Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Music in the Midst of Desolation by Charlie Cochrane

Music in the Midst of Desolation by Charlie Cochrane
Publisher: MLR Press
Genre: Contemporary, Erotic Romance, M/M, GLBT
Length: Short Novel- 20 Minute Read/ 58 pages

Old soldiers never die -- they get whisked straight back to earth to take part in angelic "manoeuvres". Patrick Evans has no idea why he and Billy Byrne, who fought their wars a century apart, have been chosen for this particular "op", nor why it seems to involve fixing up the man Billy left behind with someone Billy's always hated. When Patrick realizes his old lover also has a connection to the case, will the temptation to refuse orders become too great?

Proving that old soldiers still know the drill, and that young ones who die haven't finished with their duty, Charlie Cochrane puts a new twist on the notion of guardian angels. Music in the Midst of Desolation has another mission for fallen soldiers Patrick and Billy, one only they can do.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sauntering Vaguely Downwards by Nessa Warin

Title: Sauntering Vaguely Downwards
Author: Nessa Warin
Cover Artist: Paul Richmond
Publisher: Dreamspinner
Genre: contemporary
Length: 192 pdf pages

Dylan Rojers is excited about Dragon*Con—a huge convention in Atlanta celebrating pop culture, science fiction, and fantasy—but he and his last-minute roommate, Brendan Stone, get off on the wrong foot. It seems that every time they manage a tentative truce, something happens to set them back, and by their second day at the convention, both think there’s no way they can get along.

But maybe Dylan and Brendan have more in common than they thought. Once they start talking, the sparks that were starting arguments ignite a different sort of passion. Through the four fabulous days of parties, shopping in the Dealers Room, costume parades, and discussion panels, Dylan and Brendan grow ever closer. There’s just one problem: they live in different cities, and Dragon*Con doesn’t last forever. Will Dylan and Brendan risk a long-distance romance or is a lasting relationship just one more all-too-brief fantasy?


Dragon*con, for those of us who don't go, sounds like the most event-packed weekend ever, with panels, demonstrations, live action role playing, and cosplay, and probably another sixty things I don't even know about, so why can't a couple of guys fall in love?

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, a little late

Thanks to all you nice people who stop read, maybe comment -- it makes me feel like part of a community. I'm thankful for your willingness to swing by!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shifting Steam ed Lorna Hinson

Shifting Steam
Editor: Lorna Hinson
Genre: steampunk/paranormal
Length: 209 pages / 57800 words

Steampunk and shifters? Do they even go together? Of course they do. Steampunk is all about the possible, the magical and the otherworldly. Shapeshifters are all about bending the idea of humanity into new shapes. Combine them, and you get Shifting Steam.

The stories in Shifting Steam pave the way for a magical journey through space and time to alternate realities, where anything is possible. From dragons to birds, from Victorian era expositions to secret laboratories, these stories explore what happens when man meets beast in a world of airship captains and fantastic creatures. Whether it’s a Jekyll and Hyde style beast, a wolfman who would rather not be a wolf, or a man who wishes he could fly, every kind of creature gets its day in the steampunk sun. Step into the world of Shifting Steam and let it transport you to a sexy, fantastical new universe.

Shifting Steam features stories from authors Rowan Benjamin, Missouri Dalton, Ekaterina Morris, Lydia Nyx, M Raiya, Lynn Townsend and Emory Vargas.

This is a varied collection of stories, ranging from clunky to fine.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Picture is Worth...

Our last pic brought us a couple of excerpts from JL Merrow's new release, Wight Mischief, which sounds really interesting!

Okay, what about our mountain men? What are they up to? Authors, if you have 100 to 1000 words of story or excerpt that might explain, send it with covers, links, and blurbs, and I'll post it here. (Seriously, no one ever writes short, why is that?)

Friday, November 18, 2011

All Shook Up by JM Snyder

All Shook Up by J.M. Snyder
Publisher: JMS Books, LLC
Genre: Historical, Interracial Romance, Erotica, GLBT, M/M
Length: 25,349 words

The year is 1883. Eduard van De Lier is a Dutchman overseeing a spice plantation on the island of Java, in the South Pacific. His obsessive attraction to dark-skinned men is just one of his many secrets. His wife Marien knows of his indiscretions, but as she's content with their Colonial lifestyle, she stays silent.

Until a former lover of Eduard's shows up in their parlor with thoughts of blackmail.

Reza was a crewman on the ship that brought the van De Liers to Java. During the passage, Eduard spent many a night in the younger man's arms. Two years have passed, and the last person Eduard expects to find in his drawing room is Reza, a letter in hand that could destroy the life he and Marien lead.

Seeing him again ignites Eduard's lust for his first dark lover. He hopes to retrieve the letter, either through seduction or subterfuge, and the longer Reza eludes him, the more his desire grows. But they're on shaky ground, and before things can heat up between them, their world explodes -- literally -- when the unstable island of Krakatoa erupts.

