Saturday, 19 September 2020

Taking Stock by A L Lester

 Thank you so much for having me today to tell you a little bit about Taking Stock!



It's 1972. 

Fifteen years ago, teenage Laurie Henshaw came to live at Webber’s Farm with his elderly uncle and settled in to the farming life. Now, age thirty-two, he has a stroke in the middle of working on the farm. As he recovers, he has to come to terms with the fact that some of his new limitations are permanent and he’s never going to be as active as he used to be. Will he be able to accept the helping hands his friends extend to him? 

With twenty successful years in the City behind him, Phil McManus is hiding in the country after his boyfriend set him up to take the fall for an insider trading deal at his London stockbroking firm. There’s not enough evidence to prosecute anyone, but not enough to clear him either. He can’t bear the idea of continuing his old stagnating life in the city, or going back to his job now everyone knows he’s gay. 

Thrown together in a small country village, can Phil and Laurie forge a new life that suits the two of them and the makeshift family that gathers round them? Or are they too tied up in their own shortcomings to recognise what they have? 


Taking Stock is a 40,000 word gay romance set mostly in rural England. It’s set on Webber’s Farm, which I first wrote about in Inheritance of Shadows. Inheritance is set in 1919 and is part of my spooky paranormal universe. I based the farm on somewhere I used to know as a child on the Quantock Hills in Somerset and didn’t want to leave after Inheritance. Taking Stock is the result. Although it’s set in the same universe as my other books and some of the same background characters are there, there’s nothing paranormal or suspenseful. 

Instead it’s a gentle story about two people who are hurt and angry and tired, who find their way toward each other and help each other heal.

Initially Laurie was going to have a similar chronic condition to me…I have fibromyalgia and seizures…but then just before I actually sat down to get the words out of my head and on to the page, my Mama had a very severe stroke. She is in her eighties and has been more or less working her seven acre smallholding singlehandedly for years. Her frustration and anger at her situation translated directly into Laurie as I was writing. So he’s a combination of both my own feelings about my lack of agency through my disability, and hers.

It was a very emotive story for me to write and I hope you enjoy it.

Length:  40,000 words

Publisher:  JMS Books LLC

Release Date:  Sept 19th 2020


You can buy/preorder Taking Stock here: https://allester.co.uk/takingstock/

About A. L. Lester 

Writer of queer, paranormal, historical, romantic suspense. Lives in the South West of England with Mr AL, two children, a badly behaved dachshund, a terrifying cat and some hens. Likes gardening but doesn't really have time or energy. Not musical. Doesn't much like telly. Non-binary. Chronically disabled. Has tedious fits.

You can stalk me on all sorts of different internet platforms here: https://lnk.bio/gjD5


Monday, 29 June 2020

Some Of My Favoutire Books - m/m

I have so many favourites that I didn't know how to approach this one. In the end, I decided to choose books whose characters have stayed with me over time. There won't, therefore, be many, if any, new releases. This also allows for the fact that I have an appalling memory and if I didn't choose books that have endured in my mind. I still won't get to all of them because I'll remember more later, then more tomorrow etc. If I overthink this I will never start so just let's get on. I am sorry to have left so wonderful books out but I would be here forever, and no one would get to the end of the post.

HAINTED

By Jordan Hawk



A retired ghost hunter. A man seeking redemption. Can they stop an ancient evil from destroying the world?

Dan Miller once hunted the zombie-like revenants known as haints. He protected the living and quieted the dead. After his parents’ death, Dan gave up his own dreams to raise his young siblings. But when a necromancer’s dark magic leads to murder, Dan must once again take on the mantle of protector and put his life on the line

Leif Helsvin needs Dan’s help to hunt down the necromancer. But the desire to solve the murder and find justice isn’t the only emotion at play between Leif and Dan. As the two men grow closer, the passion between them threatens to ignite into a fire neither of them can control. Will Dan give into his desire for Leif, or will the necromancer’s evil destroy their love before it can even begin?

Hainted is an m/m paranormal romance novel. If you like suspense, romance, and a bit of magic, you’ll love Jordan L. Hawk’s supernatural adventure.

Buy today to experience this haunting story of romance and redemption!

On almost the same footing are Jordan's fantasy series



ALEX, (AS WELL AS THE OTHER TWO IN THE TRILOGY - THE SHED, THR BASEMENT)

By Dianne Hartsock

 

Alex is twenty and confused. He always is. Severely abused as a child, he's left with scars on his body and even worse scars within his mind. But from this pain he receives his gift of empathy, his ability to see and react to the strong emotions of others. When a serial killer moves into the area and begins to threaten those around him, Alex is compelled by his visions to rescue them. When he can, he helps the police, yet some detectives suspect he's the cause of the problem, not the solution.

As Alex comes closer to uncovering the killer's identity, his visions turn to nightmares. He hears the cries of the children, the screams of the tortured. Will the support and love of his friends be enough to get Alex through this summer of terror, or will he lose himself in his dreams and become yet another victim to the killer's gruesome games?

THE HIDDEN GEM SERIES AND THE HAVEN INVESTIGATIONS SERIES

By Lissa Kasey

I truly can't choose between these two series which couldn't be more different.

Hidden Gem is pure fantasy while Haven Investigations is entirely contemporary. They have many things in common though - fragile, broken men who are stronger than they look, mystery surrounding the character's origins, strong partner, cross dressing, mystery and mayhem

I read the Hidden Gem series first so I'll put it first here.



Hidden Gem: The sparkling jewel of the Hidden Gem, City M’s most renowned brothel, Misaki “Aki” Ito is living the good life. He’s not subjected to torture for his psi abilities, he has a roof over his head, food to eat, and all the sparkly shoes he could dream about. He also has one particular regular he can’t get enough of, Shane McNaughton, even if Shane occasionally asks for Aki’s help on a case.

