Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Detour by Sid Love - Excerpt and Review




ABOUT THE BOOK

TITLE: Detour
AUTHOR: Sid Love
PUBLISHER: Cool Dudes Publishing
LENGTH: 226 Pages
GENRE: M/M Romance Thriller
COVER ARTIST: Corneles Bronkhorst




BLURB: Austin Reyes works as a bartender to support his ailing mother in a small town called Eaton. But his life takes a horrible turn when his boss’ son, Caleb, arrives in town and forces himself upon Austin. There is no end to Caleb’s lustful intentions. Austin leaves Eaton and flees to Denver to start a new life when his mother commits suicide after succumbing to depression. There, he meets Dylan Carver.
Dylan is out and proud. He’s also a well-known actor in the porn industry. When haters damage his car, Austin, now homeless and destitute, is injured and Dylan helps him. In the immediate aftermath, Dylan develops more than a passing interest for Austin, and, though they part ways, chance meetings never stop.
Austin lets Dylan in on the secret about his past, but soon realizes that the man who looked so happy on the outside, has his own baggage. Unbeknownst to them, someone is plotting to get Austin killed.
Even while surrounded by danger, Austin and Dylan’s relationship takes a detour that was always meant to be. Will this detour be Dylan’s undoing? Will Austin finally come to terms with his mother’s suicide and follow his own truth? Or will their lives implode?

Trigger Warning: Content includes a rape scene.

EXCERPT

My apartment building had seen better days. It was ancient and looked like it would fall apart any time. The color had worn out over the years and there were cracks here and there, but it was dearest to me anyway. It had been my home for as long as I could remember; well, it wasn’t exactly owned by us — we rented, to be specific — but I speak from the sense of belonging. The owner of the building — Mr. Marshall — had promised to repair it soon. It was a one-story building with four small apartments, two on each floor that faced each other. Our apartment was on the first floor, so, at three in the morning, I took the flight of stairs and walked up to my door soundlessly. I knew better than to wake up our neighbor. I slowly put the key into the lock and opened the door.
Hesitating for some time, I considered again whether to tell my mother about what had happened. I couldn’t hide anything from her, but the explanations would have to wait until morning. I was too tired and sad right now.
I closed the door silently behind me.
The house lights were dim but I could see the light in her bedroom. As always, she was waiting for me to return. She would be curled up in her bed, reading her favorite Nora Roberts novel. She did the same every night before going to sleep.
I headed for her room. Thankfully, I had stopped limping as the pain dissipated; she wouldn’t know anything was wrong right away.
The door was ajar.
I stepped into the room.
…And suddenly it was hard to breathe.
“Mom! Oh, dear God!”
Her lifeless body hung from the ceiling fan.
I rushed to support her feet. Although I knew the worst had happened, I hoped she was alive.
She didn’t move.
Her bare feet were cold.
Her skin, pale like never before.
I couldn’t understand why she would take such an extreme step. She was fine when I had left for work that evening.
My tears flowed freely this time.
That was when I noticed it. The letter on the nightstand.

BUY LINKS

REVIEW


This was such an interesting book. It’s one of those stories where there are many strands, all woven together – no more like a plant with shoots flying out all over the place, sometimes winding around other shoots and sometimes turning around and weaving themselves together in surprising way.

I can’t deny there were times when I lost my place a little as the book tends to skip large periods of time with only a scene break. I found this a bit distracting and, more than once, I was confused about when and where the action was taking place. This was not, however enough to turn me off the story.

I really enjoyed the characters in this because they weren’t perfect.
Austin is severely damaged by experiences that make it difficult for him to have sex and culminate in his mother’s suicide. Dylan is a porn star and an almost recovering alcoholic, Amy is in love with Lianne, hiding it by throwing herself at men, and Lianne is in love with an assassin. They’re all beautifully screwed up.

Austin (Aka Teeny Aka Oz) is my favourite character. He’s damaged and thinks himself weak and pathetic, but he’s not. Just to have kept his sanity and got to where he is proves he’s stronger than he thinks. He’s always thinking of other people and taking responsibility for everyone’s lives. I see a lot of myself in him, which I probably why I empathise.

Dylan is a rock. He’s also flawed, but he’d far more stable and sound than Austin and despite a few false starts he’s steady in his love and support.

