All’s fair in love and war: The Great Village Bun Fight

Giant pumpkin (CC0 Creative Commons)

I have this, most likely completely false, idea of  Brits competing in the strangest ways – giant pumpkins and crazy perfect gardens – and now I know they also do it with cupcakes. Compete, that is.

We do it here too…I think. They at least have people competing in cake-baking on TV so I’m assuming we have cupcakes too. I would say there is one big difference, though, one thing I really love about the picture I’m painting of the UK, and that’s these village traditions. We don’t really have that here, not in that way at least.

By now I bet you’re wondering what the heck it is I’m talking about. I’m talking about The Great Village Bun Fight by Debbie McGowan. This is a story about Henry, who begat Herny, who begat Henry, who begat Henry and just so you know I begat a Henry too. If he becomes a baker, we’ll see.

So Henry Jones started a bakery in 1874, and all the Henrys after him were bakers too, until Henry the 8th got into a bit of trouble and Henry the 7th refused to change Henry Jones and Son to Henry Jones and Daughter – it has to do with tradition you see. An end of an era,  which lead to THE Village Bakery opening and left the Joneses without any bakery to call their own.

But as Henry the 9th is denied a wedding cake when he’s to marry his partner because Margaret, owner of THE Village Bakery, can’t give her blessing, things escalate.

This is such a lovely story. I snuggled up with a blanket and a cup of coffee and followed the battle of the bakeries until only one remained :D. The Great Villiage Bun Fight is sweet and funny – the narrator my absolute favourite – and I had this Wallace and Gromit feeling – that’s a compliment, just to make it clear. Wallace and Gromit guard the giant vegetables in their village just as the Joneses and Sharpes guard their giant bun LOL.

40801802All’s fair in love and war. But not in baking.

Part of Seasons of Love Anthology

Friday Reads: Machete Betty and the Office Sharks

It’s Friday, and I was this (imagine me holing up thumb and forefinger really close together) close to skipping writing a blog post today. But here I am, well caffeinated and ready to tell you about an excellent author I’ve kidnapped – no, not really, but he’s become a good friend of mine.

CC0 Creative Commons

A little over a month ago Seasons of Love was released, and one of the authors in the anthology is Neptune Flowers.

Machete Betty and the Office Sharks is one of the most bizarre stories I’ve read this year – in a good way!

Tim is part of a highly professional team trained to spot anomalies, in other words, mass hypnosis and stuff. They’re bored working at their office, but no one has noticed anything strange…or maybe but…

Things escalate pretty fast, even the shark in the screensaver begins to act weird, and soon the team are up to all kinds of things. It can’t be described, it must be read!

It’s hot, it’s surreal, it’s an office romance, and it has a merman. Yup, it’s true, a chain-smoking merman.

And while all this is really really good, the best of all is that Mr Flowers will join Amy Spector and me in this year’s Buried Desires. The manuscripts are with our publisher and have you noticed things getting a little scarier? The evenings are darker, the mist is rolling in over the fields, and there are strange noises here and there. That’s because Halloween is getting closer, people. Ghosts, zombies, and serial killers are on the way…

40801600Tim is in the A team, professionally trained to investigate allegations of the potential mass hypnosis of the nation… But Tim is bored and horny. Who wouldn’t be? The office is full of idiots, and summer just keeps getting hotter and hotter. Reality starts to blur, screensavers come to life, and before he can say jiggyjig, he finds himself cavorting with a chain-smoking foul-mouthed merman.

Tim’s training is forgotten as he becomes immersed in fishy hedonism and office shenanigans. Can he save the day? Or will the team be forever lost in shameful acts of bouncybounce?

Find out in this tail of office boredom and surreal fun.

Warning! This story does not reflect realistic relationships with mermen or sharks.

Part of Seasons of Love Anthology

Friday Reads: Angel and Firebird by Nell Iris

I picked up Angel and Firebird by Nell Iris a while ago, but I didn’t get around to reading it until now. I love a good short story, love that despite having a thousand things to do I can read a story from start to end and for a few minutes laugh or cry alongside a character. This is more of a cry story…definitely a cry story.

Angel-and-FirebirdPhoenix lost his lover, Gabriel, in a hate crime five years ago and hasn’t been able to move on. How can you? He’s functioning, goes to see his parents every week, works out, goes to work. He does what’s expected of him, but he isn’t living.

At night, his dreams are filled with memories and images of Gabriel and waking up is tearing him apart. Then there is a fire and Phoenix has to decide if he’s gonna leave the flat he and Gabriel shared to save himself…or not.

