Category Archives: Authors, Artists, and Promos

Guest Post by TJ Nichols, author of Warlock in Training

The ups and downs of writing Warlock in Training
The easiest part of writing Warlock in Training was getting started. Angus was a character in a bit of flash fiction and that was all he was meant to be. I grabbed the first name that I thought of and that was that.

However I found it really hard to forget about him. What happened to him after he was taken across the void and he ended up in Demonside? What was his demon like? What was Demonside like? I envisioned it night be a novella at most. But then I started writing just to see where the story took me and I realized that it was more than a novella…so maybe three?

By the time I’d written fifty thousand words I was in deep and the human and demon worlds were very much alive in my mind and I knew this was no quick novella or even novella series, this was a full on urban fantasy series that would cover four books. I have since gone on to do a rough outline of those books so I know where I’m going. With book 2 written it’s all coming together.

This makes it sound like it was a magical walk in the park where I wrote a story and it got published.

And while’s it true I was lucky enough to get a publisher I did have to do a revise and resubmit (for those not familiar it’s where the publisher goes, well we really like it but it has a couple of major flaws preventing us from buying it. Fix this and this and then let us have another look). I was more than happy to make those changes, not that it was easy to do that. I think I gutted 10k of defective scenes and rewrote scenes that worked better.

That wasn’t the hardest part of writing Warlock in Training.

Creating two very different worlds that used the same magic but in very different ways wasn’t the hardest part either. I had a lot of fun creating Vinland and working out the history of how this alternative country came to be (Angus lives in our world, but it’s a place where magic exists and as a result the country borders we are familiar with don’t exist. I couldn’t add magic and assume that history followed the same path). I researched desert civilizations and ecosystems for Demonside. I also research the little ice age that happened in the seventeenth century.

The hardest part of this book was what started as a cute idea to ensure that the heroes got plenty of naked time (while I was reading plenty of urban fantasy most of it was very light on when it came to sexy times). Sex magic…because writing those intimate scenes isn’t hard enough already.

Sex scenes are a bit like fight scenes, there’s body parts doing things to other body parts and emotions are running at a high and if there are more than two people then you really need to keep count of arms and legs and other bits…. Adding magic and having to keep the ritual in mind was another level of complication.

Those scenes would take me forever to write. I’d go through once just to map out what was going to happen body wise, and work out what the change in the character was (and sometimes I’d decide that I needed to do it from the other POV), then I’d go through it again making sure I put in enough magical working.

There is one big group working which I actually just skipped in the first draft and left myself the note: orgy here. Needless to say when I was doing the second draft and I found the note I hated my past self for being such a lazy so and so. I’m glad I left it though as I knew what needed to happen because I’d written the fall out—writing is weird like that sometimes. Sometimes you have to know what happens in the future to go back and fix the past.
Bio
TJ Nichols is an avid runner and martial arts enthusiast who first started writing as child. Many years later while working as a civil designer TJ decided to pick up a pen and start writing again. Having grown up reading thrillers and fantasy novels it’s no surprise that mixing danger and magic comes so easily, writing urban fantasy allows TJ to bring magic to the everyday.
With two cats acting as supervisors TJ has gone from designing roads to building worlds and wouldn’t have it any other way. After traveling all over the world and Australia, TJ now lives in Perth, Western Australia.
Website: tjnichols-author.blogspot.com
Twitter: @TobyJNichols
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TJNichols.author/

Blurb

Angus Donohue doesn’t want to be a warlock. He believes draining demons for magic is evil, but it’s a dangerous opinion to have—his father is a powerful and well-connected warlock, and Angus is expected to follow the family tradition.

His only way out is to fail the demon summoning class. Failure means expulsion from the Warlock College. Despite Angus’s best efforts to fumble the summoning, it works. Although not the way anyone expects.

Angus’s demon, Saka, is a powerful mage with his own need for a warlock.
Saka wants to use Angus in a ritual to rebalance the magic that is being stripped from Demonside by warlocks. If Angus survives his demon’s desires and the perils of Demonside, he’ll have to face the Warlock College and their demands.

Angus must choose: obey the College and forget about Demonside or trust Saka and try to fix the damage before it’s too late. Whatever he does, he is in the middle of a war he isn’t qualified to fight.

Ebook: 978-1-63533-267-4
Print: 978-1-63533-266-7

https://www.dsppublications.com/books/warlock-in-training-by-tj-nichols-353-b
https://www.kobo.com/au/en/ebook/warlock-in-training
https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/warlock-in-training/id1185020865?mt=11
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/warlock-in-training-tj-nichols/1125367830?ean=2940157520151
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N2W56EH/

Guest Post for The Craving by Z. Allora Blog Tour with Giveaway and Excerpt

I want to thank The Kimi-chan Experience for allowing me the opportunity to share my latest release with you. (Psst, there’s a way for sharers to enter the giveaway.)

The idea of being biologically driven to sate your physical and spiritual lust with another does something to me. To need that connection with another so bad you can’t think beyond the longing ache.

But what happens when reality and responsibility tries to deny you your heart’s desire? That’s what The Craving explores.

K’Dane is a modestly rich and sexually progressive planet whose part of the Xantha star system. It’s assumed most K’Dane are bisexual, and if there are preferences that can be worked out among the nucleus (the group of 4 they form to raise children). However, before the nucleus is formed, one must have life mates.

The craving pushes each K’Dane into an urgent need to find a person or people with whom they can bond. Phoenix Dotir wants to avoid such a fate as he is marked as a Chosen. His destiny is to live among the other dimensional artists at the Ambrosial monastery. His plan should the craving hit before he’s goes to the monastery is to medicate.

His sister thinks he’s insane and in this excerpt she sings a life mate song to him:

“First you start tying red knots. Then you need to be tangled in your lover’s twine. Red love knots… Red love knots binding you to the vine….”

In this next excerpt, Phoenix is obsessively tying the traditional K’Dane love knots. Sometimes a person will make as many as a thousand to demonstrate their wish to bind with someone. The tying of red love knots is one of the first signs someone in the craving. This excerpt involves Phoenix, his mother and the holo doctor. (Zadra is sexy star chaser who sent him into the craving).