Amy and Lianne are hilarious. They are clearly the best of friends. In the beginning, Amy is…to say she throws herself at men is an understatement. When Austin first meets her, she pins him to the sofa and rubs her boobs in his face (Oh no, not boobs! Austin hates boobs, at least when they’re being rubbed on his body).

There are other bit-part actors (probably recruited by Trev through the magic of porn) and they’re all well drawn  and vivid.

The story is generally well paced, although it has a habit of speeding up at times, and making time jumps which catch you unawares.

All in all, this is  a sometimes frustrating but always entertaining book and is thoroughly a romance through and through with not too many bad things happening and a lot of angsty kissing

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Sid Love grew up in one of busiest cities in the world, Mumbai, listening to the excerpts of Indian epics as told by his father every night. While it served as an inspiration back, he has always had an ambitious mind.
In 2007, when he had just turned sixteen, he decided that he would make his lifelong dream come true—to become a well-known, respected author someday.
Ask him and he would refuse to accept that he is obsessed with books. Or movies. Or TV shows. Addicted may even be the right word.
He is a die-hard fan of Jane Austen’s romance novels and loves to reread them time and again.
Find him on -

GIVEAWAY
Winner gets a paperback copy of DETOUR!


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Tuesday, 13 June 2017

REVIEW And All Shall Fade to Black by Layla Dorine



…and All Shall Fade to Black Blurb:

Moving into his new apartment, Jax never expected to have to break up a fight between his new neighbors, resulting in a physical altercation and a visit from the cops. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that it would lead to him meeting Danny, the cute theater manager and playwright that lived next door. Unfortunately, his first impression of Danny and the way he’d cowered away in the fight with his ex, wasn’t exactly a favorable one. Jax already has his own issues to deal with, between his past problems with his mother and the chain of men who’ve floated in and out of her life, his new job as a piercer in his sister’s tattoo shop and his struggles with an eating disorder; the last thing he plans to add to it is a relationship.

Yet Danny isn’t so easy to ignore and when they find themselves bonding after Danny shows him around town, and more when Jax offers to help with sets for his latest play, it becomes harder and harder for him to ignore the connection forming between them. As Jax’s insecurities and food issues grow more and more out of control, he finds himself turning to Danny for help, rather than his longtime friends Callum and Max who lives just downstairs. Danny’s mix of patience, stubbornness, and tough love make it harder and harder for Jax to keep his distance, and somewhere in the course of their daily lives, they find themselves moving from being friends, to being more.



REVIEW

I have to admit right off the bat that this is not the kind of book I usually read. There is a certain amount of darkness about it – well okay there’s quite a lot of darkness but not the kind I usually go for – and at its heart it’s a rather sweet, slow-burn love story. However, I was pulled in without too much resistance as it has a very strong story with plenty of interesting details to keep me amused.
I loved Danny from the start. He’s a playwright who’s basically married to his job, and thankfully not to his abusive boyfriend, Sean who soon became his ex. He can be awkward and uncertain, but he knows what he want and can be uncompromising in holding to his ideals.
I didn’t warm so quickly to Jax, mainly because he was being a judgemental asshole. Thankfully, he grew on me, especially when we started to see his vulnerabilities and how hard he was struggling with his issues, a struggle that got harder through the book. By the end, I was invested and shared every hurt and triumph
The supporting characters were awesome. My favourites were Jax’ sister, and Herman, Danny’s best friend. Steph’s sarcastic humour appealed to me, and Herman was just hilarious.
The story itself wasn’t complex, but there were a lot of little details that made it full and rich. I enjoyed watching Danny’s play come together and Jax’s inner journey was compelling. There were surprises and not-surprises and plenty of interesting little nuggets of information, fun facts that made me think. The best thing about it was how real it felt. There was nothing contrived and gave the feel of peeping into the lives of two interesting people.
We had to wait almost right to the end for a sex scene and when it came it was hot and sweet and fit the story perfectly.
On the whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the story and would certainly read a sequel.


Buy Links



About the Author


LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.


