Friday Reads | The Gate

The-gateToday I’ve read The Gate by A.L. Lester – a story that’s a little outside my comfort zone…or I don’t know if comfort zones have anything to do with it. But I usually run for the hills when I see something about WW1 or WW2. And I hardly ever read historical, and I don’t really do demons if I can help it (though I’ve read a few good ones) and gates make me think of demons and fae. So why I picked this one up, I don’t really know, but I did. I should perhaps point out that I’m not sorry I did.

Matty comes home from the war to find out his brother is dying. The local doctor thinks it’s cancer, but it’s not. The brother is obsessed with his books and papers, and before he dies he tells Matty to keep the gate shut and burn the books. Matty doesn’t really listen, though, and one night Rob lets him know there is something strange going on.

I liked that we get to see the beginning of a relationship between Matty and Rob while they’re trying to solve the mystery with the books, the gate, and the death of Matty’s brother. The story is short but well written – give it a try.

36949972It’s 1918, and Matty returns home to the family farm from the trenches only to find his brother Arthur dying of an unknown illness. The local doctor thinks it might be cancer, but Matty becomes convinced it’s connected to the mysterious books his brother has left strewn around the house.

Matty confides his suspicions in his friend Rob, a hired hand on the farm and potential lover. Rob has found something that looks like a gate of some kind, something Arthur referenced in his papers which may rest at the heart of his illness. But a gate to where?

This short story introduces the world and characters in A.L. Lester’s novel, Lost in Time.


Re-Reading Scarred by J.M. Snyder

ScarredJMSnyderI think I might make 2018 the year of re-reads. I’ve already read a bunch of old M/F PNR books this year, actual books not ebooks.

Yesterday I was scrolling through my ebook library on my iPad and saw Scarred by J.M. Snyder. It’s one of those books that I really like despite knowing that perhaps I shouldn’t LOL.

My guilty pleasure is reading romance books with the healing power of sperm trope. Give me an abused MC and an alpha man and some gruesome enemies and you’ll have me hooked.

Dae owns a diner that he runs together with his sister. In the post-apocalyptic world the story takes place in there are regulators, thugs who rule the streets and the people living there. Dea has endured terrible abuse to save his sister from the regulators but one day it’s not McBane, the man ruling Dae’s part of town, who steps in through the door.

Coby still demands the same treatment as McBane did, but when Dae takes him to the small room where he usually is beaten half to death and raped nothing of what he’s expected to happen happens.

You get what kind of story this is, right? Yeah, I did too the first time I read it…the second I was just making sure LOL.

4822147Biker gangs known as regulators rule the streets of a war-torn city with hate and pain — their cruelty is etched into every inch of Dae’s battered body. He has never known anything but hurt from the hands of men … until he meets Coby.
When the new regulator rides into town and takes an interest in him, Dae is unwilling to believe that anyone who is a regulator can be a gentle, caring lover.
Is Coby strong enough to protect Dae and his sister Delia when there’s hell to pay in the form of McBane?

Friday Reads | Offense and Satisfaction

Offense&SatisfactionIt’s not often you see me read historicals but I’ve been looking at Offense and Satisfaction by Vanessa Mulberry several times and thought it was time.

We’re in England, the year is 1722 and Hugh Galpin is pointing a gun at his lifelong friend (and love of his life), Owen Mowbray. Hugh has to hide his feelings but shooting Owen is more than he can bear.

This is just a short tale, 3.8k to be exact, but there is a duel, a crazy relative, and love – what else can you wish for?

I really liked Hugh and Owen, there was a chuckle when I read the last line. I’m a big fan of short fiction but I wouldn’t have minded if this was a little longer.

Book Cover Offense and Satisfaction by Vanessa MulberryEngland, 1772. Hugh Galpin has loved Owen Mowbray too long to want to hurt him. Now he finds himself on his way to a duel that might see one or both of them dead, he is torn between the word of a family he barely knows and a man he has trusted all his life. But after years spent living alone, he is not ready to give up his newly found cousins no matter what they have done.

Offense and Satisfaction is a 3,800-word Historical Gay (MM) Romance with a HFN ending.

Friday Reads | That Rat, Carter Janson

ThatRatIt’s time! If you’re looking for a fun read, look no further – That Rat, Carter Janson has been released.

Those of you who have hung around for awhile know that Amy Spector is a dear friend of mine – she sent me an inflatable rainbow coloured unicorn horn for Christmas, you don’t get better than friends than that – and I’ve been there on the sidelines, watching this story come to life.

Felix Peake is an expert in Mesopotamian art and one day he’s asked to reauthenticate a Sumerian tablet. The problem is that he discovers it’s fake and he knows just who the forger is – Carter Janson, that rat bastard! He has no choice but to find Carter and put things right.

I loved how both Felix and Carter are fighting the attraction to each other (without great success I might add) not to mention the number of times this story had me laughing. I love Ms Spector’s writing style and I wouldn’t be sad if there happened to be another story about one of the characters we get to meet. You should definitely check it out!

51c2bgu-jiqlEvery man has secrets, but some are bigger than others….

