life.

 

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26Aug/16

Jeff Rivera

August 26, 2016

Sugar DaddyIt gives us great pleasure to announce Jeff Rivera as the guest on episode 072: Connect from the Heart!

This week joins us to talk about Jeff’s I Got You series and how he came to focus on writing the novella. He also drops some tips for speed-writing, and wisdom about writing from the heart instead of the academic’s chair. Finally, he gives some great insight on how to make Kindle Unlimited work for you!

You can buy Jeff’s work here:

Connect with Jeff on your favorite social site:

Bio:

Jeff Rivera is an author and inspirational media personality. He has appeared on national television, radio and print in such outlets as Forbes.com, The Boston Globe, Publishers Weekly, Right On! Magazine, Rotarian Magazine, TMZ, WABC, WNBC, WCBS, SITV, American Latino and NPR.

He also writes or has written for Entertainment Weekly, Mediabistro, GalleyCat, Publishing Perspectives, Digital Book World, Examiner, American Chronicle, School Library Journal and the Huffington Post and has been invited to speak and inspire groups all over the world from South Carolina to Nigeria. He has been on panel discussions for The Library Journal, Authors Guild, the Harlem Book Fair and many others.

He is known to have broken the news that Seth Godin was ditching traditional publishing which lead to mentions on hundreds of blogs and media outlets including The LA Times, Fast Company, and New York Observer. His news break that Jackie Collins would be self-publishing the US-version of her eBook lead to mentions in The Bookseller, The Guardian, USA Today and hundreds of other outlets.

His humble beginnings of living in American poverty on welfare and food stamps as the child of a single mother, to his days living in his car and final rise to becoming a published author, journalist and media personality have inspired many.

Rivera created a massive online following before the eBook revolution even existed. He was able to land an agent and a book deal with Warner Books (now known as Grand Central Publishing) within 7 days. He has used the knowledge he gained from this experience to help coach his clients on social media campaigns and has helped over 100 clients take the first step in landing an agent too.

 

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19Aug/16

The Biggest Lover (Big-Boned Mens’ Erotica) edited by R. Jackson

TheBiggestLover

It was a privilege to talk to Ron Suresha earlier this year. To hear our frank conversation with him and find out more about his work, listen to Episode 045 – The Deliciousness

REVIEW

A confession: I had this book on my Kindle for a while before I gathered up the balls to read it. Why? Because I knew it wasn’t aimed at middle-class English ladies, and quite frankly, I was a bit nervous. Not sure what to expect. I didn’t want any previously undiscovered, deeply-buried prejudices to mar my enjoyment of the book. Thank goodness I found out two things. I don’t have deeply-buried prejudices concerning larger than life people, and this book is a glorious celebration of a culture I knew nothing about, and which I now have a great respect for.

This is a  wonderful, quality anthology by several authors, packed full of erotic, tender, funny stories, thoughtfully and skilfully chosen by R. Jackson. A couple are downright disturbing, involving food and eating (though I’m not the target readership, so maybe they are not.) It would be hard to pick a favourite. It is a big, meaty read on all levels. The reader is not pandered to, but embraced and welcomed into a great big bear hug. “This is our world. Welcome, friend, but do not judge.”

People come in all shapes and sizes, but the fact that Chubs, Chasers and Bears are marginalised by literature, as well as overall society, gives this anthology an edge.  It is rare to have a collection that is so evenly paced in quality, but it is clear each story has been carefully chosen to give sub-genres of the Bear community a voice. I’m glad that I was able to read it, because it gave me a privileged glimpse into a private world of men who feel left on the side-lines because of their size. In these stories, the overall feeling is acceptance and love for who they are, rather than being obliged to squeeze into the roles that society feels able to cope with.

These stories celebrate big men, and show that their size doesn’t have to be a barrier to having the same needs and aspirations as anyone of a “normal” size. One of the cancers of our society is to judge others simply for the way they look, whether they are too slim or of size, ugly or beautiful, forgetting that people have souls. To not appreciate people for who they are is to rob oneself.

So this book is a celebration, a humorous, beautiful, melancholy and ultimately uplifting collection from some fine authors, including Suresha himself. If I had to choose a standout, it would be …. no, I can’t choose. This is a book to be enjoyed by anyone who enjoys buying in bulk. Anyone who reads it will get something out of it. A beautiful and inspirational read.

And did I say the sex was hot too….?