Layla Dorine can be found at:     
                           
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Friday, 9 June 2017

And All Shall Fade to Black Layla Dorine



…and All Shall Fade to Black Blurb:

Moving into his new apartment, Jax never expected to have to break up a fight between his new neighbors, resulting in a physical altercation and a visit from the cops. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that it would lead to him meeting Danny, the cute theater manager and playwright that lived next door. Unfortunately, his first impression of Danny and the way he’d cowered away in the fight with his ex, wasn’t exactly a favorable one. Jax already has his own issues to deal with, between his past problems with his mother and the chain of men who’ve floated in and out of her life, his new job as a piercer in his sister’s tattoo shop and his struggles with an eating disorder; the last thing he plans to add to it is a relationship.

Yet Danny isn’t so easy to ignore and when they find themselves bonding after Danny shows him around town, and more when Jax offers to help with sets for his latest play, it becomes harder and harder for him to ignore the connection forming between them. As Jax’s insecurities and food issues grow more and more out of control, he finds himself turning to Danny for help, rather than his longtime friends Callum and Max who lives just downstairs. Danny’s mix of patience, stubbornness, and tough love make it harder and harder for Jax to keep his distance, and somewhere in the course of their daily lives, they find themselves moving from being friends, to being more.



EXCERPT

All of Jax’s restless shuffling was starting to make Danny a little nervous, especially when he noticed Jax’s eyes dart around the hall. “Hey, what’s going on? Do you want to come in?”
Jax sighed heavily and shook his head. “No thanks, just wanted to say I was sorry. I saw the sticky notes you left on my door, I just, I’m sorry I didn’t respond.”
“No problem, I figured you were busy at the shop and stuff, it’s no big deal. I had free time and thought you might want to hang out if you didn’t have anything else to do.”
That just seemed to make Jax shuffle more.
“I um, didn’t have anything going on. I just didn’t want to hang out is all.”
“Oh.”
“Like I said, I’m sorry. It was really cool of you to come down to the shop and pick me up the other night, you didn’t have to do that. You deserve better than me ignoring you.”
“Yeah,” Danny said. “I do, and I deserve better than an apology too. I deserve to know why you’ve been ignoring me, did I do something wrong? If it was about the way I kissed you in the alley, I’m not sorry. I’d wanted to do that since you kissed me in the hall and to be honest, you sent out some pretty mixed singles with how into it you got kissing me back, ‘cause I sure ended that night thinking you were interested in…something. If you’re worried that I’m looking for something intensely serious between us, don’t be. I just got out of a shitty relationship I went into way too fast. I’m not about to make the same mistake again.”
“Yeah, I-I wasn’t trying to assume anything.”
“Weren’t you? Isn’t that exactly why you ignored me? Look, you made it pretty clear you had relationship issues and so did I. Figured as long as we were being honest with one another, we could see where things might go.”
“I-We could.”
“No, we can’t, because I’ve been down this road one too many times and it always seems to be the guys who at heart, come across as being really nice, nothing like the jerks I actually end up dating. No, you guys blow into someone’s life full of fun and hope and laughter, only to blow right back out again, and the thing that sucks is, I’ve never been able to figure out exactly what it is I’m doing so wrong to make it happen. Maybe you can tell me.”
“I don’t…it’s nothing you did.”
“Oh please, spare me the ‘it isn’t you it’s me’ speech, I’ve about had my fill of that one. What I don’t get though, is why you asked to hang out with me if you were going to turn around and ignore me afterwards? Did I bore you? I did try to warn you that hanging out in a playhouse watching a rehearsal wasn’t going to be very exciting.”
“I enjoyed the rehearsal.”
“Yeah whatever.”
“I did!” Jax snapped, “Whatever other kind of asshole I might be, I don’t lie.”
That gave Danny pause, and he stared up at Jax’s stormy expression, which for the first time was actually fully focused on him.
“Well that’s something at least. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m just done. I’m tired of getting my hopes up. I’m tired of putting myself out there only to get stomped on. I’m tired of feeling like I’m somehow lacking or undeserving of good things because so many guys have shown me over and over again that I am not even friend material. Forgettable, that’s what I am. ‘Oh I’ll call you, we’ll go out sometime, have a coffee, see a movie, hang out.’ But the phone never rings and I get it, I do, I’m just not that interesting. But I’m also not in the mood for another person who wants to play games so thanks for the apology, I think it’s best if we go back to just being neighbors.”