Shane is a cop specializing in missing persons. He’s good at finding people, not just because of his years as a seasoned detective, but because he survived the Third World War and resulting plague with a few supernatural abilities himself. Mutated by the virus that wiped out two-thirds of the world’s population, Shane no longer considers himself human. Which is why he limits his visits to a very breakable psi companion when not working a case, no matter how much he might want Aki.


When a high ranking official’s daughter goes missing and feared dead, Shane has no choice but to ask Aki to use his abilities to help him track down the kidnapper. The case opens a door to a past Aki thought he had escaped. Will Shane’s love be enough to save them all when something dark is awakened inside of Aki?


Model Citizen: Shattered by the death of his brother, Ollie is struggling to put one foot in front of the other. Kade, his brother’s best friend, entering the picture seems like the help and comfort Ollie needs. Trusting this older man with his secrets, much less his heart, is something Ollie isn’t so sure is a good idea.

Between the two of them they’re going to need to come to grips with their budding relationship, and learn to trust, before their current investigation kills them. Literally.


Note: This MM romance features a tattooed ex-Marine, a former model with a passion for manties and sticking his nose into mysteries, and a bunch of reality TV stars with the habit of getting murdered. Second edition.

This is getting really hard. So many books. So little space. I'll finish with two books/series that I keep going back to. they are totally different, in content and tone. Again, one is fantasy and the other is contemporary. One is dark and serious while the other had me laughing out loud and snorting various drinks. It also reminds me of driving home, with both (adult) children, from a fantastic weekend. It was memorable because it was one of only two occasions since my daughter left home (wow it was 15 years ago) that we all went away for a weekend together. I'm rambling, so I'll get on with it 

THE TIED MAN

By Tabitha McGowan




Lilith Bresson, an independent, successful young artist, is forced to travel from her home in Spain to the wild borderlands of northern England, to repay her feckless father’s latest debt by painting a portrait of the enigmatic Lady Blaine Albermarle.

On her first night at Albermarle Hall she meets Finn Strachan, Blaine’s ‘companion’, a cultured and hauntingly beautiful young man who seems to have it all. But Lilith has an artist’s eye, and a gift for seeing what lies beneath the skin. She soon discovers that Blaine is more gaoler than lover, and if the price is right, depravity has no limits.

As the weeks pass, Lilith finds that she too is drawn into the malign web that her patron has spun, yet against the odds she forges a strong friendship with the damaged, dysfunctional Finn. In a dark, modern twist to an age-old story, Lilith Bresson proves that sometimes it’s the princess who needs to become the rescuer.

Please note that this storyline contains depictions of drug abuse, violence and non-consensual sex.




Once upon a time, in an alleyway in the slums of the City of Lockes, a young and somewhat lonely boy named Sam Haversford turns a group of teenage douchebags into stone completely by accident.

Of course, this catches the attention of a higher power, and Sam's pulled from the only world he knows to become an apprentice to the king's wizard, Morgan of Shadows.

When Sam's 14, he enters the Dark Woods and returns with Gary, the hornless gay unicorn, and a half-giant named Tiggy, earning the moniker Sam of Wilds.

At 15, Sam learns what love truly is when a new knight arrives at the castle - Knight Ryan Foxheart, the dreamiest dream to have ever been dreamed.

Naturally, it all goes to hell when Ryan dates the reprehensible Prince Justin, Sam can't control his magic, a sexually aggressive dragon kidnaps the prince, and the king sends them on an epic quest to save Ryan's boyfriend, all while Sam falls more in love with someone he can never have.

Or, so he thinks.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

NEW RELEASE Being Alive by Sean Kerr


It is my great pleasure to welcome a fellow Welshman and one of my favourite writer, Sean Kerr to my blog today, Show him some love and take a look at this awesome series. While you're at it, check out his other series and the one that first grabbed my attention - Dead Camp. It's not for the faint-hearted but if you like a sprinkling of horror on your romance, that's the place to be,


BLURB

Love will find out his way.

Two men caught in the embrace of forbidden love. Two worlds trapped in a conflict that spans nations. Two lives lost to the cruel hand of time in a never-ending torture of yearning.

But love is eternal. It lives through the darkest of times to whisper across the ages on the lips of those who crave it. Love will always survive. And James is about to find out that some people will do anything to capture love's lost kiss.

It seems to James that monsters lurk in every corner. But there is always Adam. The one man who makes sense in his life, and the one person who offers him comfort when everything else seems so messed up. But as James finds himself growing closer to the enigmatic librarian, old monsters raise their ugly heads to threaten their relationship, and James is torn. Does he hold the hand of the man he is falling for, or does he run for his life to keep that man safe from the darkness which haunts him?

History is catching up with the present, and as its terrible presence grows ever closer, a shocking revelation destroys any hope that James may have of living a normal life. The chase is on, and the real horror has only just begun.

‘Being Alive’ is the third instalment of my shocking ‘Alive’ serial set in my Dark MM Universe.

Amazon Universal Link Ebook  mybook.to/BEINGalive


Writing is a privilege and pure joy. I love to tell complex, character driven stories, and my ‘Alive’ series enables me to tell a story that spans so many fascinating literary characters and to explore their history from a unique LGBT perspective. It is an honour to be a part of this community, and I am proud to be here with you to explore these thrilling tales! Thank you for joining me on this journey.

CATCH UP WITH THE SERIES NOW!

The Man Inside Me (THE PREQUEL TO ALIVE)
Amazon Universal Link ebook mybook.to/Themaninsideme
Amazon Universal Link Paperback
mybook.to/ManinsidePaperback
Amazon AUDIOBOOK Link https://amzn.to/2kt2xXU

Still Alive
Universal Amazon Link mybook.to/StillAlive

Excerpt

The landscape which surrounded us immediately vanished in his presence, for he eclipsed all. Such was the dazzling blue of his eyes which shone from his bearded face like two perfect sapphires. To gaze into the face of Mehmed was to gaze into the face of God, for such was the perfection of each line. Of the cheekbones which moved up to a noble brow to crown the head of a true leader in the making.