There are some heartbreaking moments in this one so if you’re in the mood for a good cry, snuggle up with some tissues.

39853288Five years ago, Phoenix lost his lover Gabriel, his angel, in a horrific hate crime. All he wanted was to follow him into death and he struggled a long time trying to get his life back together. All this time later he still hasn’t been able to put the past behind him and forget about the love of his life.

On the anniversary of Gabriel’s death—and 25th birthday—Phoenix’ apartment building catches fire. Will Phoenix do the reasonable thing, or will he rise from the ashes to reunite with his beloved angel?

Friday Reads: Winter Blossoms by Paul Iasevoli

A Friday Reads post…on a Saturday…again. I need to rethink this whole posting on Fridays, Friday is my most hectic day of the week, and while there is this thing called scheduling I have a hard time motivating myself to blog beforehand.

This morning I got up to a quiet house, almost. My husband took the kids crawfishing, so it’s just me, the cats, the fishes, the hamster, and the dog at home. I went for a short walk with the dog, made myself breakfast and a big pot of coffee and sat down to read Winter Blossoms by Paul Iasevoli.

Chris is a twenty-something young man struggling to get over a failed relationship as he’s looking for love in the New York bars. Normally, I don’t read YA or NA books, I’ve lived through the struggle of becoming an adult, I don’t want to be reminded of what it was like LOL, but this story shouldn’t be missed!

It’s so carefully crafted it almost made me feel bad for the way I haste through my stories when I write. I’ve never been to New York, and I was just a baby during the 1980s, and yet it felt as if I was there walking the streets with Chris. Beautifully done!

40801877Chris, a naïve twenty-four-year-old, breaks up with the first man he’s ever lived with. In the months that follow, he travels from Queens to The Hamptons, Manhattan to Brooklyn to find love. In the process, he discovers more about himself and realizes the man he hoped to meet has been in front of him the entire time.

Winter Blossoms will take you on a ride through the streets and subways of New York City. Every stop along the way highlights the 1980s’ vibrant, gay nightlife. Part nostalgic romp, part coming-of-age story, Winter Blossoms will delight the reader as it comes into full bloom.

Part of Seasons of Love Anthology

Teaser Tuesday: Silent Woods

I’ve been a bad blogger! Meaning I haven’t done shit in ages. But, today is the day that’s gonna change. I blame the lovely weather we’ve had here in Sweden these last weeks and my garden for stealing me away from the screen – I go voluntarily I should add. Few things make me happier than staring at the leaves of my Habanero Dulce or smelling the flowers on my lemon tree. My husband thinks I’m insane, and he might be right.

But, I’m not writing today to talk about my garden – though, I could go on for ages (my Ophelia mini aubergines are bearing fruit! LOL I had to buy them since they were named Ophelia).

The reason I’m writing is that it’s Tuesday and now when we’re getting close to midsummer I wanted to do a post on Silent Woods.

I’ve written a couple blog posts about the Silent Woods before, but the last one was back in 2016, so I figured I’d do it again. In Silent Woods we meet The Neck, a male water nymph from the Scandinavian folklore who is as his strongest around midsummer. Beware…

A married couple with two kids go camping, but what lurks in the woods is not what they’d thought they’d encounter. There, in the middle of a lake, is a man who can make the forest go quiet simply by being, and he can control you merely by playing his violin.

The wet spider webs and the light mist that could be seen between the trees should’ve made a beautiful picture, but the glade didn’t feel as it had the day before. It felt closed off, like someone had put a giant glass bubble over us. The woods were silent, no rustling winds, and no tweeting birds. The eerie stillness that surrounded us was almost oppressive. I couldn’t help but whisper as I turned to Anders, “Is it always this quiet in the mornings?”

Anders frowned a little. “I’m sure the birds will start to sing as soon as I make my way out of here.” That did not make me feel any better. “Probably just means that there isn’t anything close by to alert them.”

I didn’t buy that. Birds sang in the morning. And I could tell he only said it to comfort me—his gaze kept searching the tree line, and he had a little crease between his brows. He lit the mini stove, gave me what I’m sure was supposed to be a reassuring smile, and headed out of the campsite.

I couldn’t shake the unnerving feeling, and it only grew more intense the longer Anders was away. It wouldn’t take him more than twenty minutes or so to cover the distance. He was a practised runner, and this little round was nothing compared to what he normally ran in the mornings. Still, I found no comfort in that. I tried to distract myself by preparing breakfast on the stove.