He turned away. The need to rip his skin off rode him hard. It was too hot. Pushing off his robe didn’t help.
Feeling his forehead, she exclaimed, “You’re burning up. I’m getting a doctor.”
The light was too bright. He swore he could feel his toenails grow. Every breath increased his requirement for Zadra.
No! This can’t be happening. Zadra! Where are you? Zadra!
Death would easier…. He stumbled across his sleep space to his workspace. Red twine. Where was—
Ah, here it is.
His mother came back into his space. He hadn’t realized she left. She rolled a holo doc in.
“Doctor, please, what’s wrong with my son?” Phoenix’s mother paced back and forth. “Did the healing he had a few sleep cycles ago at his learning place not fix the damage?”
The best holo doctor their living complex employed flashed to life at the question. “I will diagnose.”
Phoenix’s mother studied him as if he were a broken unit in need of repair.
His sister lingered in the doorway. “I told you we should have made him report that incident with Vade. If he’s hurt Phoenix—How long is this going to take?”
Phoenix didn’t hear the answer. He focused on tying another knot and placed the completed design in the satin box where he’d keep the red binding knots.
“Phoenix, please stop. Put these away.” His mother tried to take the box from him.
“No! Not done. One hundred and eighty-eight.” He didn’t want to hurt her, but no one was taking this box from him. No one.
“Doctor, why can’t he stop?”
Fever and restlessness ate at him. He rocked back and forth as he twisted the twine with his blistered and bloodied fingers. Left, right, crossover, twist…. Zadra.
Why was his mother here? Oh right, she waited for the doctor’s opinion.
He shifted to pull at the protector. Sky demons, why was the belt preventing him… nothing should be stopping him. He had to—“Zadra!”
The hologram doctor shimmered and rested a hand on his chin. “There is nothing wrong with your son. All previous medical procedures were complete. Your son is healthy. He’s displaying signs of the… craving.”
Where was Zadra? One hundred and eighty-nine. Phoenix wanted him here. Had to have him. Now. Skin too tight. Off.
He wanted to—“Zadra!”
“Shhhh, son. Don’t scratch yourself.” His mother held his hands to his sides.
No. Knots. He had to tie knots. After jerking away from her restrictive embrace, he moved to the other side of his art table. Took more twine, sliced the red off the spool, and whirled another knot. Each tied bit eased him and ramped him up in equal parts. One hundred and ninety.
His mother gasped at the suggestion. “The craving? What? It can’t be! He’s too young. He’s not yet eighteen seasons.”
“Zadra!” He wasn’t too young. Desire scraped at his insides. He wiped the sweat from his forehead. Why wasn’t the temperature automating?
“It’s rare but has been known to happen.” The holo doc continued, “This process is nature’s way of highlighting every K’Dane has a need to bond with life mates.”
His mother growled. “How could this have happened?”
The holo doc’s voice deepened as if to calm his near frantic mother. “Skin-on-skin contact. One touch has been known to trigger the craving.”
“He’s Chosen. That’s not possible.”
The holo cocked his head to the side and observed Phoenix. “Nothing supersedes the urge, not even being one of the Chosen. His symptoms suggest it’s more than possible.”

The end game of the craving is to find your life mates… or maybe your soul mate.


The craving is an undeniable urge that drives K’Dane citizens to find their life mates—if only to sate their uncontrollable physical longings.

Thrilled at being named a Chosen, Phoenix Dotir leaves K’Dane to become an artist-monk who will create dimensional art capable of changing worlds. Living by the monastery’s Principles of Purity will surely help him overcome the craving. But he never accounted for star chaser Zadra Solav.

Zadra doesn’t believe in rules and makes his own future. Fate separates him from the man he loves, but one touch renders him helpless to his own desires. Bonding with a monk is forbidden, and Zadra’s family sends him to deep space to avoid disgrace. Unable to give up, Zadra must find a way reunite with his Chosen.

Tormented by enforced separation, Initiate Riva Quinton struggles with his vow of chastity and risks all to rescue his lover. Together with his Eros, he stows away on board a star craft to follow his heart.

Four men defy destiny and tradition for love… but their love is a crime punishable by death.

Buy Links:
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-craving-by-z-allora-8121-b

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-craving-by-z-allora-8120-b

Giveaway: Leave a comment about your favorite sci-fi series (TV or book). There’s two ways to win: You’ll be entered into win a $20 Dreamspinner gift certificate (which goes across all the blog sites on The Craving tour) and I’ll also pick a winner from each individual site for an e-book from my backlist.

Author Bio:
Z. Allora believes in happily ever after’s for everyone. She met her own true love through the personals and has traveled to over thirty countries with him. She’s lived in Singapore, Israel and China. Now back home to the USA she’s an active member of PFLAG and a strong supporter of those on the rainbow in her community. She wants to promote understanding and acceptance through her actions and words. Writing rainbow romance allows her words to open hearts and change minds.

To contact Z. Allora:
E-mail: Z.AlloraHappyEndings@gmail.com
FACEBOOK:   Z Allora Allora
Website: http://www.zallorabooks.com
Twitter: @ZAllora

The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apply by K.A. Merikan Blog Tour with Excerpt

Title:  The Black Sheep and The Rotten Apple:

Author: K.A. Merikan

Publisher:  Acerbi&Villani ltd.

Release Date: 7th of February 2017

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 140,000 words

Genre: Romance, Thriller/Suspense, Historical – 18th Century Cornwall, Highwayman, Kidnapping, Forbidden love, Violence

Add to Goodreads

 

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is the kind of book that just needed to be written, despite our already tight schedule. The idea first came to us when we watched a documentary about highwaymen, but we promised ourselves to wait. And then we went to Cornwall for a month, and initial plans collapsed. As we walked through the woods, watching the lush nature and the old stone cottages peppered on both sides of a valley where we were staying, the characters and story steadily came to us. Our aim was to write a historical book that provides as much excitement as readers learned to expect from our contemporary romance.

RELEASE DATE: 7th February 2017

If you want to see our inspiration photos for this book, check out the ‘Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple’ Pinterest board:

BUY AN EBOOK COPY

BUY A PAPERBACK COPY

The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple is our baby. It’s been a year since we started working on this book, and to celebrate its release, we’re organizing a quiz for readers who follow The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple blog tour. Answers to all questions will be provided in the blog posts, and we will then randomly pick the lucky winners. You can win:

  • a signed paperback of The Black Sheep and the Rotten Apple + a selection of Cornish treats (main prize – for one person)
  • 3 ebooks of choice from our backlist + a surprise treat from Cornwall (will go to 3 more people)

For a chance to win, follow the instructions in blog posts and solve the quiz, which will be published on our website on 1st February 2017. Please, send answers to kamerikan@gmail.com with ‘Black Sheep Quiz’ in the subject line of the email.

 

Winners will be randomly chosen from readers who sent us correct answers by 17th February 2017.

LINKS TO ALL POSTS:

02/01 THE QUIZ

02/03 Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

02/06 We Three Queens

02/07 Boy Meets Boy Reviews

02/08 Prism Book Alliance

02/09 The Novel Approach

02/09 Joyfully Jay

02/10 The Zipper Rippers

02/10 The Book Bella

02/11 Divine Magazine

02/12 Bayou Book Junkie

Synopsis

“How does one start a relationship with another man when it is forbidden?”
“One needs to decide that the other man is worth dying for.”

Cornwall, 1785

Sir Evan Penhart. Baronet. Highwayman. Scoundrel.