Felix Peake escaped a shady past to carve out a successful career as an expert in Mesopotamian art and gain the respect of the Chicago art community. But when an assistant curator—a man Felix could easily see himself falling for—asks him to reauthenticate a cuneiform tablet to avoid a looming scandal, Felix’s carefully constructed life could crumble.

The tablet is a fake, and Felix is intimately familiar with the artist. Master forger Carter Janson—Felix’s ex and first love—disappeared from his life six years before without a word of explanation. Now, to hold his world together, Felix must find the original tablet, steal it back, and replace the forgery—all before the museum exhibit debuts. It’ll mean slipping back into a role Felix wanted to leave behind and risking his promising future. But even then, he can’t do it alone. He’ll have to confront that rat, Carter Janson.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.


DazzleMeI thought I should do something here on the site where I talk about my books. I realised the only time I ever post something about them is on release day and that’s a bit boring.

I debated if I should make it Teaser Tuesday posts or Throwback Thursday – because we have to have weekday in the title, do we not? And I won’t do WIP Wednesday because you’d grow bored before I manage to finish something.

But I figured with a Teaser Tuesday it could be both old and new stories. It might not be the way people meant for the Teaser Tuesday hashtag to be used, but this is my blog, I can do what I want. I won’t do these posts every week – I’d run out of stories sometime in the summer if I did, but maybe once or twice a month.

So today I’m gonna talk about a story that’s actually very dear to me. I say actually because I often love my stories while writing them and then when they’re out there in the real world my feelings tend to wilt a little. But simply seeing the cover of Dazzle Me makes me smile.

I wrote it back in 2015 as part of the Summer Bigger Than Others anthology. I don’t remember exactly what the prompt was but I think it was that it should be short light-hearted summer fun. And I had a lot of fun writing Dazzle Me.

It’s a 41 pages long silly story about Tom and his boyfriend Santino. Their one-year anniversary is coming up and Tom has this romantic vision of how it’s gonna play out – it’s not going to go how he’d planned.

I saw a segment on TV from a spa somewhere where they had these pedicure fish and stuff – Tom is going to a spa, he goes reluctantly, but he’s going because he thinks Santino wants him to.

Do you guys have any idea how many crazy spa treatments there are? I would never allow fish to eat at my feet but poor Tom doesn’t have a choice, does he? Of course not, I made him have to endure fish and worse!

I sat and dipped my toe into the water. It was pleasantly warm—not hot, just warm. With a sigh, I put both of my feet in there and spread my toes as I eyed the water.

“Eek!” I snatched my feet back up, almost kneeing myself in the chin since I’d been bending to look into the water. Hundreds of small fish swam around in there. Disgusting. I glanced around the room in hopes of no one having heard my squeal. No one but Mahdi seemed to have, and he tried really hard to conceal his laughter.

“The fish are good for you, Mr. Williams.” He gestured for me to put my feet in again. I looked down, swallowed, and rechecked the water. There sure as hell were fish in the basin. I gaped at Mahdi; surely he didn’t mean for me to put my feet in there?

Obviously he did because he was gesturing for me to do just that.

My big toe broke the surface. Instantly a few fish swam to it. I had to steel myself not to pull my foot out of the water. The fish started feasting on me. I closed my eyes to escape the vision. No more aquariums for me. It were as if I’d put my toe down in a glass of soda water. With a deep breath I put both my feet in there, feeling the nibbling, but trying not to think about what was doing the nibbling. God, it was gross, wasn’t it? Having fish eat at you. What the hell had Santino been thinking?

Dazzle Me is greatly misunderstood, how else is it that hardly anyone had read it? Could be that there’s a snail on the cover…could be, but Tom shouldn’t have to be a headless torso on a cover too – he has enough of a headache dealing with the snails.

25587452Tom has been planning for months, but in those plans he never once found himself on a spa table in Bangkok on his and Santino’s one year anniversary. He doesn’t do aeroplanes, doesn’t like the tropical climate, and he does not do spas.

Yet there he is, without a stitch of clothing, and with a man he’s never met before. He’ll do his best to enjoy his day and then he’ll give Santino the best anniversary imaginable, even if it means he has to be covered in chopped-up veggies on him for an entire day…

…if only it were veggies.

Part of “Summer Bigger Than Others – A Summer Anthology” from Beaten Track Publishing.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

Friday Reads | Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle

I’m doing a Friday Reads post today…on a Saturday. I had every intention of writing it yesterday but I was knackered after work and those Fridays my husband isn’t away working the girls and I take a sauna. So I went with sauna with the daughters instead of blog writing.

TulucanSixGifBut, what I’d meant to write about yesterday was Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle by Anne Brooke. I picked this story up a couple of days ago, I wanted something short to read after having put the kids to bed and I admit I grabbed it mostly because of its length and that I’ve read Anne Brooke before.

I’m not big on time travel, I mean I dream about it at times – oh to be young again LOL – but I seldom read books with a time travel plot. It confuses me. In Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle Tuluscan has travelled back in time to save his planet but that also means that he might not meet Karlan, the man he loves.

