24May/17

Review of Their Plane From Nowhere by Princess. S. O.

I wasn’t sure what to expect with this one. The author is a memorable presence on social media, with outspoken views and unafraid to stand up for strongly-held values, but can they actually write?

The short answer is …. hell yes! This is a massively entertaining, angsty yet tender, hot in places, story of two guys in their fifties (how refreshing…) who ain’t pretty to anyone apart from each other (their own words,) who have already found true, lasting love after a lifetime of tragedy, regrets and missed opportunities. There’s no “will they/won’t they” moments, as these guys have already found a happiness of sorts, even though their family lives and friendships are complicated to say the least, especially when the truth comes out about their relationship.

This novella is the whole package for me, an extremely professional self-published novella which shows how self-publishing should be done, from the two adorable bears on the front cover to the neat blurb telling you what you get in this story, to the crisp editing. This book packs a whole lotta punch for its weight. We have the story of widower Hank and unhappily married Earl, told in their distinctive Poconos Mountain drawl, and their love for each other whilst dealing with family bigotry, a poisonous wife and what happens when they accidentally out themselves in their small community. The answer: Not what you’d expect, including the arrival of a mysterious plane on the lake outside Hank’s home. It comes, it goes, and no-one knows why. This is the paranormal element of the story, with two normal humans trying to figure out why it is there.

I read this story honestly not knowing what to expect. Sometimes you can see the ending a mile off, with an HEA glowing in the distance. With this book, you’re never quite sure what is going to happen next. I loved the way the book was told, with a backwaters Pennsylvanian rhythm that felt completely unaffected, and the love between Hank and Earl, culminating in several tender yet scorching sex scenes. The way that Earl treated his kids, and Hank dealing with the grief of losing his was sublime. I really invested in these characters, even though the book was fairly short, and felt as if I was gaining a privileged insight into their personal lives.

Okay, possibly the denouement felt a little too neat, but that didn’t diminish my enjoyment of the book, and the mystery of the plane was heartbreaking. I’m not insulting it by saying it felt like a particularly bittersweet episode of Little House On The Prairie, only set in the 21st century, and with beefy guys having hot, honest sex as a bonus. And a neat addition is their favourite recipe for cheesy popcorn included at the back!

A great, standalone mystery romance for those who don’t necessarily want to read about pretty boys. And there are more in the Teddy Bear collection. I’ll definitely read more by this author.

BLURB

In their small town in the Pocono Mountains, Earl Knox and Hank Grisset have never been considered among the pretty ones to anyone but each other. As lucky as Hank and Earl consider themselves to have found each other, that’s about as far as luck has gone. All those Could’ah— Should’ah— Would’ah— moments a man never sees comin’, but that don’t stop him from regrettin’ them later in life.

When Earl makes a critical decision that ultimately outs him and Hank, a mysterious plane shows up at their lake house. Coming out in a small town can erase friendships in a heartbeat. But when a rift in the family leads to a life-threatening accident, only their love for each other is gonna get them through this—that, and their plane from nowhere.

 

19May/17

Edmond Manning

May 18, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Edmond Manning as the guest on Episode 112: Prepare for a Pleasure Groan!

Subtitle: Give Your Life to Trying!

This week Edmond Manning returns to talk about the latest in his Lost and Founds series King Daniel, why Professor Waffles has a window ramp, his historic WIP, attending amazing workshops, and then he and Vance hook arms and skip merrily into the gutter!

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Bio:

Edmond Manning is the author of the series, The Lost and Founds. The series includes the books: King Perry, King Mai (a Lambda Literary finalist 2014), The Butterfly King, and King John. He’s been writing fiction since his early 20’s but only seeking publication since 2012.

 

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April 8, 2016

 KingPerry high res KingMai_web King John Final IPSHDT_Front400

April 8, 2016

It gives us great pleasure to announce Edmond Manning as the guest on episode 052: Periwinkle Delight!
Join us as we discuss what it means to be Kinged, self-actuation as an HEA, what is masculinity and who gets to define it, interactive storytelling – writing in and out of the main arc timeline, and keeping it fresh as an author when writing a series.