19Aug/16

Prisoner 374215 by Angel Martinez

PRISONER

Angel Martinez is one busy bunny, being being a chief collaborator with Mischief Corner Books, a prolific writer of sci-fi novels and having time to visit us on more than one occasion! Find out more about Angel and her work on her latest episode with us. Episode 069 – Now With Bonus Content!

REVIEW

What an unusual gem of a book this is. Set in a bleak future, it is the story of an unnamed prisoner, kept in solitary confinement and treated with nothing but contempt. His only companion is a prison guard he has called Scar, but this man barely speaks. Sometimes he offers a tiny bit of comfort, but the prisoner thinks he is imagining it. He dare not hope otherwise.

As we gradually discover who the the prisoner is and why he is being treated so badly, a chink in the granite armour of Scar seems to be widening. This story is so beautifully told, not flinching away from the brutality of the situation, but crafting a gradual relationship forming between prisoner and guard. I did not dare to hope that this story would end well. I was not disappointed with the ending. It is well worth checking this story out. Amidst the grey cells and hideous cruelty, hope dares to flourish. I cannot say more without ruining the surprise.

A very rewarding and cleverly told tale.

12Aug/16

Queer Consumers/Creators Roundtable

August 19, 2016

Part two of the roundtable – this time focusing on creating queer content as members of the GLBT community. Join us as I lead Matthew Cheney, Dena Hankins, and SA Collins into a discussion about the state of queer works available, the importance of seeking diversity in what we create, and what we as content creators can do to support the works that are about our rainbow community!

August 12, 2016

This week we’re bringing you a panel of queer authors to discuss consuming stories that feature a full rainbow of characters.  Join us as I lead Matthew Cheney, Dena Hankins, and SA Collins into a discussion about the state of queer works available, the importance of seeking diversity in what we buy and read, and what we as consumers can do to support the works that are about our rainbow community!

Matthew Cheney: Buy his work and connect:

Dena Hankins: Buy her work and connect:

SA “Baz” Collins: Buy his work and connect:

Bios:

You can read about the panelists and review their bios on their episode pages:

Matthew CheneyDena HankinsSA “Baz” Collins

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29Jul/16

Matthew Bright

July 29, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce Matthew Bright as the guest on episode 068: Get Together and Put Things In Certain Places!

Join us as we discuss his artistic journey as a writer, editor, and cover-design monkey (totally his words). We go into his triple-threat career, why erotica is as much an artform as other literature, and how Publisher’s Weekly’s review of Threesome caught him off guard!

You can buy Matthew’s work here:

Connect with Matthew on your favorite social site:

Bio:

Matthew Bright is a writer, editor and designer who is uncomfortable writing in the third person, but soldiers on regardless. His short fiction has appeared in a number of venues, including Nightmare’s Queers Destroy Fiction, and he is the co-author of Between The Lines, an experimental novella, with Christopher Black. He is also the editor of several anthologies, including The Myriad Carnival, Threesome: Him, Him and Me and forthcoming titles Gents and Clockwork Cairo. With the release of Threesome, Publishers Weekly declared him ‘unambigiously…an editor to watch’, which is a quote he’s inclined to have printed on business cards and hand out to complete strangers on the street. By day, he pays the bills as a book cover designer in Manchester, England, where he lives with his partner and a dog who likes to eat valuable hardbacks.

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27Jul/16

A More Perfect Union (Anthology – various)

a-more-perfect-unionWe were fortunate enough to have all four authors of A More Perfect Union on the show! Listen to their interview and get links to their work on Episode 062 – Celebrating Perfect Unions

REVIEW

A delicious quartet of stories to celebrate the first anniversary of marriage equality. Poignant, tense and at times horrific, some are based on personal experience. It’s humbling to read these tales of ordinary people who just want to get married, to have legality as well as equality. It isn’t about swans and over-the-top nuptials, just the simple fact of being acknowledged and recognised as a legal married couple. That right has been denied for so long, and to hear the things that some couples have been through is shocking, though sadly all too true.

Flames – J Scott Coatsworth

What happens when your partner is involved in a terrible accident and taken to hospital in a coma, but because you are not legally “next of kin” his family are entitled to keep you from seeing him? Alex has made a terrible mistake and is desperate to be by Gio’s side and talk him out of his coma, but Gio’s mother has other ideas. Alex has always resisted the idea of marriage, thinking it’s an unnecessary formality, but now he will do anything to make sure Gio knows he really is committed to him. If he ever wakes up. A romantic tale from a terrific author who knows how to tug at the heartstrings.