“I’ve never done anything to him. I even stopped the others from beating him. What more does he want from me?” Mehmed complained.

“His freedom?”

Mehmed’s beautiful face scowled.

“That will come soon enough.”

“I know,” I said sadly, and the conflict it caused in my heart brought with it a terrible pain.

“Radu is a vile creature, Vlad. He has no honour about him. I worry about you, my friend, for I fear he will do anything to steal your rightful position away from you.”

“Perhaps he should.”

Mehmed grabbed my arm, and I felt the strength of him pour through my body.

“No! Do not ever say that! There is a destiny about you, my friend. You will do great things. You were born a Prince. You are a Prince. The time has come for you to live the life into which you were born.”

“Even if that takes me away from you?”

Sadness soiled the brightness in his eyes.

“Yes,” he whispered.

Mehmed lay back into the scrubby grass. I loved the way his muscles moved beneath his thin shirt, and the way the valleys of his stomach forced the tight cloth to mould itself around them.

“You 
see the sky up there?” he said, gazing up into the 
heavens.

I lay back and turned my gaze reluctantly away from his fit, tight body to stare up into the endlessness above us. As I placed my arms on the ground, I felt his little finger brush the side of my hand to send a thrill of excitement trilling through my limbs.

The sky remained so blue, despite the tufts of white that dared to soil its endless expanse.

“It is so blue,” I said wistfully, “and yet there is a stain about it. It moves from clear, endless wonder to dark, tempestuous fury in but a blink of an eye.”

“Yes, indeed, my Prince. Much like you.”

I slapped him on the arm. Hard.

“You are a fine one to talk.”

“But is that not the point? The sky is change. One minute so beautiful and filled with a purity so clear that one may see God. Yet, it may rain down all the terrors of Hell upon us. It becomes dark. It unleashes a fury that may destroy even the hardest of men. It forever changes. Every time we look up into its innocent heart, it is a different sky, for we never see the same thing twice. It is at once our friend, and then, without warning, it is the enemy. But that is its nature. At once beautiful, but ultimately dangerous.”

“Are you saying that we are like the sky?”

“We are the sun and moon, you and me. We are opposite, and yet we exist within the same space. But, like the sun and the moon, we remain equally essential to the survival of man. They are the balance. Radu is chaos. Your brother will destroy everything in his goal to gain absolute power. He is the disease which eats away at the hearts of men.”

“And what does that make me?”

“The cure.”

“And yet, one must exist within the light, while the other must live in darkness.”

“As it should be with all things. The darkness and the light. One cannot exist without the other. I think they call that destiny, do they not? We are destiny, my Prince.”

“Even if that means we end up on opposite sides?”

Mehmed propped himself up on an elbow and leant over me. For one moment, my heart leapt in my chest, for I thought his lips loomed ever closer, and yet, he reached out a hand and brushed a stray lock of hair away from my eyes. What I saw in his face sent my world plummeting into my stomach, for it was the same fragile thing I felt inside my heart.

And then, he opened his perfect mouth and started to sing.
His words tumbled from his sweet lips in gentle, rhythmic beats to steal the breath from my life.

“Over the mountains
And over the waves,
Under the fountains
And under the graves;
Under floods that are deepest,
For nature must always obey;
Over rocks that are steepest
Love will find out the way.

Some think to lose him
By having him confined;
And some do suppose him,
And claim love is blind;
But if ever close you find his heart,
Do the best that you may,
Blind love may never stop him,
Love will find out the way.

You may train the eagle
To stoop to your fist;
Or you may seduce
The phoenix of the east;
The lion, you may move him
To give up his prey;
But you’ll never stop a lover
Love will find out his way.”

Such beauty from a man like he overwhelmed me, and I could do nothing to stop the tears which fell down the side of my face. How his words touched me, and how such sentiment moved me to forsake all that I was born into for just the chance to be by his side. For all time.

“Mehmed. My Mehmed. I cannot lose you.”


His fingers moved from my hair to slide down my cheek.

“You will never lose me, my Prince. Even in our darkest days, my heart will always belong to you. Love will find out his way.”

Mehmed moved his head closer to my face, and I could feel his breath against my skin. I breathed him in, and I tried to hold onto that breath. To hold just a part of him inside me forever. But then he kissed me, and I lost my breath to his love.

How our lips moved against each other. A familiar dance stole in moments of utter perfection. It was such a gentle thing at first. A mere promise of something altogether stronger. Soft. Sensual. Kind. But then his lips pressed hard against my mouth, and I felt the promise fulfilled as his tongue pushed past my lips to taste the depths of my growing desires.

His muscular frame pressed against my side, and then he was 
lying on top of me with his hands on either side of my body as our lips devoured each other without mercy. To feel the weight of him on top of me stole the wind from my chest, but the sheer solidness of his frame pressing me into the ground left all other considerations to crumble to dust beneath his passions.



Author Bio

My name is Sean Kerr, and I am a 50-year-old gay man living in Cardiff, Wales with my husband of 28 years, Derek. We have our mad cat, Rita and, and a host of tropical fish.

I worked on building sites for years, and I used the money earned from that to put myself through college, specialist paint techniques etc. I trained in fine art, and then I went out and painted murals on client’s walls, and created Roman Bathrooms and fantasy hand painted bedrooms, all the rage back in the late eighties and nineties. I then became an Interior Designer for a large DIY chain. For the past thirteen years I ran my own Interiors business, and while that is no longer in existence, I am now looking for my next challenge in life!

By day I make handmade jewellery and sell them on my Etsy shop. But by night I transform into the author! It took me some years to get to this point. I spent a very long time trying to get an agent because I thought it was the right thing to do, and after a heck of a lot of refusals, I nearly gave up. I came so close to hitting the delete button on Dead Camp 1 because I thought I did not stand a chance. At the very last moment, I decided to have a go at approaching a few publishers directly, and I sent the manuscript to six. Within two weeks, I had offers of publication from three! Let’s just say that there may have been tears lol. It was my chance, at last, to become a part of a world that I have always loved and admired from a distance, and it is one of the very best things to ever happened to me.