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19May/17

Review of Sugar & Spice by Garett Groves

The spicy Garett Groves recently delighted us on our show! To hear more about Garett, listen to his interview and find links to his work, follow this link…. Episode 110:  Bad Pantser: Be A Plotter!

REVIEW

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Although part of a series (Spice of Life), it was a standalone, straightforward read, with zingy dialogue and two engaging main characters.

When I first started reading, I thought Max, the young, hot, clueless wannabe model, was a bit of a knob, to be honest (US readers, that isn’t a good thing.) He certainly didn’t endear himself to me when we were first introduced. Yes, he has the body, but he also has a self-destructive streak that I wanted to slap out of him. It was hardly surprising that Lucas, the older man who had been around the block a few times, was wary when Max made play for him in a gay bar. Encounters like that seem rarely destined to last.

But Lucas was a sweetie. I had the feeling that the author was trying for David Gandy, but I read Lucas as Henry from Cucumber. The image was thankfully shaken off when he and Max first hook up for their first pearl-clutching sexual encounter, after which, Lucas has the presence of mind to leave, rather than fall headlong into an improbable “mind-blowing sex all night” scenario.

And it is this restraint which makes the book work. Max does all the running. Lucas is the one holding back. At 45, he has doubts about his viability both as a lover and and photographer, so when Max has eyes for no-one else, he is understandably wary.

Max is also learning a sharp lesson in humility, after being fired from his job and dumped as favoured model for his photographer ex-boyfriend, but he is also wary of Lucas’s motives for wanting to hire him for his own photography purposes.

When they begin to work together, the awkwardness is almost painful, and Lucas’s attempts to make things right between Max and his former crush are excruciating, but in a good, “read it behind my fingers” way. You’re never really sure whether these two will make a successful couple. The odds seem stacked against them, for all Lucas’s wealth and Max’s worldliness, but the pay-off is worth the slow burn. (No spoilers – the author guarantees an HEA on Amazon. Also, no cheating or cliffhangers – good to know for people who hate both, like me.)

The author has paced this book very skilfully, creating an enjoyable, fun read with depth, and characters that feel real and well-rounded. And Lance, Max’s frenemy, is hilarious. I spent most of the book not trusting him, expecting him to stab Max in the back. Will he? Won’t he? Read it and find out.

BLURB

 After getting rejected by the only guy that he’s ever allowed himself to feel something more than lust for, Max Williams has convinced himself that the bachelor’s life is the only way for him to live. At 28, Max has everything he needs for it: a smoking body, just enough money to keep the drinks coming, and an endless supply of guys that are more than happy to keep his bed warm at night. Still, he can’t shake the feeling that something is missing.
When he loses his day job thanks to his partying and the modeling career he’d been trying to build collapses, Max isn’t sure of so sure of himself anymore, but there’s one thing he knows without a doubt: something’s got to give.

Lucas White has a reputation of his own–and he’s tired of it. The security provided by his cushy job as editor-in-chief of a legendary local photography magazine has kept him stagnant for too long both professionally and personally. He never dreamed he’d be able to retire by the age of 45 and start his own passion project, but that’s exactly where he’s found himself and it hasn’t been an easy transition.

While celebrating his last day at the office, Lucas and Max get up close and personal at a new bar and Lucas’s entire world turns into a photo negative. Max is the perfect model that he’s been looking for to bring fresh eyes to his new venture, but he looks so much like someone who once broke his heart–and Lucas isn’t sure that he can look at Max’s beautiful body every day for work without continuing to touch it.

Against his better judgment, Lucas hires Max. As they start working together, the line between employer and employee quickly blurs, and not even the pact they made to remain strictly professional seems to keep things in focus. Though they know better, neither man can resist their desire for something more–but Max is afraid of commitment, and Lucas can’t stomach the idea of being taken advantage of by another pretty face.

Will their differences bring them down, or will they come together like sugar and spice?

11May/17

R. Phoenix

May 12, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Raissa Phoenix as the guest on Episode 111: Little Author Lemming!

This week Raissa Phoenix joins us to talk about the re-releases of her supernatural series Fate of the Fallen, her novel Too Close and the importance of education regarding domestic violence.

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Bio:

R. Phoenix (code name: Raissa) has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, humor and pain, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes love can corrupt, power can redeem and that the best of intentions can cast shadows while the worst can create light. She agrees with those who say that the truth is best told through fiction — even though fiction has to make sense while reality can be utterly baffling.