Buy Links



About the Author

LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.


Layla Dorine can be found at:     
                           
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Wednesday, 31 May 2017

COVER REVEAL And All Shall Fade to Black by Leyla Dorine




Coming June 2nd from Encompass Ink

Cover Art for …And All Shall Fade to Black by the awesome Rue Volley who gets my visions even better than I do most times.


…and All Shall Fade to Black Blurb:

Moving into his new apartment, Jax never expected to have to break up a fight between his new neighbors, resulting in a physical altercation and a visit from the cops. Never in his wildest dreams did he imagine that it would lead to him meeting Danny, the cute theater manager and playwright that lived next door. Unfortunately, his first impression of Danny and the way he’d cowered away in the fight with his ex, wasn’t exactly a favorable one. Jax already has his own issues to deal with, between his past problems with his mother and the chain of men who’ve floated in and out of her life, his new job as a piercer in his sister’s tattoo shop and his struggles with an eating disorder; the last thing he plans to add to it is a relationship.

Yet Danny isn’t so easy to ignore and when they find themselves bonding after Danny shows him around town, and more when Jax offers to help with sets for his latest play, it becomes harder and harder for him to ignore the connection forming between them. As Jax’s insecurities and food issues grow more and more out of control, he finds himself turning to Danny for help, rather than his longtime friends Callum and Max who lives just downstairs. Danny’s mix of patience, stubbornness, and tough love make it harder and harder for Jax to keep his distance, and somewhere in the course of their daily lives, they find themselves moving from being friends, to being more.



About the Author

LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.

Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.

Layla Dorine can be found at:     
                           
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Friday, 26 May 2017

Update - Authors for Chechnea

The recently revealed situation in Chechnea, where hundreds of gay men of all ages have been arrested or persecuted simply for being gay, has shaken the LGBT community. While many of us feel helpless in the face of such atrocities, some have gone further and done something about it.

Dale Cameron Lowri, and others, set up a website purely in order to save lives. In a recent auction, they raised $2,709, an amazing result. 

It's still not too late to raise even more. Some generous LGBT writers have donated all royalties on books purchased before 31 May to the fund. There's still time to participate. Visit the site and check out the books - then go and buy them. You will be contributing to a very worthy cause, and getting a great book into the bargain. Happy reading everyone.

https://dalecameronlowry.com/writers-and-publishers-for-lgbt-chechnya/

Writers who would like to contribute but missed the boat, please take a look at the site as here is still time


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Wednesday Briefs - Demon Chapter 48


We're back again -Tian, Castien and me. We left our boys having fun and that's where we pick up but the fun doesn't last long