Julian Reece. Writer. Wastrel. Penniless.

No one forces Julian Reece to marry. Not his father, not his brother. No one.

When he is thrust into a carriage heading for London to meet his future bride, his way out comes in the form of an imposing highwayman, riding a horse as black as night. Julian makes a deal with the criminal, but what he doesn’t expect is that despite the title of baronet, the robber turns out to be no gentleman.

Sir Evan Penhart is pushed into crime out of desperation, but the pact with a pretty, young merchant’s son turns out to have disastrous consequences. Not only is Evan left broke, but worse yet, Julian opens up a Pandora’s box of passions that are dark, needy, and too wild to tame. With no way to lock them back in, rash decisions and greedy desire lead to a tide that wrecks everything in its way.

But Julian might actually like all the sinful, carnal passion unleashed on him. How can he admit this though, even to himself, when a taste of the forbidden fruit could have him end up with a noose around his neck? And with highway robbery being a hanging offense and the local constable on their back, Julian could lose Evan before he can decide anything about the nature of his desires.

POSSIBLE SPOILERS:

Themes: highwayman, abduction, ransom, forbidden love, self-discovery, danger, crime,
Genre: Dark romance, historical
Erotic content: Explicit scenes

Length: ~140,000 words (standalone novel)

WARNING: Adult content. Contains violence, distressing scenes, abuse, offensive language, and morally ambiguous protagonists.

Excerpt

The sun was high up in the sky by the time the desynchronized orchestra left Julian’s skull. There wasn’t enough space to properly lie down anywhere in the carriage, but he managed to obtain a comfortable position by resting his legs up the wooden wall while his upper body occupied one of the benches. He still felt like the filling of an enormous rattle as the carriage bent in all possible directions on the uneven road leading away from the coast.

Horace didn’t even make an attempt to hold back his disapproval, but after delivering several biting comments and a lengthy speech about duty, he at last leaned against the side of the carriage in the seat across from Julian and closed his eyes. It was difficult to say whether he was truly in need of a nap or if it was Julian’s face that he didn’t wish to look at.

With his headache out of the way yet not quite well enough to read, Julian opened the curtains in hope of amusing himself with the views, but so far, he merely got to see the side of a narrow gully—all dirt and grass.

He couldn’t understand why Father was being so implacable about having his youngest son marry a title. Couldn’t it wait a fortnight so that Julian could finish that new novel he came up with last night? This one could truly be the breakthrough Julian had been waiting for, the one that would make the Reece family known for more than fabric trade.

Inspiration was a moment in time when Julian’s friend Martin emerged from the darkness of an alley behind the tavern. In that very second he had not resembled himself but a man made of bronze, dreamlike and yet of substance, with strong hands that could crush Julian if they wanted. The novel would start with a similar encounter somewhere in the narrow back alleys, just off the Colosseum. Haunted by the ghost of an ancient gladiator, the protagonist would be believed to be slowly descending into madness, when in reality his awareness of the supernatural would become a vehicle for truth.

Julian was not yet certain of the exact message he wished to convey, but the events would be presented from several points of view, through letters written by the protagonist, his friends, and an official of some sort who’d represent the stale world order.

He’d already had several beautifully evocative ideas for metaphors describing the gladiator himself, but they became somewhat blurry after a night of cards and drink.

Oh, if only he could travel to Rome to let the atmosphere of the city soak him all the way to the bone—without a wife fighting for his attention and pulling him away from work because of feminine fancies.

He looked out of the window with growing disdain. Who in their right mind traveled on Sunday, and so early at that? Julian would have much preferred listening to a sermon at church to spending the day in what was effectively a hearse carrying one of the brightest literary talents just waiting to be discovered.

Now that Julian was feeling better, he was upset with himself about not asking for a day’s delay on religious grounds. He’d never been as devout about prayer as he was about his art, but if the Christian faith could postpone his commitment to a woman he never met, he would gladly kneel and pray. And Miss White wasn’t even a woman but a girl of fifteen, quite pretty in the portrait Julian had been shown, and a viscount’s only daughter at that, but surely as hungry for her intended’s attention as the bawdy house wench who’d become sweet on Julian some years ago.

Back then, he still visited Madame Canard’s establishment to do what everyone else did when they visited a school of Venus. These days, Julian had neither the overwhelming desire nor patience to handle a cunt, no matter how lovely the lady it was attached to. He still enjoyed having a drink with the harlots, and no card table within twenty miles was as lively as the one at Madame Canard’s, but at twenty-five he’d much rather handle needs of the flesh in solitude.

Sweet perfume made his nose itch, the act itself made him unpleasantly sticky—with his sweat and hers—and while he would not dare to ask, it was his suspicion that the friends who usually accompanied him to the brothel were only whoring so much because of pride and bravado. It was a sign of status to be able to afford women and decent wine daily, and so fucking and gambling was the thing you did as a social activity.

Julian’s eyes darted to Horace, who slept with his head thrown back and leaning against the side of the carriage. His wide-open mouth was asking for a distasteful prank, but Julian was far too upset to think of amusing himself at Horace’s expense. So far, the day’s joke was on him.

In the years past, he’d been mocked by his father and siblings over not taking on a profession that they deemed worthy of a gentleman, but with the family being very prosperous, Julian saw no reason to divert his focus from his one true calling.

Despite frequent threats, he’d hoped that Father—having four willing sons and three daughters—wouldn’t push Julian into marriage, but it seemed a lost cause. Soon it would be a wife nagging Julian to stop wasting his time following intellectual pursuits and instead turn his attention to practical matters. As the head of his own family, maybe he’d even be pushed to join the family trade, one step farther from traveling abroad to meet the great artists of the continent.

The carriage started a steep climb up a hill, and Julian cursed, pushing the soles of his boots against the wall to keep his body from rolling off the narrow bench. How long would it take for them to reach London at this pace? It was over two hundred miles away, so a week perhaps? The last time Julian had made the journey, he was so intoxicated most days that he couldn’t properly count them.

But out of nowhere, as the slope of the hill became gentler, the ugly dirt and grass that had been Julian’s only source of entertainment for the last half an hour were replaced by lush greenery of tree tops. He grinned and glanced at Horace, but the fat sod was too busy snoring to notice the change in scenery.

A wicked plan was starting to take shape in Julian’s head, and he quietly removed his feet from the side of the carriage and lowered them to the floor. Pulling himself upright was easy enough after that, and he stalled, eyes transfixed on the permanently flushed face of his brother that was an unappetizing contrast with the white wig he wore, and made him look like a man many years his senior. Julian might be less inclined to business, less sedate than his siblings, but at the very least he had good taste and flair most of Julian’s family lacked, buried deep in the stern world of pretense and money.