Her dark paranormal books explore a world where humanity has become prey, subjugated by “supes” — vampires, werewolves, and witches — who have seized control. They range from romance to dark erotica to horror and everything in between, exploring different aspects of the Fate of the Fallen universe. She’s even published something she calls “playful dark erotica.”

Her tendency to explore dark topics isn’t limited to a supernatural world. Her contemporary romance, Too Close, deals with the difficult topic of domestic violence. She is passionate about the need for greater awareness and understanding of an issue that’s often misunderstood.

She loves chatting with readers, though she often awkwardly rambles. No matter how much she tries to keep her bad and often perverted sense of humor in check, it seems to escape at the most inconvenient moments. (Thanks, universe.) Feel free to friend Raissa on Facebook and chat or send her an email!

 

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09May/17

Review of The Truth About Goodbye by Russell Ricard

The charming Russell Ricard was recently a guest on our show! To listen to his episode, get links and find out more about his work, click on Episode 109: Russell Ricard – Just Keep Showing Up! After you’ve read this review, of course….

REVIEW

The Truth About Goodbye is the self-assured debut novel from Russell Ricard, handling a tough subject with humour and grace. How does one move on from the grief of losing one’s husband? Of course, everyone is different, but it is Sebastian’s story which is told here. On the face of it, an ageing chorus boy, is dealing with two significant life events. The one year anniversary of the death of his husband, and turning 40 in the midst of an unforgiving and cruel environment; the New York show scene.

Sebastian’s well-meaning friend, Chloe, tries to make him feel better by setting him up with a date, failing miserably as Sebastian is still trying to accept and move on from his husband’s death. (Not surprisingly. A year is not that long when it comes to the loss of a true love.) Sebastian has tried a variety of distractions, including throwing himself into his choreographing work, with limited success. In the end, he has to face his grief alone, with all the requisite elements it throws at him. Anger, both at himself and his husband for leaving him, guilt at what was said or not said on the night he died, and fright at the thought of losing what they had forever, and erasing it with someone new. Through techniques taught by his lifestyle guru and grief counsellor, Sebastian gradually learns to accept his aloneness, and not be afraid of it. It is this journey of acceptance and dealing with loss, on which the novel is founded.

A very self-assured book, yet not an over-confident one.

Sebastian has lost a lot, as we discover through the book. Abandoned at birth, then losing his eccentric but much-loved adoptive parents, followed by the death of his husband, it seems inevitable that Sebastian expects to lose everything he loves. As he gradually learns to accept that loss, and realises that life is for living, not waiting to die, we see him blossom from a fragile, vulnerable man to one who regains his confidence and vitality. The emotional way he finally looks back on the night his husband dies, and eventually accepts it, is accomplished. Like I said at the beginning, this is a very self-assured book, yet not an over-confident one.

I didn’t get the strong feeling this was a “New York” novel, or even one set in the show business arena. There are elements of dance, as Sebastian is shown tutoring a group who are already stealing his thunder as younger, fitter versions of himself, but the main story is about how he deals with a painful event in a life that has been defined by loss. The author has a talent for letting the reader into the lives of his characters from the beginning. Sebastian is flawed but you feel his pain, as he doubts his own sanity and viability as a man alone. Middle-aged wild child, Chloe, is frustrating but ultimately endearing. Greg, Sabastian’s nemesis and rival, could easily be a caricature but somehow manages not to be. And Reid, Sebastian’s potential love interest, is cute as a button and kind with it, but is it too soon for Sebastian to find love?

Due to the central premise of the book, there is a fair amount of navel-gazing, but Sebastian’s friends provide light relief, notably ex-Rockette Chloe. The dialogue between them felt real and convincing. Sebastian comes across as fragile, needy, a little bit tetchy, but ultimately I liked him and wished him well. You get to know about his family, why he is the way he is. It’s a balanced story that pulls you with it, like a seemingly calm river hiding rip currents beneath the surface. I found it to be that rare thing, a fairly light read that leaves an echo long after it has been completed.