Jeordi and Tom – Michael Murphy

Jeordi is also involved in an accident, and has bigoted parents who disagree with his relationship with Tom. Despite all the odds, they run away to get married in another state, only to be thwarted by a Kim Davis-like figure who won’t do her job on account of her “beliefs.” Then their luck changes, and the gay community rally round in the best way possible. A sweet, romantic tale with an undertone of despair from another accomplished author.

Destined – Jamie Fessenden

Jay and Wallace are destined to be together, but somehow, keep missing each other. When they finally do get together, it isn’t all sparkles and cupcakes. They have obstacles to overcome and have to stay strong. Their love is the tie that binds them, but this story illustrates that HEA’s do not come easily if you’re not straight. I love Jamie Fessenden’s writing, and his warmth for these characters shines through.

Someday – B G Thomas

A massive story, crammed into a shorter one. It all starts with a shoelace, and turns into a love affair that at first seems unrequited. Lucas is the boy determined to marry Dalton, from their first day at kindergarten. In less skilled hands, this might have seemed stalkerish, but it doesn’t. It works, from teenage antics to deep lasting love, Thomas has created a grand love affair between characters that deserve more than just a short story.

So in effect, all four of these tales touch on the problems that gay couples have come up again and again, even since the marriage equality bill was passed. There is a lot of work still to do, yet they are ultimately uplifting, all very different, and massively enjoyable to read. I learned a lot, but also, could not put this book down. The writing is exemplary in all cases, so it’s impossible to pick a favourite. Love against the odds, the importance of honesty in relationships, the need to be strong in order to fight for the things that others take for granted. Every Bridezilla should read this, and be bloody grateful she has never had these kind of issues to deal with.

 

27Jul/16

Glen & Tyler’s Honeymoon Adventure by JB Sanders

glenIt was great to have JB Sanders on our show recently. Listen to our interview with him and get links to his work on Episode 053: Glen & Tyler’s Unexpectedly Quiet Life!

REVIEW

Lots of things going on in this funtabulous fantasy. Glen and Tyler are bisexual loved-up newly-weds, the twist being that Tyler asked Glen to marry him as a business arrangement (he is only able to access his trust fund if he’s married) and it is only on their wedding day that they realise their friendship has been cunningly disguised as love all along. They even buy each other hockey teams as wedding gifts!

So far, so sweet, apart from Tyler’s ghastly family, his corporate mogul father, a beautiful but evil stepmother, a cunning bastard of a grandfather, able to screw things up from beyond the grave, and a brother that tries to seduce all of Tyler’s love interests purely for his little brother’s own well-being. Society eyebrows are raised as Tyler’s marriage to another man was not was expected or hoped for. They constantly come up against homophobia and scepticism that they are in love and their relationship is not just a marriage of convenience. And the serious point is made that they are constantly having to “come out” to people they meet for the first time. There isn’t just one “coming out” if you’re gay, it’s a process that goes on throughout life.

Meanwhile, cunning plans are put in place to separate the two cute lovebirds, and Tyler from his vast quantities of cash. There are moustache-twirling villains, (Tyler’s father and his evil, glamorous trophy wife, who doesn’t have a moustache…,) several nefarious plots to kill and kidnap, corporate intrigue, and some grumpy but very capable security guys, as well as lashings of gorgeous settings and gadgets to satisfy your inner James Bond. The hockey theme runs through out the book, but it is mainly the corporate intrigue, ruthless businessmen, nice suits and eye-watering amounts of cash being spent that I enjoyed so much.

Like I said, it’s a fantasy, a fairytale (excuse the pun), where the main heroes are gay men, married, in love and actually stay that way throughout the book without one of them dying tragically! Their affection for each other is the steel core that runs through the story, however fantastical the plot twists become. Glen is the voice of reason and calm, Tyler is the overly-generous, overly-trusting (at first) stupidly rich man who just wants to spread love around the world. Inevitably, there are people who want to stop him. There were times when I wanted to shake him and say “stop telling people how wealthy you are! They’re going to use you!” And some do, but Glen’s sensible presence strikes a note of reality.

Finally, no sex scenes but quite frankly, the book didn’t need it. There was more than enough going on without breaking off the action for a bit of rumpy pumpy (although they do have sex A LOT off camera, as it were.) And I believe that on Mr. Sander’s website, there are short stories with Glen and Tyler going at it, if you’re interested.

This book is the first in a series, and a very fun series it looks, with the newly-weds getting in all kinds of scrapes. I like Glen and Tyler. This isn’t a book for the cynical, but huge fun for anyone with a sense of fantasy, with oodles of intrigue thrown in.