Volcanic eruptions tend to happen in bed in romances – JM Snyder has turned the tables slightly. All Shook Up has eruptions both in bed and out, because the greatest volcanic action of modern times blows Eduard and Reza around. Disaster brings out the best and worst in people, so Krakatoa would show what a man is really made of.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


The more I review, the more I have to refine how I think about the story. I love it when language, situation, and plot all come together, but it doesn't always. I have to identify what's gone pear-shaped. Gone are the days when I could wave my hands and say oh that didn't work for me.

This list isn't complete, and it's in no particular order of importance. I've tied to remove identifying characteristics. The book with the issue may or may not have been reviewed here, and may not be m/m. But whatever it was made me grit my teeth, probably more than once per story. In possibly more than 1 story per week. If the mood strikes, I may expand on items in this list for future posts.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Thousand Word Thursday Excerpts from JL Merrow

 Boy On A Beach, 1912
An excerpt from Wight Mischief (actually, 2 separate excerpts) – here's where Marcus and Will first encounter each other:

It was a perfect night for a swim—warm and still, the moon shining brightly. Marcus stood for a moment at the foot of the cliff, just breathing in the air rich with salt and seaweed. Then he grinned to himself and hurtled down the beach, pulling off his shirt and flinging it aside. He resisted the urge to kick his flip-flops high into the air—all those pebbles would be hell on bare feet if he never managed to find his shoes again—and was forced to halt for a moment to undo his jeans and let them fall to the sand. Just for the hell of it, he pushed off his trunks as well.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Amor Prohibido by Ellis Carrington

Title: Amor Prohibido
Author: Ellis Carrington
Cover Artist: Trace Edward Zaber
Publisher: Amber Quill
Genre: paranormal
Length: 127 pages

 Jacob Freehan has no job, no man, and no motivation. In pain both from ending a long-term abusive relationship and a severe back injury, he escapes to the sunny seaside town of Puerto Morelos for a little yoga, a little R&R, and possibly a place to quietly end his own life.

Pakal is a centuries-old immortal Mayan spirit guide who has been charged with getting Jacob on the path toward healing. Romantic involvement with a spirit charge is strictly forbidden, and it has never been a problem...until now. Pakal sees something special in Jacob, but failure to keep a rapidly growing attraction at bay could result in Jacob losing his life and Pakal being condemned to the Underworld forever...
Ellis Carrington has given us a story with some fascinating and diverse characters, some serious problems, and a vivid setting. Woven into a page-turning whole, Amor Prohibido was a single sitting read for me.

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Picture is Worth...

Here's a bit of inspiration, I hope! Our last two pics generated two great little ficlets, so thank you PD Singer and Ellis Carrington!

Does this young man have a story? Anyone who tells it (100 to 1000 words, and why does no one ever believe short is okay too?  Or are these pics just that inspiring?)  please send it to CryselleC AT gmail DOT com, with covers, news, and links, I'll post them here.

Or does one of the older pics inspire you? Tag "Thousand Word Thursday" brings them all up, they're fair game, even if someone else has written for it. It's not first come/only one served, every bit of story gets appreciated here.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Pretty Monsters by Andrea Speed

Pretty Monsters
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Length: 15 pages

Josh knew the night shift at the Quik-Mart would be full of freaks and geeks—and that was before the hell portal opened in the parking lot. Still, he likes to think he can roll with things. Sure, the zombies make a mess sometimes, but at least they never reach for anything more threatening than frozen burritos.

Besides, it’s not all lizard-monsters and the walking dead. There’s also the mysterious hottie with the sly red lips and a taste for sweets.

Josh has had the hots for Hot Guy since the moment he laid eyes on him, and it seems Hot Guy might be sweet on Josh too. Now if only Josh could figure out whether that’s a good thing, a bad thing, or something in between. After all, with a hell vortex just a stone’s throw away, Josh has learned to take nothing at face value—even if it’s a very, very pretty face.

Stories generally have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Even stories in series. If they don't have those elements, they are either not terribly well written or they are something else, no matter what they are called. Perhaps a vignette, or a chapter of a larger work. Pretty Monsters from Andrea Speed is a beautifully written something else.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Can't Be His by Shawn Lane

Can't Be His by Shawn Lane
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Genre: GLBT
Length: 34 pages

Exterminator Lonnie "Roach" Raines and ice skater Alexi Summerville have been friends and roommates for years, but they've never taken their relationship to the next level. When Alexi's coach wants him to train for the World Championship in another state, however, Roach is forced to examine his feelings before he loses Alexi, possibly for good.


Friends to lovers describes Roach and Alexi's relationship; they've known and liked one another for years. Never being single at the same time, nothing has ever happened between them, and it begins to look like nothing ever will. Shawn Lane jolts these two out of their complacent little rut in Can't Be His.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Just Lucky Like That by Andy Slayde and Ali Wilde

Just Lucky That Way
Andy Slayde and Ali Wilde
Genre: Paranormal
Length: 144 pages/37500 words

Just because Zed Roxbury is hearing voices doesn’t mean he’s insane.