Horace didn’t even stir. The old pig was fast asleep, and if that wasn’t Julian’s chance to save his life, he didn’t know what was. Careful not to make any sound, Julian gathered his valise and the coat he’d earlier taken off because of the heat, stilling when the carriage came to a halt. His eyes immediately darted to Horace, but his brother only smacked his lips in his sleep. Hunt could have stopped to relieve himself. What an opportunity this was!

Julian could feel his heartbeat in his throat when he softly pressed on the door handle. Still distinctly aware of his brother being close enough for their knees to touch, were Julian not careful enough. He opened the carriage and left it in a soft stride before closing the door with care.

A warm breeze combed through his hair, wiping away the unpleasant wetness of sweat, and his lungs filled with fresh air, but he didn’t get to enjoy it.

The shining muzzle of a pistol was grinning at him from inches away.

Despite the warm weather, Julian’s whole body was shaken by a chill when his gaze met a pair of eyes so dark they might as well have been lacquered coals. The man had a tricorn hat pulled low over his forehead, and a black scarf obscuring the lower half of his face.

This can’t be happening.

“Don’t try to scream, or I will blow your brains out.” The man squinted and lowered his gun to Julian’s pupil. “Through the eye.”

Julian opened his mouth as his throat closed, robbing him of breath. He wanted to look back, suddenly wishing Horace weren’t such an easy sleeper, but Hunt was nowhere to be seen either. Heat washed over Julian’s body, making him stiffen as if he were made of clay. Had this man hurt their coachman? If so, where was the body?

“What do you want?” Julian whispered, resting his hand on the door handle when his knees softened.

“These.” A hand in a leather glove gripped Julian’s sweaty fingers and slipped off his rings. “And all your other valuables.” The man didn’t even blink, his voice dark as if dragged through tar.

Julian stared, and his mind finally came up with the answer for what this was. “You’re a highwayman…”

“And you’re cork-brained to travel on a Sunday when the roads are empty.” The man’s gaze drifted away to Horace for a split second, but he must have judged him as no threat, and when Horace snored from inside the carriage, the highwayman chuckled quietly.

Julian’s lungs emptied, and a silly grin emerged on his face, encouraged by the highwayman’s amusement. “Ah, I should have gone to church after all.”

The smile died on his lips when the robber poked Julian’s temple with his gun.

“Your valuables,” he urged.

Julian clenched his teeth when they threatened to clatter. He needed to keep calm. His father believed his friends to be villains, so he could handle one. “I’ve been taken out of the tavern this morning with nothing but the clothes on my back. I lost everything at the tables. You should try my older brother. He’s Father’s heir. He should have a healthy sum on him.”

The highwayman gripped the front of Julian’s waistcoat and pulled him forward so hard Julian stumbled straight into the man’s arms. He was much taller than Julian, with wide shoulders that were so strong their size couldn’t be just padding. His clothes smelled of leather and horse sweat, and Julian found himself staring into the eyes above the black scarf.

Before he could say a word, the man turned him around, and pressed the gun to the side of his head.

“Go on, wake up your brother.”

Julian breathed in and out, stiff with discomfort at the warm body pressed against his back as if the highwayman was seeking warmth. The gun provided some relief against heated skin. Its presence made Julian’s blood speed through his veins. It wouldn’t go off. Murder wasn’t in the robber’s interest, but if that was the case, then where the hell was Hunt?

Then an idea illuminated Julian’s mind. “I have a proposition, Mister—”

The highwayman stilled. He’d be lying. Of course. “Noir,” he said in the end. “What kind of proposition can you have, pretty boy? With no money in your pockets.”

Something about Noir’s tone sent a hot shiver through Julian’s ribcage, but he ignored the condescending words and slowly looked back into the blackest eyes he’d ever seen. “I don’t have much on me, but you must know my father. He’s William Reece, the cloth merchant. You could take me and ask for ransom. We could split it between us like two gentlemen,” he whispered and gave Noir a polite nod. Appealing to the highwayman’s self-importance should do the trick. His kind were known for a love of opulence and status they didn’t deserve.

He must have managed to surprise the thief, because Noir’s grip on him faltered. “How much could I ask for a son who hates his father?”

Julian exhaled in relief when he felt Noir’s aggression turn away from him. “A lot. He needs me. I’m worth more than you can imagine,” he said with a small smile.

Noir stole another glance at Horace sleeping in the back of the carriage, and his gloved hand slid to Julian’s neck, squeezing around his nape in a way that had Julian rising to his toes. “You better be. You scream, or try to run, and I will kill you.”

Julian swallowed against the warm, soft leather. It felt surprisingly expensive. Might have been snatched from a gentleman. “I don’t doubt that,” he lied. “However, we share a common goal, friend.”

“Call me ‘friend’ once this is all over.” Noir shook his head and pushed Julian behind the carriage, where a gloriously jet-black stallion awaited its rider, and watched Julian with eyes as dark as Noir’s.

“I hope you haven’t hurt our driver. He’s a good fellow,” said Julian, smiling at the huge beast in front of him.

“He’ll live. Your brother will find him once he wakes up.”

Julian was sure there had to be a hint of a smile under that black scarf. When Noir put the gun inside his coat, Julian tried to assess the man more thoroughly.

The black leather riding coat was worn but of good quality. Could have been stolen too, but the clothes underneath, as black as everything the man wore, were clean, suggesting the highwayman wasn’t sleeping rough somewhere. Unless he dressed up for robbery.

Julian opened his mouth to comment on the beauty of the horse, but Noir spun Julian around and pulled back his hands.

“Good heavens. We’re partners,” Julian whispered with distaste. Hot and cold sweats were hitting him in rapid waves, and he couldn’t tell whether he was scared or excited about this new development. Once he got out of this, he could write a novel about the peril of travellers attacked by rogues while driving through a dark, rainy forest, and with a bit of poetic license, call it a true story.

“I haven’t decided on that yet,” said Noir, and a cold shiver went down Julian’s back at the proficiency with which the man tied his hands. A former sailor perhaps? That wouldn’t bode well, as those types rarely possessed the intellectual capability for complicated schemes. His speech was also far too refined to have been only recently acquired. Damnation!

“Mr. Noir. I’d much rather ride with my hands free. You see, I’ve been incapacitated by gin just this morning, and I don’t feel secure enough without my hands to assist me yet. I assure you, I am harmless.”

Once Noir had tied Julian’s hands, he turned him around. “Now you are. Up.” And just as Julian was wondering how exactly he was supposed to climb atop the tall beast, the scoundrel grabbed his legs and picked him up. Julian barely refrained from screaming. It was no way to handle a gentleman, and yet he couldn’t help but be amazed by Noir’s physical prowess.

Definitely a sailor. A naval officer, perhaps.

Julian’s face flushed with heat when he imagined his bottom sticking out like a whore’s ass at a party. Good grief, what had he gotten himself into? What was next? Being kidnapped by pirates?