Castien’s wonder at every new thing he comes across is exciting. At first, he was hesitant, shy of the attention showered on him by every part of our environment, from the merfolk, to the small animals who sniffed and climbed and fell asleep on his lap. Fey folk, from the tiny flower-fairies, to the gnarled root-dwellers ran to-and-fro bringing disparate tidbits and cool, refreshing cordials for his delight. When he waved them off, professing to be full, they brought him sweet truffles and candied flowers.
Of course they brought these thing to me, too, but I could not have found sweeter nourishment among any of their rich fare than to drink in the pleasure and excitement on the face of my love. Every now-and-again, he looks up at me and his eyes shine brighter than the scales of the mermaids who won’t leave him alone. They want to hand-feed him, constantly touching his golden hair.
Malik is getting his fair share of attention, too. His purr fills the clearing and he submits to petting with good grace, even when the little ones tangle his hair.
For my part, I wish we could get on with it. The events of the last few days are catching up with me and I just want to go home. I want nothing more than to sleep in my own bed wrapped in the arms of my love.
Soon, my dear one. Soon
The voice drops into my mind like golden sunshine. It is not the warm, comforting glow of Malik’s presence, but a bright, light that warms me from the inside out.
“Come, let us retire to somewhere more private, that we might speak freely.”
The myriad creatures who had been so absorbed in our attention, cried loud protest when The Lady bade us rise and follow her. We pass again into the garden where the statues forever pour the crystal water into the pool. Malik pads silently at my side as The Lady leads us behind, to where an opening in the wall leads to a pleasant garden and thence to a simple, single story structure with no door.
Inside, it is cool and silent and I had not realized how much I’d needed just that until the house envelops me in sleepy shade, muting sounds and enveloping me solitude. Except that I am not alone. Castien’s fingers lace with mine and his guileless gaze draws me into its bottomless depth as we move through the hall into a room that contains little finery, but a plethora of soft cusions that we can lose ourselves in.
Sinking with a sigh onto a mound of gold and russet silk, Castien tugs on my hand and I only too pleased to settle myself beside him. Malik circles for a few moments, then plops down with his head in Castien’s lap.
The Lady poises delicately on a chair that could have been made from spun glass. She smiles, but the smile is full of sadness.
We wait while she observes us in silence. I sense Castien tense, and I, too begin to worry about what news she has.
“My dears,” she says in a voice as gentle as a summer breeze. You have much to do and time grows short. The situation in the South is worse than anyone knows. Sorcerers are weaving spells and they have almost concluded their work. One day soon, they will come and all will fall before them. The old forests will burn and the very stone of The Kingdom will rise against it.”
The words fall like burning brands into my mind, searing me with images of death and decay. Before I realize, I am on my feet, my hand clenched at my side and the stench of burning flesh in my nose.
“Be easy,” The Lady says. “There is yet time.”
“My father can raise an army.” Castien says. “We can march within the week.”
The Lady nods her head sadly. “No army can stand against them,” she says. “The land itself will rise against them.”
“Then what? You are telling us there’s no hope?”
“There is hope. There is one thing that can stand against them. One thing that can strike at their very heart. We can defeat them before they cross our borders.”
“Then tell us. What is this thing? We will find it. Build it. Whatever it takes.”
Castien tugs gently at my sleeve and I glance down. His eyes are bleak, his face pale. “It’s us,” he says. “The weapon is us.”
Weakness overtakes me and I sink to the cushions. Malik wriggles between us, nudging us both in turn with his massive muzzle.
Fear not. I am with you.
I have smile at the surety of the cat, as if his presence changes everything. As if he alone can protect us.
“I don’t understand.”
“She made us like this,” Castien says and there is bitterness in his tone. “All of that – what happened to us - was a trick. They…that…that Druid, tricked us into going through the flames so they could create weapons to fight for them – us.”
I gaze at The Lady with shock. “Is this true?”
“I cannot pretend otherwise.”
“But why? Why did you trick us? I would have gone willingly.”
“I would not have.”
I tear my gaze from The Lady’s calm, blue eyes and gaze into green eyes that are far from calm. A tiny flame of anger burns hot behind each pupil.
“How could you do this to me – to us? To change us like this. To use us. I-I can’t…”
Castien gets to his feet and begins to pace, as if his anger is too great to be contained by stillness.
Finally, he pauses before her and draws himself up to his full height. “I will not be treated like this. I will not bend to your will. Let me go and will return to my kingdom and prepare for war.”

Now go read the other fantastic flashers. Don't forget, if you're new to the stories, to go back and read from the start. Most bloggers have put them in the same place for you. Just like I have :D - mostly


Friday, 5 May 2017

FREE FOR 5 DAYS ONN AMAZON Dawn to Dusk by Alina Popescu



Edi’s life is made up of precious moments. 

That first encounter with Robert in rural Romania at eleven. A summer spent together in the same setting a year later. Their first text exchange in high school. The first sexual experience. The first heartbreak—the second and third and fourth chance. The point of total breakdown and the despair of failing. More love than anyone could have warned him about. 

No matter how much time passes, no matter how different their paths, every meeting brings Edi and Robert closer together. Those stolen moments shine brighter than any. Yet loving Robert is not easy, not when Edi wants to be true to himself and is met with dishonesty. Or when Robert keeps parading new conquests and ignores Edi more often than not. 

Edi has always loved Robert, but he must decide if his journey leads to or away from his childhood friend. Is it true love or is Edi just unable to let go?


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Wednesday Briefs Demon Chapter 47


It seems like it's been quite a while since I've been properly in the swing. So much going on. With Efan's exams right around the corner things are settling for me, if not for him so I hope things will fall into a pattern again. Anyway, here's the next step in our boys' journey. We're teetering on the brink of being thrown in at the deep end. Enjoy the peace while you can.