And if he is, all of his friends are joining him. Surely doing a favor for a friend should bring good karma, but a fun 4th July holiday turns into much more than anyone could have anticipated when bad luck dogs Zed. And the voices are just a small part of it. Could the opal brooch he finds have anything to do with it? Or perhaps it’s just Zed’s irresistible allure…

Maybe the past should stay buried.


I was a little confused by this story at first; the blurb led me to expect something paranormal, and while I finally got it, it took a while. Just Lucky That Way opens with Zed and Alex heading to a moderately remote farm where they intend to spend the Fourth of July weekend helping a group of friends renovate an old farmhouse.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Thousand Word Thursday Story by PD Singer


The calendar had tormented Tommy for the last three weeks, ever since Jude had flown out of Heathrow to São Paulo. Phone calls were no substitute for the warmth of his lover in their bed or the skill of his hands in the kitchen – Jude had probably forgotten more about food than Tommy would ever know.
To hear the huskiness in Jude's voice from the other side of the Atlantic describing the joys of bolinhos and pastels doused in hot sauce for breakfast made Tommy want that desire for himself. He'd never be the fiery peppers in anyone's meal; no, he was just plain old Tommy Bell, landlord of the Good Man, and would-be chef. He wasn't in Jude's league, and every time Jude flew away to film another set of episodes for his show, Tommy worried that he'd find someone more exciting in a far-flung place and wouldn't be flying back.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Paul Dot Go by Robin Anderson

Title: Paul Dot Go
Author: Robin Anderson
Cover Artist: unknown
Publisher: Nazca Plains
Genre: bizarro
Length: 200 pages
Rating: 1 star out of 5

Review Summary: A poorly-written descent into the bizarre and revolting; best avoided.


Meet WILLIAM (WAN.W) WANDSWORTH, portrait painter extraordinaire, whose diverse backgrounds for his carefully selected subjects (and to their cost) vary from a converted country barn, a startlingly ‘reinvented’ and ‘mechanised’ chrome and mirrored 14th century Italian castle, a refurbished Victorian candle factory and last but not quite least, an eerie cemetery where clandestine midnight assignations could and do go horribly wrong. Added to this bizarre palette is a vibrant clashing of cocks, personalities and multi talents when the larger-than-life artist crosses paintbrushes with the likes of ruthless interior designer HARRY HUMPHRIES and boy wonder pop idol TOMMY TYLER. Aiding and abetting WILLIAM in his determination to become ‘a legend in his own time’ is his hand-picked coterie comprising the sinister dwarf duo, PAUL and NELSON, the olfactory major domo SKIDS along with his bête noir, the rapacious RUFUS, plus the dark, dubious PRINCE ALBERT. An innocent victim caught up within the artist’s ruthless ambitions is the long-suffering MIC SANDFORD whose infatuation with the aforesaid HARRY sees situations ranging from loss of body parts and even a soul or two.

Prepare for a fast, twisted rollercoaster ride - part scenic and part terrifying – of jealousies, perversions and violent revenge but always within the presence of the darkest of humour. As with WILLIAM’S nemesis PAUL GAUGUIN - the original PAUL.GO – this reincarnation is an acquired taste; for some a feast of unsavoury delights and for others a banquet of despair.


The road to hell is paved with good intentions: I was moved to read this book because of some misguided willingness to try an author unknown to me from a press I didn't recognize. Further checking showed books from Lethe Press and Silver Publishing under Robin Anderson's name, although it may not be the same person, and by the time I researched Nazca Plains, it was too late; I was committed to finish it. The blurb, seen in depth a second time, had all the clues to send me running; I plead not considering that bizarro fiction might be submitted for review here. Learn from my error.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Galen and the Forest Lord by Eden Winters

Galen and the Forest Lord by Eden Winters
Publisher: Torquere Press
Genre: Fantasy, GLBT
Length: 119 pages

By the time Galen Olaf-kin woke up and smelled the spiced ale, it was too late, and he never finished the wicked deed for which he stood trial. Banished from his home, he flees to the forest, taking nothing but the unwanted infant he's rescued. Perhaps the legends are true and the forest lord will take them both in. The lord is said to give sanctuary to outcasts, but none of the stories mention the naughty, tempting things he whispers, or that he shares Galen's forbidden passions.

Lord Erik rolls his eyes at the prophecy that says when human hands deliver a babe to the forest, he’ll meet the mate destined to reunite forest folk with humankind. What interest has he in a child? The handsome human who brings the babe is another matter entirely, and a little thing like destiny won't stand in Erik's way of claiming the golden-haired Galen as his own. Or will it?

Sometimes prophecies are overrated, legends incomplete, and heroes not always the sharpest swords in the scabbard.


I've learned to read Eden Winters' stories with a box of tissues nearby, because either I'm going to cry or snort my drink. When I read Galen and the Forest Lord, I should have put my ice tea down.

This story takes a very tongue-in-cheek look at the standard were-wolf tropes, making them fresh and funny. Just disclosing the forest-folk's wolfhood and playing with Galen's disbelief and fear was good for a LOL. The unwanted infant he's carrying is Galen's ticket in, and the source of considerable comedy.