I recently ventured into the world of self-publishing. ‘The Man Inside Me’, ‘Alive’ and ‘The Last Child’ represent my first wave of self-published work, though I have been lucky to be able to use the same editor who I worked with on my traditionally published works.

My book, ‘The Man Inside Me’ is an MM Victorian Gothic Romance, and I think it is the favourite thing I have written so far. It deals with two men in their fifties trying to find love again, a subject that is very close to my heart as I approach that milestone. It is a very important book to me, and while it has some very ‘KERR’ twists and turns, it is, at its heart, a very romantic tale that deals with middle age. I am particularly proud of this book, and it is a very different spin on the MM genre.

Alive is my latest book, and the start of a whole new Dark Universe series. Part gay romance, part horror, part sci fi, part historical. I know, quite the mix. But that’s what I love to do. Conspiracy, mash ups and sexy horror!! I have since written the sequel, Still Alive, and I am now excited about the release of the third book in the series, Being Alive!

This series is inspired by my love for classic literature and the fabulous old black and white Universal Studios monster movies. I have read most of the books those old films were based on. It has always been my dream to write a series of books that share these characters from film and literature in an adventure told from an LGBT perspective, and it is an absolute honour to write these books. One character in particular has been a favourite of mine since I was a child, and I can’t tell you how much of a thrill it is to write about him. It is difficult to talk about these books without giving too much away, as I don’t want to spoil the many surprises inside the pages. But this series provides a new insight into some very famous creations, and oh, they are a joy to write!

I hope you will join me on this journey and venture into my Dark MM Universe. And it all started with the prequel book, ‘The Man Inside Me.’ 

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I look forward to meeting you on social media.
Stalking links! Come and say hello!
Facebook https://www.facebook.com/deadcampblog/
Twitter https://twitter.com/sgk69
Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6207037.Sean_Kerr
Dead Camp website www.deadcamp.com
My Etsy store https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/KerrCards?ref=search_shop_redirect

Friday, 5 June 2020

NEW RELEASE from Kate Zarrelli - The Casanova Papers




In Venice, Italy, a university professor and a young English teacher together curate an edition of Casanova’s memoirs and begin acting out his adventures. What could go wrong?

Ellie Murphy takes a contract teaching English at a school in Venice, Italy. There she meets the sexy enigmatic Professor Piero Contarini, from an ancient Venetian family, and agrees to help him in his work curating a new edition of the memoirs of the famous seducer, Giacomo Casanova. Taking their task seriously, they start to enact his adventures with each other, ecstatically revealing their own kinks as they do so. But who is watching them from the shadowy alleyways of Venice?

Sales Link

https://www.extasybooks.com/themecontrol/product/?product_id=6714
Amazon

About the Author

Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen name of Katherine Mezzacappa.  Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons. She is the author of Tuscan Enchantment (eXtasy: Devine Destinies). Kate/Katherine writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member.

Social Media Links

https://www.facebook.com/katezarrellibooks/?modal=admin_todo_tour
https://www.facebook.com/katherinemezzacappafiction/
https://twitter.com/katmezzacappa

If you are interested in taking part in the blog tour there are still a few places left

https://www.rachelsrandomresources.com/the-casanova-papers

Monday, 25 May 2020

Some of My Favourite Book - Not Fantasy


Having moved on from the fantasy section of my library, I was surprised to find myself with very empty shelves. I hadn't realised previously, but a huge percentage of my books are fantasy in some shape or form, from The Lord of The Rings, to Harry Potter, to Interview With A Vampire. I really had to think hard about this section.

Flowers in The Attic


I fell in love with this series at what was probably an inappropriate age. It had a huge effect on my developing mind and I can probably blame it for my love of all things gothic and macabre...and on the way I write many of my stories. It has everything from captivity, mental health issues, cruelty, murder and incest.



Blurb

At the top of the stairs, there are four secrets hidden—blond, innocent, and fighting for their lives…

They were a perfect and beautiful family—until a heartbreaking tragedy shattered their happiness. Now, for the sake of an inheritance that will ensure their future, the children must be hidden away out of sight, as if they never existed. They are kept in the attic of their grandmother’s labyrinthine mansion, isolated and alone. As the visits from their seemingly unconcerned mother slowly dwindle, the four children grow ever closer and depend upon one another to survive both this cramped world and their cruel grandmother. A suspenseful and thrilling tale of family, greed, murder, and forbidden love, Flowers in the Attic is the unputdownable first novel of the epic Dollanganger family saga.


The Dollanganger series includes: Flowers in the Attic, Petals in the Wind, If There Be Thorns, Seeds of Yesterday, Garden of Shadows, Beneath the Attic, and Out of the Attic.


Horrible Histories

This is the series that sparked my children's love for history. I have always been very much interested in history, but these books were pitched perfectly to capture the young imagination, presenting historical fact among hysterical comedy.

My love affair with history went back a long way. I joined the local historical society when I was about fourteen. We had exhibits in the museum proper, mainly trains to be honest as the people who ran the society were mainly middle-aged geeks. However, we had a fabulous collection of local history memorabilia which we took out on tour.

Later, I joined an Iron Age re enactment society and really indulged my love for history by living it.

Strangely, I have never enjoyed historical fiction.


Blurb

THE HORRIBLE HISTORY OF THE WORLD presents the foul but fascinating story of humans from brain-nibbling Neanderthals to terrified teenage soldiers in the twentieth century. You can discover why Alexander the Great banned beards, what smelly sport was played by samurai warriors and who tried to bump off her enemies with a cake made with poisoned bath-water.

It's all you ever need to know about the wicked world - all the gore and more!

This is just an overview. There are dozens of them covering specifics such as the Rotten Roman, Cruel Castles and Vile Victorians.