His foot found the stirrup, and he exhaled with relief, pushing his other leg over the horse’s hindquarters until he straddled its back. “I see no reason for this kind of treatment, considering it was I who came up with a most lucrative opportunity for you.”

“Keep that up, and I will gag you.” Noir was quick to get on the horse himself as soon as he’d attached Julian’s coat and valise to the saddle. Julian felt completely overwhelmed when the man reached for the reins, all but embracing him.

Julian shuddered and curled his shoulders to not be in the way, though no matter what he did, the shape of the saddle brought them close together. “You’re a scoundrel. Another man in your profession would have treated me right.”

Noir laughed darkly. “You are correct, sir. How could I have forgotten.” Even though the mockery had him exaggerate the polite accent, Julian was becoming certain that Noir’s natural speech was not that of someone uneducated.

Before Julian understood what was happening, Noir pulled a burlap sack over his head.

“I will scream,” whispered Julian, staring through the dots of light in the smelly thing. He squeezed his hands into fists and pushed them hard against Noir’s stomach. His mind was rattling again, as if the drunkenness returned with full force.

“No one will hear you where we’re going.”

“Julian?” came a sleepy voice from the carriage.

Noir’s thighs tensed, and he must have urged his mount to rush, as it went almost straight into gallop.

Julian screamed at the top of his lungs. “Horace!”

The stallion flew forward, and without the aid of his hands, Julian was forced to hang on to it with his legs alone, shaken like a rattle. The rapid gait moved him back and forth over the front of the saddle, making Julian stiffen and push back against the firm chest behind him. Without seeing where they were going, Julian tried to hold on to anything he had on hand, and as it happened, it was probably Noir’s waistcoat. If the horse tripped, at least they would stumble and break their bones together. Or maybe the villain would cushion Julian’s fall in a well-meaning act of God.

It was Sunday.

 

Meet the Author

K. A. Merikan is the pen name for Kat and Agnes Merikan, a team of writers, who are mistaken for sisters with surprising regularity. Kat’s the mean sergeant and survival specialist of the duo, never hesitating to kick Agnes’s ass when she’s slacking off. Her memory works like an easy-access catalogue, which allows her to keep up with both book details and social media. Also works as the emergency GPS. Agnes is the Merikan nitpicker, usually found busy with formatting and research. Her attention tends to be scattered, and despite being over thirty, she needs to apply makeup to buy alcohol. Self-proclaimed queen of the roads.

They love the weird and wonderful, stepping out of the box, and bending stereotypes both in life and books. When you pick up a Merikan book, there’s one thing you can be sure of – it will be full of surprises.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail | Pinterest

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Flaunt by E. Davies Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway

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Title: Flaunt
Author: E.Davies
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

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BLURB

“He’s waiting for me to ask, and I’m afraid.”

“I’m just one more gay guy here.”

Moving to the suburbs of L.A. was supposed to give Nic Montero a fresh start. After escaping his family, coming out as a gay trans man, and excelling in computer programming out of desperation to get financially stable or die, everything should be easy. But joining gay culture now, post-transition, feels impossible… until he runs into the force of nature that is Kyle. Everything Nic isn’t, Kyle embodies. Green hair, garters and cut-off shorts, sports jerseys, and all, brash Kyle is the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid eyes on, and he pulls Nic headlong into the center of his world. If only Nic felt like enough for a man like Kyle.

“One-night stands are my only option.”

Loud, loving, and too much for most men to handle, Kyle Everett catches eyes and occasionally scorn… even at his job at the local HIV charity, Plus. His days and nights are spent at work, his precious spare moments spent with his son, Kevin, when it’s his turn to co-parent, or his best friend, drag queen River. He only has money or time for cheap flings, but the lanky otter who walks into his life makes Kyle want to hold him for longer than a night. He knows what it’s like for Nic to be without a family, but he isn’t brave enough to let this man into his life… until his charity is targeted by bigots, and Nic’s there for him.

“I’ll stay with you if you’re brave enough to be you.”

Nic spent his twenties avoiding family and even his own femininity, but his yearning is impossible to ignore. Kyle’s used to flying solo, but Nic offers him safety and fills gaps in his life he never realized existed and now can’t stand. Living in close proximity, they can’t run from their attraction, but they’re each used to being rejected, with the emotional scars to prove it. Can two men who feel like they’re not enough and too much find something just right?

Flaunt is a steamy, stand-alone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger.

Excerpt:

River eyed him. “What’s that look for?”
“Oh. I had the first meeting with the, er… with the liaison for the tech company.” Kyle waved his fork and dug into his veggies.
His attempt to underplay it wasn’t working, though. River had his eyebrow raised. When that didn’t work, River put down his fork and folded his arms, staying silent.
“Fine,” Kyle relented. “He might be… really cute. And gay. And single.” He bent his wrist, gesturing in a circle with his fork. “And new to the area.”
“Get on that before the gold rush,” River breathed out, leaning in over the table. “Go on!”
“No, no,” Kyle waved him off. “It’s not going anywhere. A relationship with him would never work. But he was adorable. Dorky adorable. Adorkable?” River giggled and he went on. “Kind of an otter, I think… scruffy, probably a little chest hair, that kind of look. Awkward and shy. Smart as hell.”
“All I hear is exactly your type, Kyle,” River informed him. “So, why wouldn’t it work?”
Kyle didn’t have a very good answer. “Just… wouldn’t be good. Business with pleasure and all that.” River didn’t look impressed, so he added, “And you know I’m not looking for someone to spend my life with.”
“Maybe he isn’t, either,” River pointed out.


Purchase:
Amazon US | Amazon UK

Goodreads

EXCERPT

“Welcome to our headquarters! Er, not that we have other locations. Not full-time, anyway. Don’t worry about being late. I’m not even ready. I’m so sorry.” This had to be Kyle— the voice on the intercom matched this peppy yet sibilant, rapid-fire speech.

“I— that’s fine,” Nic assured Kyle with a quiet laugh. He was relieved not to be in trouble for showing up late, nor for showing up in formalwear when everyone else was probably going casual. “GPS pointed me the wrong way.”

“Oh, they do that! Right this way, please.” Kyle scanned his card against a reader near the staircase door. When he twirled to hold the staircase door open, his skirt flared out a little.

Kyle was wearing a skirt, over men’s skinny jeans and boots, and a blouse, and chest hair peeked out from the top of the blouse, his biceps unmistakeable. And his suspenders reached under the skirt, presumably to his jeans waistband. It made Nic wonder if he was wearing garters, which was a wholly inappropriate thought for their first meeting.

He awkwardly stepped through the doorway and Kyle brushed past him to trot upstairs at top speed, already talking again.