Despite stepping out of my comfort zone with the time travel part I enjoyed this story a great deal. I liked the characters, they had me laughing several times.

It’s been around for quite a few year, was first published in 2010 but there was a second edition in 2016…I think. Anyway, if you like some lighthearted sci-fi with a little love, check it out!

31198754Whilst finishing up a good day’s work in the Earth Interplanetary Administration Office, Karlan Staithley is disturbed by the appearance of a strange alien called Tuluscan Six. Tuluscan tells him that in one year’s time, Earth will make contact with his people, the Lamarians, and unwittingly destroy them due to an anomaly in the planetary time lines.

He himself has come back to warn Karlan, partly to save his people and partly as in the real time line Karlan and Tuluscan will become lovers. The two men join forces to try to save their futures, but can they in fact change time? And, if they do, how can their mutual passion ever survive?

Publicity and Privacy as a writer

Eye in front of a fence
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The first week of the year is normally one of the best weeks in my mind. I love planning, setting new goals, getting excited about what the new year has to offer and what I want to accomplish – this has been such a shitty week! You better prepare for some foul language.

There is a great contrast between publicity and privacy in your life when you’re a writer and how we approach that is different from person to person. I started this year with a book release, thought it’d be a fun way to start the year. And as always when you release something you need some publicity or it’s all in vain. If I didn’t want anyone to read my books I wouldn’t publish them so one part of being an author for me is to get people to discover me. Sadly, I suck at it. When I say I’m an introvert, I mean I’m an introvert, not I’m an introvert because that’s what’s writers are supposed to be.

I break out in sweats just logging onto Facebook (though I’m getting better at it, yay me!), if someone knocks on my door my first thought is to hide and pretend I’m not at home, and when it’s time for a get-together of some kind I try to come up with a way to cancel. I could sleep for a week right now because these fucking holidays have stolen every ounce of energy I possessed and I haven’t had time to recuperate – RL work and all.

But the reason I’m so upset right now isn’t due to publicity or lack thereof, it’s because someone touched what’s mine, my private fucking things no one has the right to touch. During New Year I had a few people here. They stayed overnight as often is when it’s New Year and they had phones that needed charging. I wasn’t super pleased to see that they’ve pulled out my phone charger and the cord to my laptop to make room for their phone charger – that actually wasn’t theirs at all but my husband’s and they’d nicked it from his desk – but you don’t make a scene do you?

On the first of January they left and I drew a sigh of relief to have my house back as my own. I sat down and tried getting some people to review Worth His Salt since it was its release day and I hadn’t had the time to reach out to people earlier – those fucking holidays again. The day after I was working and then on the third I sat down to do some graphics for my website. I reached for my drawing pad which is hidden on a shelf by my desk only to realise the cord was missing. I never pull it out, ever.

I have four kids so naturally, my first thought was that one of them had taken it, but that didn’t quite add up. This was in the evening so my husband and I turn on all the lamps in the house and crawled around the floors looking under sofas and tables to see if it somehow had ‘disappeared’ in under there. We couldn’t find it and I had this niggling feeling of something not being quite right about the missing cord. The drawing pad is hidden, it’s up on a shelf tucked away under a few notebooks and some papers, this simply because I have four kids and I know how tempting a pen can be.

My husband looked at the shelf and frowned, then he said it had to be a grownup who had taken it. Three of our four kids don’t reach that high and it isn’t visible where it is so why would the fourth take it? And if he had, he would’ve asked if he could use it, not nicked the cord.

I agreed and a knot formed in my gut. I knew there had been people by my desk – adult people who knew not to touch my stuff. I sent a text to my sister, a ‘Hi, you didn’t happen to take a black USB cord when you were here, did you?’ This was quite late at night so she didn’t respond until the day after when I was at work. First, she sent a ‘No’ then she said she’d ask her friend.

Yes, the friend had it. He’d taken it home with him. Was there a hurry to get it back?

Woman in chains
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I’m so fucking angry. I haven’t been able to sleep this night because at this point I’d fucking kill him if I saw him. There are very few people who manage to rile me up but he could make me commit murder, I’m not kidding. He has gone through my papers, my contracts, a notebook with passwords and shit for my husband if I should happen to die or something, notes about my stories, my goals and dreams, stories I want to write, my journal – everything about my writing life is there – the PRIVATE part of my writing life.

And as I said, one part of being a writer is publicity, but there is a whole lot that’s very VERY private. I’m fucking furious, but what bothers me the most, and perhaps make me even angrier, is that I feel violated. Silly perhaps, but he touched something that’s mine, that he had no right touching, and I bet my ass he knew exactly what he was doing. Why else put everything back the way it was, the drawing pad was back at its normal place, hidden away just that the cord now wasn’t there. This is my stuff – MINE – and they’re private. Not only did he steal from me, he went through my personal stuff.

If this is an indication of how the year will turn out I’ll be in prison before it’s over.

Fucking, thieving, son of a bitch! (Sorry about the language and that the rant ran so long…I still want to commit murder or at least hire an assassin. Anyone happen to know a good one?)