BLURB

Sebastian Hart has dealt with a lifetime of goodbyes. And now, a year after his husband Frank’s death, the forty-year-old Broadway chorus boy still blames himself. After all, Sebastian started the argument that night over one of Frank’s former date items, someone younger than Sebastian who still wanted Frank.

Challenged by his best friend, the quirky ex-Rockettes dancer Chloe, Sebastian struggles toward his dream of becoming a choreographer and grapples with romantic feelings for Reid, a new student in his tap class.

Ultimately, Sebastian begins to wonder whether it’s his imagination, or not, that Frank’s ghost is here, warning him that he daren’t move on with another love. He questions the truth: Is death really the final goodbye?

28Apr/17

Russell Ricard

April 28, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Russell Ricard as the guest on episode 109: Just Keep Showing Up!

This week Russell Ricard joins us to talk about his new novel The Truth About Goodbye, moving from early script, to novel, and onward to screenplay, and the inspiration for the work.

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Bio:

Louisiana Creole, Russell was born in Baton Rouge. At eight years old, he moved to Los Angeles, California. And since 1988, he’s called New York City home.

For over three decades, he worked as an actor, singer, and dancer in regional, national tours, and international productions, including appearing on Broadway. He has a BA in Psychology from CUNY/Queens College, and earned his MFA in Creative Writing from The New School.

He’s intrigued with the psychosocial aspects of otherness: the quality or fact of being different. Therefore, his writing often includes themes of growing up; aging; family dynamics; and also romantic couplings, including how character’s race, sexual orientation, and gender inform interpersonal relationships.

His writing has appeared and/or is forthcoming on thewritelife.com, mrbellersneighborhood.com, and in Newtown Literary. His novel, The Truth About Goodbye, is available from all major book outlets.

He currently lives in Forest Hills, NY with his husband, cat, and a lovingly supportive stand up desk named Ruth.

 

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21Apr/17

Kevin Klehr

April 21, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to welcome back Kevin Klehr as the guest on episode 108: Always Come with Cake!

This week Kevin Klehr returns to talk about his new novel From Top to Bottom, his foray into erotica, his new publisher Nine Star Press, and then Kevin drops tips for writers.

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Bio:

Kevin lives with his long-term partner, Warren, in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia’s own ‘Emerald City,’ Sydney.

From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn’t pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, his partner, Warren, snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn’t long before Kevin’s active imagination was let loose again.

 

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February 12, 2016

 NatTheNewYorker_cvr_100dpi-210x330DramaQueensLoveScenes_100dpi_cvr-210x330DramaQueensAdultThemes_100dpi_cvr-210x330 It gives us great pleasure to announce Kevin Klehr as the guest on Episode 043: Life is a Cabaret.
Join us as we talk with Kevin about trusting your editor, contracts and how to read them, what equality and mainstream mean to a queer author, turning a trope on its head and the international Con experience.
You can find Kevin’s novels here:

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17Apr/17

Review of Sacred Band by Joseph D. Carriker Jr.

I have been gifted an Advanced Reading Copy of Sacred Band in exchange for an honest review. Sacred Band is to be published by Lethe Press in April 2017.

The author is an experienced gamer, which definitely comes through in the book. There’s quite a lot to take in. For starters, at least four of the main characters had two different names. For a non-gamer, this has the potential for confusion, but for any hardened D&D, ComicCon or Marvel fans, this is familiar territory.

Once I had figured out who was who, and had learned their superhero names, it was much easier. And it made total sense. After all, when your superpower is being able to create lethal metal ballbearings and use them as bullets, then “Rusty” probably isn’t the first name you’d choose.

The author has brought the “supers trying to save the world’ theme bang up-to-date, starting with the disappearance of one of Rusty’s gay friends from the internet. Rusty suspects he has been kidnapped, along with others. There were obvious nods to the horrific problems LGBT people are suffering in Russia and other closeted countries, and he soon realises that the problem is far deeper, and far more world-threatening than he could have imagined. It’s a problem that needs extraordinary people to tackle it, and the government just aren’t up-to-scratch. He then has to pull together a super-team, and deal with all the issues those characters bring to the table. There are politics at play, some with familiar overtones, and complex diplomatic delicacies worthy of The West Wing. It gives the superhero genre a grown-up, satirical edge that makes it stand out.