GIVEAWAY: Win a $25 Amazon giftcard and 2 x Flaunt ebooks

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About the Author

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E. Davies was proficient in real estate ad shorthand (the old-fashioned newspaper kind) by the age of nine. Growing up moving constantly taught him what people have in common, the ways relationships are formed, and the dangers of “miscellaneous” boxes.
As a teen, he tore through a stack of found romance novels, wishing someone had written similar for M/M, though he could never find anything at Chapters or the library. Just after graduating university in 2013, semi-out and clutching his English B.A. for dear life, he stumbled on an Amazon M/M short story. It was a whole new… phrase he dares not repeat for fear of lawyers. It shone and shimmered splendidly, though.
After failing forty times to avoid crafting happily-ever-after endings for steamy short stories, he plunged into romance novels and hasn’t looked back. As a young gay author whose formative gay fictional role models were characters punished for their sexuality, Ed prefers his stories lightly dramatic, full of optimism and hope.
Now out and proud, he writes full-time, goes on long nature walks, tries to fill his passport, drinks piña coladas on the beach, flees from cute guys, coos over fuzzy animals (especially bees), and is liable to tilt his head and click his tongue if you don’t use your turn signal.

To find out when E. Davies has a new release, you can subscribe to his newsletter.

Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Thick & Thin (THIRDS #8) Charlie Cochet

Reviewed by Kiwi

TITLE: Thick & Thin

SERIES: THIRDS # 8

AUTHOR: Charlie Cochet

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press

RELEASE DATE: February 1, 2017

BLURB: Sequel to Smoke & Mirrors

In a matter of days, Dex has been kidnapped, tortured, killed, revived, become half Therian, offered the chance to become a spy, and accepted a proposal to marry his jaguar Therian boyfriend, Sloane Brodie. It’s been a lot to take in, and although Dex is still trying to wrap his head around everything that’s happened, he knows he has to move forward.

After the events of Smoke & Mirrors, Dex and Sloane find themselves in one of the most frightening situations of all: revealing the truth to their Destructive Delta family. When the dust settles, nothing will ever be the same, and it’s up to Dex to prove that in the face of change, the one thing that will always remain the same is family.

REVIEW: This novella I felt was a fantastic little story to sustain us until the next full length book featuring Seb and Hudson is released. This book places the reader to the point where Dex and Sloane reveal Dex’s secret and their future plans. It was bittersweet. It’s was in many ways a goodbye to the team as they know it but a move forward for them as well. I am definitely looking forward to reading more about their (Dex and Sloane) adventures but I feel that with that advancement in their careers the stories can and will now concentrate on the rest of Destructive Delta’s team members and other teams. As with the other books in this series, this is extremely well written. Her characters are vivid, the storylines are superb and the dialogue will have you laughing out loud one second and on the verge of tears the next. This series and these characters are utterly fascinating and fantastic and I absolutely love reading them. I can’t wait until the next full length book. I am really looking forward to seeing what adventures the other teams and team members will take us on. This author and this series is a definite must read. The novella is short but will leave you full and satisfied.

RATING: 🌟🌟Amazing🌟🌟

BUY LINKS:

Amazon

 

Dreamspinner Press

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Ninia Sebae by Adile Lamb Blog Tour

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Title: NINIA SEBAE (According to Lore Book 1)
Author: Lily Adile Lamb
Genre: Fantasy, FF, Lesbian, Romance
Length: 69 Pages

 
 
Angela’s parents died in horrific circumstances a few years ago, about the time she had last seen her childhood home—a quaint, old cottage situated deep in the woods that holds many secrets.


Angela’s return to the cottage in the mysterious woods intends to be a once in a lifetime opportunity for her to ease back into a time that held an easier and simpler life. Yet, in her slumber, she dreams of a woman with flaming red hair. Baffled yet intrigued, Angela wonders who the woman is she dreams about.

After a chance encounter with a stranger who ironically resembles the woman in her dreams, Angela’s life changes forever as she learns more about herself and the woods surrounding the quaint cottage that has a set of secrets all its own.


 



Lily is from Turkey. She works as a nurse by day and writes LGBT Romance by night. She visits her family in Turkey regularly and travel to other countries like Singapore to visit the other family members.She is blessed with three grown up children and a furry child, JJ Basil.


Lily focus in her LGBT stories are on mere mortals because she believes that love is universal. Her mortal heroes are not rich, famous or incredibly handsome males with six pack bodies… rather they are just everyday men who work hard and deal with whatever that life throws at them.


She  is against bullying in any form. She is actively involved with Marriage Equality and stands by the same sex couples who want to have children. She believes that primarily, a child needs a loving, protective home.Lily’s biggest regret is not studying English formally because writing stories, consequentially, takes much longer. She still gets there of course, thanks to her bevy of loyal and supportive beta readers, editors and wonderful friends.

Lily especially thanks her husband with all her heart for his endless patience, love and support. He is the love of her life and apple of her eye….he is the home she goes to at the end of a hard day at work.

 
 


 
 

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Shelton In Love Blog Tour with Excerpt and Giveaway

Shelton has found the man of his dreams, but keeping him is an entirely different matter.
Shelton’s falling hard for his attractive roommate, a man who would happily sleep with him, adding him to the list of men in his life. But Shelton wants more than just a fling with Nevil. How can he convince the elusive man there could be something lasting between them?
Shelton in Love is told in five stories spanning two and a half years of Shelton and Nevil’s relationship, the ups and downs, trials and celebrations, with a promise, a separation, a frantic return, temptation and a final triumph. Sometimes Shelton finds it difficult to love a beautiful man, but Nevil is worth the effort. Shelton’s eager to move their relationship to the next level, marriage, but will Nevil ever be ready to take this step with him?

Buy Your Copy
Less Than Three Press: https://goo.gl/YtfqLo
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/698219
Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N16V4AA/
Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/shelton-in-love-1

Excerpt:

Nevil laughed at something the man said, and Percy straightened, clearly furious with him. He suddenly grabbed the front of Nevil’s shirt and pulled him close, giving him a hard kiss.