24779481Do you believe in myths and ancient creatures?

Daniel has never felt the need to leave the city behind, so when his husband suggests a camping trip for their holiday he agrees with reluctance. Even before they step out of the car, Daniel has the feeling of something being wrong. Something about the forest is turning his stomach into knots.

He wants nothing more than returning to the safety of their home, and when their five-year-old son goes missing his fears turn into full-blown panic. What awaits them in the depths of the forest is far more sinister than anything Daniel ever could have imagined. Will they be able to find their son before it’s too late?


FridayReads | Hexbreaker

HexbreakerHave you read about Cicero the cat and his witch? In Hexbreaker by Jordan L. Hawk we’re taken on a tour through the 1890’s New York but with a little extra, like witches and hexes and familiars.

I loved this story, just like I have many of Ms Hawks stories before it, and I’m always thinking I should read them all but then I don’t – I save them. I’ve had Hexbreaker for a long time but I haven’t read it, it’s just been sitting there like a backup book for when I can’t find anything to read.

Tom grew up in a tunnel gang, he’s a hexbreaker so no hexes could keep him out, and that made it easy to steal things. But we all know that nothing good comes from stealing, right? So Tom needs to hide, he fixes himself a new identity, becomes a copper without any magic…until his past and a hex he never wanted to see again find him and he has to turn to the witch police.

There he meets Cicero, an unbonded cat familiar. Cicero needs to bond with a witch before he’s thrown out from on the streets, but he will not bond with Tom…even if it turns out that he really is Cicero’s witch. He will help him solve the case with the hex, though.

I loved this world of hexes, witches, and their familiars.

29505845Will a dark history doom their future together?

New York copper Tom Halloran is a man with a past. If anyone finds out he once ran with the notorious O’Connell tunnel gang, he’ll spend the rest of his life doing hard time behind bars. But Tom’s secret is threatened when a horrible murder on his beat seems to have been caused by the same ancient magic that killed his gang.

Cat shifter Cicero is determined to investigate the disappearance of one friend and the death of another, even though no one else believes the cases are connected. When the trail of his investigation crosses Tom’s, the very bohemian Cicero instinctively recognizes the uncultured Irish patrolman as his witch. Though they’re completely unsuited to one another, Cicero has no choice but to work alongside Tom…all the while fighting against the passion growing within.

Tom knows that taking Cicero as his familiar would only lead to discovery and disaster. Yet as the heat between them builds, Tom’s need for the other man threatens to overcome every rational argument against becoming involved.

But when their investigation uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all of New York, Tom must make the hardest decision of his life: to live a lie and gain his heart’s desire, or to confess the truth and sacrifice it all.

Friday Reads | Free Falling

Free-FallingI saw Free Falling by S.E. Jakes in my list of ebooks and thought ‘yeah, I’ll read me some Tom and Prophet’…make that Mick and Blue. I’ve read this before and yet I can’t remember it. I always remember books I’ve read – or so I thought. And it’s not that I don’t enjoy it, so I really should remember it.

Mick is a former CIA agent working for EE and Blue is a thief. Things turn tricky when Blue is drugged by drinking from a glass meant for Mick. There are bad guys, drugs, and then there is Prophet – you got to love Prophet, it’s a rule.

When I went to check what books I had read by S.E. Jakes I realised that one, they were more than I thought, and two, there are others I don’t remember. What’s up with that?! For example, I remember Mal and Cillian from Prophet and Tom’s adventures but I can’t remember having read their story…apparently I have.

If you like stubborn men who are a lot more emotional they want to let on, who kill bad guys and make stuff explode, you should read the books in the EE Ltd. Universe.

51oigfjwmelFrom New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Tyler, writing as SE Jakes….

Sometimes falling in love is the most dangerous thing of all.

Blue is a thief who lives for adrenaline and danger. And when he meets Mick, a mercenary, he’s hit with a buzz of attraction like the rush of a high-rise job without a safety rope. But after making plans to get together, Mick leaves him hanging, and Blue vows never again.

A year later, Mick watches helplessly as Blue stumbles into the middle of one of Mick’s jobs. Risking his cover and their lives, Mick saves Blue and cares for him as he recuperates, but neither man has any idea how to handle the intimacy this forces them into.

Once Blue is safe, Mick redoubles his efforts to take down the drug lord responsible — and disappears. Blue goes after him, determined to return the favor and rescue the man he loves, no matter the cost.