The Mabinogion (and other books regarding folklore and customs)

There are those who would say that this is another fantasy, but to them I would say "Pish". These are snapshots of a people, a community, a society and gives a peep into their psyches and what made them tick at a very basic level. It shows up their fears and insecurities, tells us about the way they live day-to-day, and in some of the old stories give us a roadmap to their religious beliefs.



Blurb

The Mabinogion consists of the earliest prose literature in Great Britain, the manuscripts of which originate in 12th century Welsh, with some dating earlier, to the oral tradition of the Middle Ages. Many of the stories in the Mabinogion would become famous anew thanks to the efforts of the translator. Rendered in modern English, the narratives of an era long-departed reflect the time - events such as war, the idea of chivalric romance, and the prevalence of sorcery and mystical goings on are common devices in the stories. 

Much of what is here was passed onto other, later authors - the notion of the Medieval era as one laden with strange beasts, magic, and valiant combat originates with tales like those in the Mabinogion. 

This edition of the ancient stories was translated by Lady Charlotte Guest, an English aristocrat who was most famous for this work. Accomplished with languages from a young age, she gathered from obscure archives the manuscripts, arranged and presented them in modern English.

I would also count under this heading just about anything involving with myths legends and cultures of Wales, England and Scotland. While much of it involves elements of the supernatural, the customs and history involved are fascinating. Ii tells us more about the people who wrote the stories than the people who inhabit them. Yet again, my love for the books arises out of my love for history.

That's about all I can think of, but it should be enough to give you a peek into what lies behind the scenes in making me the crazy human being I am today.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Some of My Favourite Books - Fantasy Edition

I write reviews for Love Bytes, a reviewing blog that I am very proud to be part of. I get to read a lot of books-- good, bad or indifferent. I try to be honest, but kind, in my reviews and I'm not afraid to say if a book is good or bad. I thought that it might be fun, during a period, when we have more time than we know what to do with, if I shared some of my absolute, lifetime favourites with you. I hope you find something to interest and/or inspire you.

1. Terry Pratchett.

The first of his books that I read was Wyrd Sisters, of which more below. I read it because a friend had bullied me along to an amateur dramatic rendition and the story caught my attention. So, I read the book and it was like a drug. I couldn't get through them fast enough and I think I have every book in the Discworld series, or have at least read them.

How to describe the Discworld. Well, it's a perfectly flat world, carried on the back of four elephants standing on a turtle. It's a very, very big turtle.

The inhabitants are very ordinary, well apart from the clothes and the magic, and the story is told in such a matter-of-fact way you can sometimes forget how totally bizarre the facts are.

In some ways, the Discworld is much like ours. It has a postal service, banks, restaurants, a tyrranical patrician who is actually doing a pretty good job, a werewolf on the police force (they're very progressive) as well as a six foot adopted dwarf, a vampire a zombie and a golem. I told you it was progressive.

Many of the stories are familiar, but with a huge twist. Macbeth, Hamlet and Phantom of the Opera all get their own stories, while there nods to all kind of things everywhere you look.

One of the things I like best is the cutting wit that soaks every page, and the very precise way Pratchett describes the indescribably. The sheer breadth of background knowledge is staggering, from pagan religions, to folklore, to quantum physics, all there, side-by-side on the page. There are actually companion novels that twist your minds in knots explaining (brilliantly) some of the science involved.

Needless to say, I am a huge huge fan and this series is a must-read for anyone who like things different but recognizable, funny, sad, clever, multi-layered and that makes you feel like a crazy made up world is actually your home.

It says a lot when one of my favourite characters is Death. Well, a death (the Death of Rats is most amusing) who once worked in a curry house and likes kittens.

This is the first one. There are many more



Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk


2.  Anything by Storm Constantine

In my opinion Storm Constantine is a hugely underrated author. She has created an entire universe, including its own religion on which there are companion books, and a beautiful set of tarot cards. How none of her work has been turned into a film yet is beyond me. Maybe she wants to keep the integrity of her work.

The series that first got me hooked was the Wraeththu series. At that time, there were three books, now there are six in the main series, along with novellas and short stories (and the mythos and religion texts). She had her own press and is the only author I know who publishes Fan Fic alongside her own books, with, apparently, the same care and attention to detail.

The Wraethtu series is set in a not-too-distant future where a new breed of being is rising to replace humanity. It all started with a single person who developed magical powers and found that ingesting his blood would change others to be like him.

By and large this new breed, names Har, were less interested in taking over the world than by making sense of their own. There was no great war that wiped out humanity, although you can bet there was fighting when humanity kicked back. Instead their biggest struggle was to make sense of their new reality.

As humanity, who were now sterile, dwindled, hara built their own civilization, rising from the ashes of the old in an unruly, organic way. This was inevitable as the only converts were teenage males. After going through the transition, they found themselves with new powers and new bodies that were neither male not female but something entirely new that was all but immortal and eventually became able to reproduce among themselves. 

These new beings grew from a single frightened boy to a group of boys who didn't have a clue, to an entire civilization divided in regions, countries and continents each with their different flavour and attracting different kinds of people who, as with humans, tended to band together with those who were similar to themselves. They adopted tribal names and tended to live in communities, large and small, rather than cities.

This series was my first introduction to a world where men (kind of) loved other men (kind of) in a way that was entirely natural and barely worth mentioning among the literally world-changing events going on around them. Apart from a brief mention here and there it was a non-issue and it drew me into the world of m/m without the angst (although there was plenty of that in other ways) and not a lot of sex (none as we know it), which before had been my expectation from gay books, and why I had never really read them. In many ways, it's Storm Constantine's fault that I write the books I do 
today.



Amazon
Amazon.UK


The second series - The Grigori Trilogy had its feet more firmly on the earth, although some of those feet belonged to fallen angels. A lot of the background and imagery is drawn from Enochian myth and the Sumerian religion and the angels are nothing like those spoken of in Christian myth. Great powers are stirring and the Grigori have been watching and waiting. As ever, they can't resist involving themselves in human affairs and human lovers. This series has m/f, f/f, m/m, a/a and a/h relationships. (where 1=angel and h=human)

Amazon
Amazon UK



The Magravandian Trilogy - which is high fantasy on an epic scale.