Chock-full of superhero shenanigans

As I said before, I’m a non-gamer, so I thought that at times, all the mini-conflicts got in the way of central story. I had to pick through them to find the core of the book. Sometimes, it read a little busy and IMO the editing could have been tightened up in places, yet I liked the characters immensely, my favourite being Deosil (I just want that girl in my life right now!) I did get the sense that they were family, rather than friends, and Sentinel, the super who was exiled after the scandal that outed him, was more of a father figure than a love interest for Rusty. The sexual tension between them wasn’t convincing at first, but I kind of got it as the story went on. Personally, I would have matched Sentinel and Optic, but there you go.

I felt that the author was far more comfortable when choreographing the fight scenes, as they were fantastically drawn, and the political power play, than with the personal relationships, which seemed awkward in places. Despite that, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and it grew on me as it went on. At a generous 400 or so pages, Sacred Band is chock-full of superhero shenanigans to delight the most hardened of fantasy readers.

BLURB

The golden age of heroes is decades past. The government could not condone vigilantism and now metahumans are just citizens, albeit citizens with incredible talent, who are assisted in achieving normal lives (including finding good fits for their talents employment-wise) by a federal agency.

Rusty may have been a kid during that glorious age but he remembers his idol, Sentinel, saving lives and righting wrongs — until he was outed in an incredible scandal that forced him into isolation. When a gay friend of Rusty living in the Czech Republic goes missing, Rusty is forced to acknowledge that while the world’s governments claim that super teams are outdated and replaced by legal law enforcement, there are simply some places where the law doesn’t protect everyone — so he manages to find and recruit Sentinel to help him find his friend. But the disappearance of the friend is merely one move in a terrible plot against queer youth. A team of supers may be old-fashioned, but this may be a battle requiring some incredible reinforcements.

14Apr/17

Joseph Carriker

April 14, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce Joseph Carriker as the guest on episode 107: Indignation Junkie!

This week Joseph Carriker joins us to talk about gayming, queer visibility in gayming and at gaming conventions, and his new novel Sacred Band.

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Bio:

Joseph Carriker is the developer for Green Ronin’s A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying, as well as the adjunct Chronicle System line of game supplements.

He has been writing in the gaming industry for sixteen years now, and has worked on a variety of game lines over those years, including most of White Wolf/Onyx Path’s World of Darkness, Exalted and Scion lines, Wizards of the Coast’s Dungeons & Dragons Third Edition line, and Green Ronin’s Blue Rose and Mutants & Masterminds in addition to his work on A Song of Ice and Fire Roleplaying.

He is an outspoken queer gamer, having helped organize and take part in the annual Queer as a Three-Sided Die panels at GenCon. He has also just published his first novel, Sacred Band. Joseph lives in Portland, Oregon with his partner A.J., and likes to believe he does his part in Keeping Portland Weird.

 

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07Apr/17

David Pratt

April 7, 2017


It gives us great pleasure to announce David Pratt as the guest on episode 106: I’ll Answer Anything!

This week David Pratt joins us to talk about his new YA novel, gay and straight relationships in the same narrative, and writing an intergenerational relationship.

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Bio:

David Pratt is the author of three novels, “Wallaçonia” (Beautiful Dreamer Press), “Looking After Joey” (Wilde City) and the Lambda Literary Award-winning “Bob the Book” (Chelsea Station). David’s story collection, “My Movie,” (Chelsea Station) includes both new work and short fiction published in Christopher Street, The James White Review, Velvet Mafia, Lodestar Quarterly and other periodicals. Recent anthology publications include Louis Flint Ceci’s “Not Just Another Pretty Face,” Paul Alan Fahey’s “The Other Man,” and Jameson Currier’s “With.”

David has directed and performed his work for the theater in New York City at the Cornelia Street Cafe, Dixon Place, HERE Arts Center, the Flea and the New York International Fringe Festival. His collaborations with Rogerio M. Pinto include “Os Tres Porquinhos,” “Chapeuzinho Vermelho,” and “Branca de Neve,” Brazilian Portuguese versions of, respectively, “The Three Little Pigs,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and “Snow White.” In the 1980s, David was the first director of plays by the Canadian playwright John Mighton.

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