Without the comforting presence of Malik and Tian, I don’t think I would be able to walk these woods. The trees watch me, the plants talk to each other and I know I catch my name more than once. Even the birds swoop and hover all around me. The wood is alive and I get the impression that without my guardians I would be swallowed whole and lost forever.
The path is pleasant enough, clear of obstruction, to the fore and above, so it is bathed in unobstructed sunlight. It’s uncomfortable to note that the sun is on a rapid decline and it will surely be nightfall by the time we return from whenever we are going. I don’t want to think about that. Malik tells me it’s not far but he’s been saying that for a while and it’s clear Tian is unsettled too. He doesn’t really know where we’re going either. Am I crazy for putting my trust in an overgrown kitten.
I find myself fondly petting Malik’s head, memories of my mother’s kittens floating through my mind. It’s a shock to remember that, unlike those kittens, one swipe of a paw, one nick from a tooth would bring unbearable agony and probably death. Malik is no kitten.
We are here,” Malik purrs inside my head, and I look around, confused. Nothing has changed. We’re still on the path, walking through the same scenery. There’s no side-path, no clearing. In fact, the road ahead seems to be blocked by a tree-fall. The thought of plunging into the undergrowth, searching for a way around, is not a welcoming one.
“The road’s blocked. Can’t we just go back?”
Tian’s fingers close around mine. His hand is so warm. Or is mine cold? “Are you afraid?”
I straighten my spine and glare at him. “No, of course not. I trust you, and Malik. I’m just…. It’s going to start getting dark soon. Should we really be wandering around in the woods? We might get lost.”
Tian laughs and it annoys me. How dare he mock my discomfiture. He might be used to wandering wild in the wood, but he should know I am not.
As if sensing my mood, Tian stops laughing and lays his arm across my shoulders, drawing me in to the warmth of his side.
“I’ve spent almost all my life wandering this wood, or others like it. I know every path, every glade. I will not lead you into danger. I swear it. Light or dark, I will always keep you on a safe path. Do you trust me?”
I can’t help a nervous glance around. It seems as if the whole wood – plants, animals and especially the trees – have paused and are awaiting my response. One old tree close-by creaks as it bends toward us. I could swear craggy brows are drawn together in a frown. I swallow and drag my eyes back to Tian’s. I nod slowly, unable to trust my voice not to betray my lie.
Tian sees, of course he does, and he smiles gently. “Maybe we should break you in gradually. Tomorrow, I’ll introduce you to some of my friends.”
I have to wonder whether those friends have roots.
The crack of wood has me jumping half out of my skin. I whirl to find the trees lying across our path are moving. In moments, trunks that had been leaning drunkenly, barring our way, become rod-straight, with the bearing of soldiers. Tree soldiers? Here, I would believe anything.
A shadow passes over me as we pass through a dappled gateway. I glance up to find the tree gazing back through large, moss-green eyes. I freeze, but Tian urges me forward.
Dragging my eyes from the tree, I freeze again, for a different reason.
We are in a clearing filled with life, but such life as I have never seen. The dominant colours are red, pink and purple. Just ahead, the path forks. The right fork circles a clear pool, fed by a waterfall tumbling from a sheer cliff. The pool teems with life, from darting surface skimmers to what can only - from the bright flash of scales, the laughter and the vivid tangle of floating hair - be merfolk.
While I gaze, stupefied, Tian draws me away along the left-hand path. This passes beneath a curtain of willows into another world of peace and serenity, cut off from the vibrant one we’d just left.
Overhanging branches cut out much of the sun, creating a cool, green arbour. Just ahead, the road widens to circle another, much smaller pool fed from the mouths of stone lions; one on either side. Beside the lion, with one hand on its head are two statues that rise at least eight foot high. On the left is a horned man, on the right a lovely woman. In the centre, at the far side of the water is a stone chair, or throne. Someone sits on it, gazing calmly into the mirror pool. As we approach, she raises her head and smiles. I have seen her before.
As I stare, open mouthed, the woman rises and hurries around the path to greet us. Her touch is warm and friendly – on my skin and my mind. Her embrace is coming home. Her kiss on my cheek intoxicates me and I smile, returning the hug, a sudden rush of joy bursts forth as laughter from my lips. Tian laughs in his turn, and Malik purrs and falls to the ground, rolling in the grass. The Lady laughs as she kneels to scratch his belly.
When she rises, she holds out her hands. “Come, my children. We must talk, but first let us feast. All of us are excited and we cannot deny your brothers and sisters the opportunity to break bread with you.”