Amazon
Amazon UK

Of the standalone books Burying the Shadow is my favourite, a sleek take on gothic horror that grabs you by the balls from the outset, burrowing deep into the darkness of the soul where...creatures lurk with beautiful, smiling faces.


3. Dragonlance Chronicles

This series holds a special place in my heart as it arose from a Dungeons and Dragons game. I am utterly obsessed with D&D and am currently involved in 4 games.

They follow a group of people, made up of fairly standard D&D characters on a classic adventure full of dragons, dwarves, wizards and a kender.



Amazon
Amazon UK


4. And finally for this time, Piers Anthony's Xanth Series



Amazon
Amazon UK

These books take place in a world where magic is everywhere, enthusing everything. From living in a cottage cheese, to plucking bread fruit (literally loaves of bread) from trees, everything is magic and everything is deliberately or accidentally funny. For pure escapism this series is perfectly delightful. The world is just as unique, but far less mind-bending as the Discworld, written in the same kind of no-nonsence, of course you know all about this already, style.

I have read every book and am so absorbed into Xanth lore, history and day-to-day life that I see absolutely no reason why a cottage cheese shouldn't be big enough to live in, or why I can't literally go to hell in a hadcart, or visit the zombie king and his ghostly wife in a castly badly run by zombies. Just lose yourself in simple joy with all the weird and wonderful characters and their even weirder world.

I'm exhausted after that, so we'll leave it there for today. Next time, I'll run over some great m/m books/series I've read.

Monday, 4 May 2020

Not So Dark Fantasy

I have been sharing all kinds of things about the project I'm currently working on, which is more of a journey into epic fantasy than I have explored before. That's not to say I haven't written any fantasy but it's been more contemporary, set in "our world"

Although not taking influence from any particular fairytale, I would say that Fairies at the Bottom of the Garden is a modern fairytale with some very real issues that concern humans and fairies alike

NineStar Press
Amazon 

Blurb

All Keiron wants is a quiet life. Fat chance with a boyfriend like Bren. But if he thought Bren complicated his life, that was nothing compared to the complications that begin when he opens the door to what he thinks is a naked boy claiming to be his slave.

Draven is a fairy with his sights set on the handsome human who keeps a wild place in the garden for fairies. When Draven slips through a fairy gate into the city, he sets in motion a series of events that binds him to Keiron forever, and just might be the end of him.

While Draven explores Keiron’s world with wide-eyed wonder, Keiron does everything he can to keep Draven’s at bay, until the only way to save Draven and bring him home is to step into a world that should exist only in children stories.

Excerpt

“I wondered. Why humans don’t change, I mean. I kind of figured it’s because they can’t.” Now his voice was full of pity. Then he sniffed again at the coffee. “What’s that?”

“It’s coffee. A hot drink. Would you like some?”

Draven grinned at him. “Ooh yes, yes please.”

“Would you like sugar and milk?”

“Ooh, you have milk? I love milk. What did you milk? A cat? A stoat?”

“Draven, you can’t milk a cat.”

“You can’t?” He turned thoughtful. “Maybe I should tell them.”

“Tell who what?”

“The cats. Tell them they can’t be milked. They won’t like it. Neither will the High Lord. He likes cat milk and—”

“You milk cats?”

“Well…yes. I didn’t know you weren’t supposed to.”

“It’s not that you’re not supposed to; it’s just—” Keiron broke off. He could imagine the conversation. There just wasn’t any point. “It’s cow’s milk.”

“Cows?” Draven’s eyes went wide. “You milk cows?”

“Not me personally, but yes.”

“But they’re so…big.” His eyes were round, and his mouth hung open. Then he shook his head. “Of course. You’re big too. Ah. I suppose cats would be too small, huh? They don’t give very much, and only when they want to.”

“Will you stop talking about milking cats? Do you want milk in your coffee or not?”

“I’ve never tasted cow’s milk. I’d like to try.”

Keiron poured a cup of coffee while Draven watched, fascinated. He carefully poured in milk and handed it over. Draven closed his hand around it, then yelped and dropped it. “Ow, ow, ow,” he sang, dancing on the spot and clutching his hand. “It hurt me. It hurt me.”

“It’s hot, Draven. It’s made with boiling water. Of course it’s going to hurt if you hold on to it like that.”

“Boiling water? What do you mean? How do you make it hot?”

“It’s boiled in a kettle. Let me see that hand.”

Obediently, Draven held out his hand. It was red but there was no sign it was going to blister. Keiron led him to the tap and ran the cold water over his hand. Draven smiled and gazed up into Keiron’s eyes. His face was streaked with tears, which had already dried. He looked

Keiron dropped his hand and turned away. “You’ve made another mess.”

“Oh. I’m sorry. Let me clean it up.” Draven pushed past Keiron and started moving things out of the puddle of coffee. All he succeeded in doing was allowing the puddle to get bigger. The box of cereal was soaked and, as Draven lifted it, the bottom gave way, spilling cereal all over the table. Yanking back his hand, he knocked over the jug of orange juice and sent fruit rolling onto the floor.

“Oh. Oh, I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’ll fix it. I’ll—” In his haste to try to catch the rolling fruit and stand up the jug and gather the cereal, his foot turned on a rolling apple and he fell backwards, landing on his bottom on the floor with the cereal in his lap and a puddle of spilled milk spreading from between his legs.

With a trembling lip and tear-bright eyes, Draven sat on the floor and stared up at Keiron, sniffing. He was dejected and so comical, Keiron just couldn’t stop himself from laughing. After a shocked look, Draven grinned and started to giggle too. Keiron held out his hand and Draven took it, hauling himself to his feet while trying ineffectually to brush himself down.

“I think it might be a good idea if you changed out of those wet clothes and leave the clearing up to me. Again.”