Surprised, Shelton looked quickly around, but there was no one else to see their blatant display of affection. He was hardly aware of the pain that squeezed his chest as he dropped his gaze to his hands clasped on his lap. Nerves burning, he pleaded with the universe to be invisible and that Nevil wouldn’t see him sitting on the bench. He wished the ground would swallow him up, anything, afraid to move and draw their attention.
In a moment he heard their voices drift off and he risked a glance, seeing them disappear into the trees in the opposite direction from him. He waited a few minutes then, sick with disappointment, rose and walked the short distance home.
The apartment had an empty silence to it he’d never noticed before, and he reluctantly closed the door behind him and locked himself into the quiet, lonely rooms.
“Damn,” he said, not sure what he meant by the word. Without bothering to change, he went to the kitchen, grabbed a can of soup out of the cupboard and began to heat the brownish blob over the stove instead of the microwave, not minding the extra time it took. What else did he have to do, anyway? Nevil had said he’d see him that night, but he never should have gotten his hopes up.
Unthinking, Shelton took his hot bowl of soup to the living room and bit off an oath at the sight of the couch. Body instantly on fire and aching for Nevil’s touch, he placed the soup on the coffee table and sat down, sinking into the cushions. Trembling, he surrendered to the memory of Nevil’s skillful fingers; his hot lips and tongue bringing fulfillment. Shelton could never tell Nevil, but that night had been the best in his life.
Drawing a ragged breath, he sat up and clicked on the television before letting one mindless show after the other numb his senses and nudge him toward sleep. At one in the morning, he finally dragged his aching body to bed only to sleep fitfully, listening for Nevil to come home. It was another two hours before he heard the key at the front door and Nevil’s familiar tread in the hallway.
Shelton’s pulses leapt to life as Nevil’s footfalls paused outside his door. He clutched the blankets, urging Nevil to come in and kiss away his hurt and loneliness. He didn’t even care where he’d been. After a brief moment, the footsteps receded and Nevil’s door closed firmly. Shelton rolled to his side and stared at the wall for a long while.

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About the author

DIANNE HARTSOCK is the author of m/m erotic romance, both contemporary and fantasy, the psychological thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer. If she can’t be writing, at least she has the chance to create through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Currently, Dianne lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

Social links

Website: https://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diannehartsock
Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannehartsock
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/diannehartsock/

Shelton in Love Release Blitz

Vanya Says Go by Wayne Goodman -Blog Tour with Excerpt and #Giveaway

In 1906, Mikhail Kuzmin published “Wings,” the first book in Russian to discuss same-sex relationships in a positive light. With “Vanya Says, ‘Go!,’” Wayne Goodman retells the story from the perspective of the young man at the heart of the tale. The original work contained only three sections, but a fourth has been added to round out the story and provide some closure.
Kuzmin was one of the most celebrated poets of his time, the Silver Age of Russian Poetry. While his poems were quite successful, his somewhat-autobiographical novel “Wings” met with skepticism and criticism. Kuzmin used many constructs from poetry (characters who appear all too briefly with no second mention, plot jumps with little connecting material, long-winded orations); however, his descriptions of scenery are exquisite, and the dialogue is quirky and colorful. “Vanya Says, ‘Go!'” is crafted for the modern reader while keeping much of the original Russian style. It is a window into a time and places long gone. The story is narrated by the main character, who at 16 years of age is dealing with being an orphan foisted off on friends of distant relatives and attempting to acquaint himself with his sexual orientation while also discovering various religious and philosophical frameworks.

“An exemplary study in classic Russian literary charm… with a choice cast of picaresque characters. Goodman draws the reader into the desperate historical moment of pre-revolutionary St. Petersburg, and artfully stages Vanya’s gay yearnings against its fast-moving currents.” — Edmund Zagorin

“The author accurately evokes a long-lost Russia through his marvelous characters and descriptions… the underlying commentary on the decaying social order, and the romance of that forgotten time period.” — Andrew Demcak

“Set in Old Russia… this is an interesting, fact-based story of an orphaned gay youth and his attempt to find himself, his own opinions, and love.” — Daniel Curzon

  • Goodreads
  • Purchase:
  • Amazon US | Amazon UK | SmashwordsWatch Wayne Goodman read from Vanya Says “Go!” on Facebook

     

    EXCERPT
    A few days later the Kazanskys occupied their usual positions around the dining room at breakfast. Nata, Boba, and Koka sat in the alcove, Kostya and Anna at the table. When I walked into the room, no one paid me any attention. I just wanted a few slices of their stale, dark bread, some of their foul-smelling, oily butter, and a small cup of their nasty coffee.
    Just as I reached for the butter knife, Konstantin Vasilyevich sputtered, “What’s this?” He set down the newspaper that had been obscuring his unshaven face. “Listen, everyone. Listen to this.”
    Nata, Boba, and Koka stopped stirring their coffees, Anna Nikolayevna looked at her husband, and I dropped the knife back onto the dish with a clunk!
    “Mysterious suicide,” Kostya read to us, “Yesterday, in Furshtadtskaya Street, at the apartment of an English citizen, L.D. Stroop, a suicide.”
    My heart stopped. I had heard that stupid expression before, thinking it silly because no one’s heart could stop without an impending death. However, at that moment, I fully understood the feeling and the meaning of the words. Had my Stroop taken his own life? He had sounded very upset about some situation, but I couldn’t believe he would kill himself. At least not before seeing me one last time.

    Giveaway: Win a SIGNED paperback of Vanya Says, “Go!”

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    About the Author
    Wayne Goodman has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area most of his life (with too many cats). When not writing, he enjoys playing Gilded Age parlor music on the piano, with an emphasis on women, gay, and Black composers.

    Links: Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Max Vos POW Blog Tour with Excerpt

After being taken prisoner by a Taliban Warlord, can Sam Stone hold on long enough to get his best friend back to his family and find love in the arms of Abbas, the handsome, blue-eyed Arab?
Sam has secretly been in love with is best friend and fellow Marine, Benoit, for quite some time and would not hesitate to die for him.
The macho Marine, Benoit, is shaken to his very core when he and his best friend are taken prisoners and made to do things that he would never have done, especially with Sam, who he knew had feelings for him.
Abbas tries everything to gain his families freedom when an unexpected man comes into his life that he starts having deep feelings for almost immediately.
Sam Stone has been secretly in love with his best friend and fellow Marine, Benoit, for a long time. It’s only after they were captured by a Taliban Warlord that he realizes that he would readily give his life to get Benoit back to his family. But it is Abbas, the Westernized Arab who steals his heart and helps Sam and Benoit regain their freedom. Now Sam has to learn to find true love and help heal not only himself, but the two men he loves deeply.