Brothers and sisters? Initial shock gives way to understanding when I realize she speaks metaphorically not literally – I hope. There are only so many shocks I can take.

Now check out the rest of the flashers this week

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Reviewers Roundup Week 2 - The Face in the Window


Join the Reviewer Roundup
Discover new books from your favourite authors
Discover new authors: new favourites

And all for the price of a review.

For more information


Reviewer Roundup is basically an open call for readers to pick up books from favourite and new authors, all donated for free with the only expectation being an honest review. The event runs over two weeks. The first week is for novellas (up to 50,000 words) and the second for novels. I have two books entered, one in each week.

In the second week I have, for your critical investigation





Blurb

There are those who can’t see and those who don’t want to, but we’re all blind sometimes.

Ace is blind and Haze is damaged. They live in different worlds and not everyone is happy when they become boyfriends. Haze is struggling with the after effects of a traumatic event in his past that has left him at the mercy of an uncontrollable rage. When Ace’s brother steps up his campaign of torment against Ace, they’re all in danger from Haze’s outbursts, though it isn’t until things get completely out of control that the healing can really begin. But with Ace unseeing and Haze perched on the edge of a cliff, will either of them survive long enough to benefit?


Excerpt

The call from the patio startled me. I had almost forgotten that the adults were even there. Particularly, I had forgotten that Uncle Colin was there.
Almost as soon as we turned the corner Uncle Colin was on us. “There you are. I thought you had kidnapped our special guest.” He grabbed Ace’s arm in what for him passed as a fatherly manner and towed him across the patio. “Come and try a burger. Fennell’s a genius with the barbecue. No hard feelings, eh?”
“Hard feelings? What the fuck…?” I could feel the anger rise again.
“It’s all right, Haze.” Ace turned his head to ‘look’ at me over his shoulder. He was grinning. “I’m gay. I’m used to fucking arseholes.”
There was absolute silence, a ‘did I really hear what I thought I heard?’ moment, and then Uncle Colin exploded. It broke the shocked silence and everyone dissolved.
“Boy,” Uncle Colin spluttered slapping Ace on the back so hard he almost sent him sprawling flat on his face, “for a blind, gay freak you’re one hell of a man.” He turned Ace towards him, holding him firmly by the shoulders. His face was very serious, and that was worrying on Uncle Colin.
“I like you, Ace. I like you a lot. I know I can be a complete arsehole; it’s not something I’m particularly proud of, but neither is it something I apologise for. I rarely get it pointed out to me, and when I do, I find it refreshing because it’s honesty. Yes, I like you. You and Haze make a great couple. I think you could be good for each other. Welcome to the family.” Then he hugged Ace tightly and let him go, turning to grab a plate and started helping himself to the barbecue.
I hurried to Ace’s side and slid my arm around his waist. “You’re fucking insane, do you know that?”
“It’s been mentioned.”
“I can’t believe you said that.”
“I can’t believe your uncle groped my arse when he hugged me.”

I stifled an explosive laugh. “You really are part of the family.”

Check out my other blog and website for more exclusive excerpts

http://cherylheadford.blogspot.co.uk/
http://cherylheadford.com/

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Reviewer Roundup Week 1 Memories of Forgotten Love


Join the Reviewer Roundup
Discover new books from your favourite authors
Discover new authors: new favourites

And all for the price of a review.

For more information


Reviewer Roundup is basically an open call for readers to pick up books from favourite and new authors, all donated for free with the only expectation being an honest review. The event runs over two weeks. The first week is for novellas (up to 50,000 words) and the second for novels. I have two books entered, one in each week.

In the first week I have, for your critical investigation


Memories of Forgotten Love is a Young Adult book about Noah, a boy who wakes from a coma after three months, to a mystery.

I wrote this novella to explore something I had been reading quite a bit about. That is, the way coma was depicted in popular culture - movies, television shows, novels etc. Basically, what the articles and reports were saying was that coma, and in particular the process of waking from one, is very rarely depicted in anything like an accurate way. People simply don't just open their eyes and get on with it. I set myself a challenge to write something more realistic, and this is it.