The giggling stopped and Draven looked crestfallen. “I’m sorry.”

Keiron grinned. "Don’t worry about it. Go get changed.”

As Draven skipped towards the stairs, dripping milk on the carpet, Keiron turned back to the mess that was his kitchen. He groaned. If he’d thought Bren’s friends were bad, this was so much worse. It was crazy. He couldn’t put up with it. All he wanted was a quiet life—to go to work, come home, and relax in a clean and tidy house with no hassles and the occasional forage out into Bren’s bright, exciting life when he felt up to it. He liked everything in its place, even the chaos. He had a feeling this chaos could never be put in any place other than right where it wanted to be.
As he cleaned up the mess, he decided that, as soon as Draven returned, he was going to find out how to get rid of him once and for all. It was bad enough having Bren around the house, but Draven was one step too far.

Sunday, 3 May 2020

NEW RELEASE Full Moon Fever by Elizabeth Black


Thank you very much for hosting me here today. My name is Elizabeth Black, and I'd like to introduce you to my GLBT paranormal shifter romance, Full Moon Fever. Enjoy!



FULL MOON FEVER – BUY LINKS

Full Moon Fever Amazon

                            Barnes and Noble

                            eXtasy Books

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BLURB:

William Shakespeare said All the world’s a stage, but he hadn’t counted on shifters under a theater’s hot lights. Lovers Sam Hightower and Grant Newsome live for the stage. Although they have enjoyed the wanderlust of traveling theater for many years, each has grown tired of the road and wants to settle down. They also have a secret. As shifters and no part of any pack, they are lone wolves in every sense of the word. The full moon brings out the beast in them.

Even though their work as gaffers—lighting techs—puts them in contact with a large variety of willing, sexy men and women to share their love, they prefer men. They find a dancer, Luke Pearce, who makes their blood run hot, but Luke has a secret of his own to test them. Add scenic artists and lovers Charlotte and Lina to the mix, and you have a wild and sexy fivesome.

To spoil their fun and to their surprise, Sam and Grant discover another shifter in their midst, but this young person is so inexperienced and terrified she could expose them to the human hunters and get them killed. How can Sam and Grant protect themselves as well as the people they love?

EXCERPT

Sam Hightower tightened a Fresnel on a light tree as he watched the dancers warm up. He stood somewhat hidden in the wings, a position where he could observe the stage without being noticed. He preferred his life that wayout of sight, out of mind. He liked to blend into the shadows, keeping a safe distance, since his stay in the theater company was so fleeting.

At a height of six-feet-one inch and as lean as a whippet, Sam struck a powerful first impression. His thick blond hair fell to slightly below his shoulder blades. While he worked the lights, he wore it tied back and out of his way. Muscular and slim with an angular face and blue eyes, his Nordic features turned the heads of both men and women alike. 

Although he played both sides of the field, he preferred men. With each show, he and his partner, Grant Newsome, grew closer together, bonding with intensity only two men with deep secrets could. 

Sam feared their secrets could become their undoing on each leg of their tour, especially during the full moon. So far, they’d lucked out. No one had caught on to what they really were.

As was the nature of the traveling stage shows, his time in Portland, Oregon would not last long, even though they were in the same city as their home base. He and Grant had been among the few stagehands who traveled with the company for its North American tour. The remainder for each show was filled with local crews.
Sam could see the entire country and not make a commitment to stay in any one location. Jumping from city to city was also safer, since there was little to no danger of the locals finding out that they sought the moon each month.

He and Grant had jumped at the chance to tour the Pacific Northwest and immediately joined the tour to stay close to home. In all tours, relationships between crew, actors, and dancers grew quickly with great intensity, but once the curtain fell for good, some of the cast and crew would part ways, sometimes to never to see each other again. While the split at the end was always painful, Sam willingly chose that way. He thought it best he never became too close to anyone except Grant. Grant had been his bright island oasis, a refuge from day-to-day troubles. However, such solitude begot loneliness, so they liked to share their love with a third or even fourth partner on occasion, and Sam was on the lookout for one at that very moment.

The man who flowed across the stage with such little effort looked so much like Grant that Sam blinked his eyes to make sure his vision wasn’t playing tricks on him. His pulse raced at the sight of the dancer’s ripped abs, shock of dark hair, and tight thighs.

Who’s the god who has the rapt attention of every man and woman in this room?

Grant’s twin wore his hair shoulder length, thick and full, with tendrils falling in his shining green eyes.

Those eyes are emerald green, so green they glow like an aurora in winter.

His face bore a smoldering look of extreme concentration. Sam suspected this man would snap at him, turning on him in an instant if he interrupted his train of thought, much the same way Grant grumbled if Sam interrupted him. His grace could not hide the raw masculinity that moved with each muscle. Broad shoulders and muscular arms tapered to a narrow waist and an ass that threatened to slip out of the leotard he wore. Sam enjoyed gazing at that ass as the dancer soared across the stage. He preferred taut gluts to any other part of a man’s body.

The man’s resemblance to Grant intrigued Sam. Was he a tiger between the sheets the way Grant was? How could he approach him to find out? Considering the higher percentage of gays and lesbians in theater, there was a good chance the dancer would be amenable to a little male flirtation and maybe more. He wore the same dark and somewhat angry expression of intensity Grant wore when he concentrated on focusing lights. He smoldered like lightning in a crackling sky.

Each twist of the dancer’s hips enhanced the sensuality his meager leotard couldn’t contain. He strutted amid his shorter and less stellar-looking partners and brought a flush to Sam’s cheeks. He moved with grace befitting a dancer, and animal magnetism oozed from his every pore. Grant’s arms were fuller and stronger than the dancer’s from his years of experience hauling lights, but the resemblance between the two men could not be missed. Strong and majestic, the power of this man’s sexuality seeped from every pore, his potent form so beautiful it took Sam’s breath away.

A sultry and husky feminine voice jarred Sam from his daydream. 