Warning: This book contains material that may be offensive to some: graphic language, military
situations, P.O.W scenes, adult situations and other situations only meant for an adult audience. 
EXCERPT:
“Mayday, Mayday, Black Hammer is hit; I repeat: Mayday, Black Hammer is hit. We’re going down.” Bucky’s voice may have seemed calm to an outsider, but those who knew him understood he was anything but calm. “Mayday, Mayday. Black Hammer’s current location: thirty-three Lat by seventy Long. Repeat. Mayday, Mayday.” Bucky choked out as the cabin of the helicopter quickly filled with smoke.
Samuel J. Stone looked at the other five members of his team. “Fuck,” he mumbled, wondering if perhaps they weren’t going to make it out of this one. He yelled at his best friend Benoit. “After all the fucked-up shit we’ve been through, I’m not gonna fucking die splattered on the side of some mountain in this hellhole.”
“Vasquez, get that damn door open,” Stone yelled across the cabin to the other Marine.
“Gettin’ it, Stone,” Vasquez answered his lieutenant.
Stone opened the opposite door, letting some of the thick smoke billow out of the burning helicopter. He and his fellow Marine, Benoit, looked out the open door. They could tell they were going down fast.
“We’re still too high to jump,” Stone yelled at the others trapped in the flaming bird.
“If there was anywhere to fucking jump to,” Benoit yelled back.
Even with both side doors open, the cold winter wind whipping through the cabin, the acrid black smoke continued to surge in, making their eyes burn, their chests constrict with the lack of breathable air. There was a bitter taste in Stone’s mouth from inhaling the foulness of burning rubber and jet fuel.
Using hand signals to keep from yelling to be heard, Stone motioned for Vasquez and the two others to use the door they had just opened to escape through, while he and Benoit and the new kid, Saundersen, would use the one opposite.
The high-pitched scream of the rotor motor was loud enough to pierce the ear-protection headphones, making it nearly impossible to speak. Each man could barely hear Bucky still calling out a Mayday over the radio, through the headsets.

BUY LINKS:
Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01MZ64B0L
iBooks – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/p.-o.-w./id1191599631?mt=11
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/693806
Kobo – https://www.kobo.com/us/en/search?Query=P.%20O.%20W.%20(Max%20Vos)&ac=1&acp=Max%20Vos&ac.title=P.%20O.%20W.&ac.author=Max%20Vos
Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/powmaxvos/1117192098?ean=2940153941387

BIO:
Max Vos is a classically trained chef with over 30 years of food service experience. After retiring in 2011, Max found himself with time on his hands and was urged to turn his talents to writing. ‘Cooking English’, a short story, now part of his anthology collection, Inappropriate Roads, is now available. My Hero was his first novel, which turned into an international best seller. Max now has a total of six completed novels, which are listed on his website, along with the entire Memories Series. My Hero: The Olympian, the sequel to My Hero was released late last year.
LINKS:
http://www.maxvos.com/

http://max-vos.tumblr.com/

http://max-vos.blogspot.com/

https://www.instagram.com/max.vos_author/

GIVEAWAY:
Grand prize: $20 Dollar Amazon GC and a Ecopy of P.O.W. by Max Vos
Second prize: The Complete Memories Series ( 5 ebooks) by Max Vos
Third prize: Two Backlist Titles by Max Vos

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My Hero
My Hero: The Olympian
The V Unit
P.O.W
Inappropriate Roads
Going Home

Memories Series
A Christmas Memory
A Christmas Memory 2
A Christmas Memory 3: Home Sweet Home
A Valentine’s Memory
A Spring Break Memory

Available in French
Souvenirs-de-Noël
Mon Héros
Hawk ‘n’ Harley
Unite V
Rentrer a la Maison

Available in Italian
Il Mio Eroe
Andare a Casa
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Guest Post by R. Phoenix: Why I Wrote Too Close

The question I’m being asked a fair bit is “why did you write this story?” This is probably one of the most complicated questions I’ve ever been asked, and the answer changed every step of the way. First of all, let me start by letting you know there are trigger warnings regarding domestic abuse and violence in the book and potentially in this blog post.

When I sat down to write this book, I didn’t expect it to be anything special. I thought it would join the ever-increasing collection of shitty first lines, first paragraphs, and first chapters that have been abandoned on the desolate wasteland of my Google Drive. For a long time, its title was something like “Contemporary Thing.”

I rewrote the first page and a half six times before it ever hit editing. I spent hours on three paragraphs. I erased them. I rewrote. I erased that. (You get the point.) I contemplated dropping it. But somewhere down the line, I figured out what I was writing — and I realized it was special, which both made the journey easier and more difficult.

Too Close isn’t autobiographical, but it is grounded in reality — in my reality, and in other people’s. Abuse touches so many people’s lives, directly or indirectly, but it isn’t something we talk about. There are so many reasons why, but in my experience, it has come down to one basic truth: it’s complicated.

In another world, it would be simple. One partner would perform a specific action, and the other would leave. But in reality, there are other factors: love, fear, children, finances, nowhere to go. Many people who are abused have been slowly but systematically isolated from friends and family, and they don’t know what to do.

Another question I’ve been asked is, “What message are you trying to send with this book?” By contrast, the answer to this one is simple: I didn’t consciously set out to send a message. I know that probably sounds ridiculous, considering the element of abuse, but I didn’t know what I was trying to tell people.

I can’t dictate or predict what readers will take away from this book. Maybe they’ll get an idea of how complicated abuse is in practice and how many factors can suspend someone in an unhealthy relationship. Maybe they’ll think I didn’t villainize the abuser enough or that I villainized him too much. Maybe they’ll think that Skylar is too innocent and too blameless or maybe they’ll think he’s weak, whiny, or spoiled.

Maybe they’ll just laugh at my gloriously terrible puns and carry on without it affecting them at all.

I wouldn’t mind a shift away from the knee jerk, “I’d never let myself be abused…!” Because that shame is part of the reason I don’t — didn’t — talk about my experiences. I realized after I finished Too Close that I could count how many people knew I’d been in an abusive relationship. I could even more easily count how many people knew any details. Over a decade later, I could definitively tell you who I’ve told. Until now — and maybe even now — it was too taboo, uncomfortable, unwelcome, shameful.

The stigma has to be lifted, and the need to remain silent and alone has to be addressed.

No one deserves to be abused. No matter what. And if you’re in an abusive situation — even if it seems hopeless, if you feel helpless, there are options. Spoiler alert? Unlike Skylar, I didn’t have a hot math teacher to get out of my situation, and I didn’t have a dependent younger sibling to be strong for. So take heart from that: this is fiction, and some of it is what I wish had happened instead of what actually did.

You are strong. You are worthy. You can break free. You may not believe it right now, but you deserve better. There are people who will help you.

In the end, I’ve rambled at you for several paragraphs to tell you the answer: the reason why I wrote this book is every bit as complicated as the reason why people stay in abusive relationships.

National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence: http://www.ncdsv.org/ncd_linkswominternational.html

Blurb:

Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.

He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?

Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read.

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Bio:

R. Phoenix has an unhealthy fascination with contrasts: light and dark, heroes and villains, order and chaos. She believes that love can corrupt and power can redeem. Her muse is a sadomasochistic slave driver who thinks it’s terribly amusing to give her the best ideas when she just got comfortable and warm in bed, and she passes on that torture to her readers. She also tries entirely too hard to be funny, and she mercilessly inflicts her terrible sense of humor upon anyone who speaks to her. She’d love it if you’d say hello!

Social Media Links:

Website: http://rphoenixbooks.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RaissaPhoenix
Facebook Profile: https://www.facebook.com/r.phoenix
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/raissaphoenix