A note of caution. This book was published at the very beginning of my career as a published author and I have learned a lot since then. Please also bear in mind that the book is meant for 14 - 20 year olds and the characters are meant to be immature.

Blurb

Noah wakes from a coma with no memory of who he is. As his memories return they become stranger and more sinister at every turn. He begins to suspect the accident in which he was injured wasn't an accident at all, and refuses to accept what everyone is saying that he threw himself off his balcony in a suicide attempt. It just doesn't feel like something he would do. Struggling to come to terms with the shocking story he gradually uncovers, he's helped by his friends. Yet, his best friend, Luke is acting strangely, leaving Noah to wonder just what exactly he isn't telling him.

Excerpt

Gradually, as the days and then weeks passed, I began to make more sense of the world.  I learned that I had been in an accident, suffered an injury to my brain and been in a coma for three months.  For much of that time, at least in the early days I had hovered on the point of death, tipping over more than once.  No one had expected me to wake up.   But I had, and more than that I was beginning to recover.  My brain was slowly coming back to life but there were parts of it that were damaged beyond repair.  I was going to have to re learn a lot of things that previously I had taken for granted, things like speaking, walking, reading, writing.
                The injury had been mainly to the right side of my brain which had resulted, strangely, in a considerable amount of weakness in my left side.  My arm and leg were useless for weeks and, in the beginning, it had seemed that I might have been permanently paralysed.  Apparently though, I was too stubborn, too much of a fighter to let that happen and very, very gradually it all started coming to life again.  In those early weeks I didn’t really understand what was happening, which was a blessing. 
                Looking back now it is like I was still asleep.  I didn’t wake up until a long time later.... in some ways I still haven’t.  But then it was all very present, very intense.  After the first couple of days when I seemed to forget things even as they happened, every day I learned something more, every day I pushed the limits a little further.  It seemed that, although many of my abilities had waned, my capacity to learn had, if anything increased exponentially.   I only had to be told something once, shown something once and it was there forever.  Of course the physical matters, learning to walk and talk took time but I picked up reading in no time and writing was a doddle.
                People came to see me.  They came all the time, every day, and I remember thinking that it was very nice of them to spend all that time with me, a stranger.  It didn’t occur to me to ask why they came.  A lot of things didn’t occur to me at the time.  And then someone mentioned that I was lucky to have such a devoted family.  Family?  I had a family?  I could recall what a family was but I didn’t remember having one.  It took another day or so to make the connection between the idea of having a family and realising that the people who came to see me were my family - my mother, my father, my sister.
                I had already worked out that Noah was me. That had taken a while, but the sudden realisation that these kind people were actually connected to me, that the woman who stroked my hair and cried all the time was the one who had given birth to me... wow that was a shocker.  It says a lot for my state of mind at the time that the thing that shocked me was finding out that these people were my family and not that I had not known that.
                After the first few weeks, when my condition was deemed to be stable and I was off most of the drugs, apart from the painkillers. Oh my god I would never have gone anywhere without those. When I was eating and actually able to pee for myself, although unfortunately not in a toilet, I was transferred to a rehabilitation centre and handed over to experts in the art of torture, who surely would have felt at home amongst the inquisitors in Spain during the inquisition.
                Every day my body was pummelled and pounded, twisted and bent, straightened and tortured in every possible way.  I was also bombarded with stimulation of all kinds intended to seek out and wake up whatever parts of my brain still survived in suspended animation somewhere.
                For the first couple of weeks I was there my ‘family’ did not come and, to be honest, I found that a relief.  Most nights I cried myself to sleep from exhaustion and pain and my days passed in a blur of physiotherapy, speech and language therapy, massage, swimming, anything and everything to stretch my body and mind and build up what had been torn down.


                By the time I was allowed visitors I could sit up in a chair and even manage a few simple sentences, more if I was writing.  I was so proud of myself, my achievements, my pathetic stammering and feeble attempts to gain back control over my own body.  My mother cried even more, my father looked grim and somehow angry and my sister couldn’t look at me.  After that they didn’t come every day and I was glad.

Check out my other blog and website for more exclusive excerpts

Rainbow Warriors
Angel Feathers