“Sorry, luv, you’re a day late and a dollar short. We’ve already had him.” Charlotte stood before him with her arms akimbo and a hip thrust out, giving him a cheeky grin. Covered with splatters of paint befitting her job as a scenic artist, she brandished a brush in one hand.

Charlotte was tall for a woman. At five feet and ten inches and build like Wonder Woman on steroids, Charlotte could probably throttle Sam with those strong hands, but her slender body was not overwhelmed with bulk the way bodybuilders were. She was a nice combination of brawn and sleekness. Dressed in tight black jeans and a tighter black tank top that squeezed together her huge breasts, she twisted her bee-stung lips in an amused grin that told him she had once again bested him in the fucking department. “His name’s Leuker Pearce, and he’s a stallion in bed.”

“I’d love to pierce him,” Sam said.

“You might be able to,” Lina said.

Like Sam and Grant, Lina and Charlotte were lovers. The quieter of the two scenic artists stood behind Charlotte, her arms wrapped around the gutsier one’s waist. Although Lina was about two inches shorter than Charlotte, the two women could have been identical twins. What was it with the doppelgänger twins in this company? They wore their coffee-colored hair tied back, and their ponytails fell to the middle of their backs. Skin the color of espresso with a heavy dollop of cream, they stood out amid all the blondes, ordinary looking brunettes, and oddball blue and pink-haired in the crew. Their personalities offset each other’s, Lina’s air to Charlotte’s fire. Slow to excite, Lina often corralled Charlotte’s exuberance. She kept her fiery twin calm and somewhat sensible.
Quite the virago, Charlotte had thrilled Sam with her lusty nature on the few occasions they’d found themselves in bed together. Or in the back seat of his car. Or those two times in the catwalks when their groans had echoed throughout the theater. Charlotte preferred women to men, but Sam had enjoyed her touch and smell too many times to count.

He often teased her by sneaking up on her and grabbing her boobs. She retaliated by bursting unexpectedly from behind road boxes and squeezing his cock. Despite the sex play, they were buddies more than lovers.

Sam could never get away with such behavior with Lina. Quieter than Charlotte, she bordered on being shy, which made Charlotte’s vibrancy seem even more pronounced. She preferred to keep to herself while Charlotte played the social butterfly. Despite her standoffishness, her intensity of concentration and conversation often surprised those who didn’t know her well. It was a mistake to think of her as a shrinking violet.

Her physique was slimmer than Charlotte’s and made her seem shorter than she actually was. Both women had hourglass figures with an emphasis on their large breasts and rounded asses. Once again, Sam found himself attracted to their bottoms. These two women were perfectly proportioned, something he had not seen very often. They were nearly geometrically perfect.

Still amazed at how much the two women looked alike, Sam admired their sleek arms and hands, strong from years of painting sets. Charlotte and Lina had been traveling with the troupe since its inception. They had moved from the Calvert Beach apartments in Delaware to a suburb of Washington, D.C. to get in on the stage action and made no secret about looking for greener pastures in the northwest areas once the tour was finished.

Sam and Grant had met them after their third show. The women had joined the stagehand’s union at the same time Sam and Grant did, and they soon found themselves on many of the same tours together, which was unusual for traveling stage shows

While Sam could hoist a light and even design some lighting for sets, Charlotte and Lina were true artists. Their talent never ceased to impress him. Sam had seen them render flats into three-dimensional paintings. He had seen Charlotte turn an ordinary chair into a masterpiece of paint designed to look like wood with beautiful fabric seats for a show set in the late 1800s. She also painted portraits in her private time and sold them for a tidy sum. 

Lina sculpted from clay and bronze, mostly the human body, especially women with strong physiques. Rich people from around the country often commissioned her sculptures for their own private collections, and she brought in a mint with her impressive talent.

Sam knew he could never compete in the talent department with those two. He didn’t have an artistic bone in his body. Neither did Grant. Sam could barely draw stick figures. Watching Charlotte and Lina create beautiful paintings and sculptures from what seemed like thin air impressed Sam so much he constantly reminded them how talented they were when they were hard on themselves, which was often. Such was the life of an artist. Constant self-criticism.

Sam looked to where his lover’s twin writhed before him, making love to the stage as he twirled and leaped.

Imagine the threesome we could have. It would be like something out of a Penthouse letter.

“He swings both ways,” Charlotte said. “I can see a hot little threesome there—you, Luke, and Luke’s ravishing twin. You need to be adventurous. You know how much I love adventure.”

Should he expound on that fantasy ménage? No, not just yet. 

“So you noticed the resemblance, too?” 

Lust tingled the hairs on the back of Sam’s neck. That beautiful creature moved like a majestic buck in the Alaskan high country. “What kind of name is Leuker?”

“It’s Dutch. It’s also his middle name. Says his first name is horrible.”

“Leuker isn’t?”

Her deep, throaty laugh reverberated among the flats. “He goes by Luke. He told me Leuker is his mother’s maiden name. Says it means good-looking.”

Sam gawked at the tight ass and strong legs that sashayed across the stage. “Can’t deny that.”

AUTHOR BIO


Elizabeth Black writes erotica, erotic romance, speculative fiction, fantasy, dark fiction, and horror. Her erotic fiction has been published by Xcite Books (U. K.), House Of Erotica (U. K.), Circlet Press, eXtasy Books, Ravenous Romance, Riverdale Avenue Books, Scarlet Magazine (U. K.), and other publishers. 

She also enjoys writing retellings of classic fairy tales, including her two self-published fairy tales "Trouble In Thigh High Boots" (Puss In Boots) and "Climbing Her Tower" (Rapunzel). 

An accomplished essayist, she was the sex columnist for the pop culture e-zine nuts4chic (U. K.). Her articles about sex, erotica, and relationships have appeared in Good Vibrations Magazine, Alternet, CarnalNation, the Ms. Magazine Blog, Novelspot, The Erotic Readers and Writers Association Blog, Sexis Magazine, On The Issues, Sexy Mama Magazine, and Circlet blog.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS