Familiar Angel by Amy Lane: Exclusive Guest Post, Excerpt and Giveaway

One hundred and forty years ago, Harry, Edward, and Francis met an angel, a demon, and a sorceress while escaping imprisonment and worse! They emerged with a new family—and shapeshifting powers beyond their wildest dreams.

Now Harry and his brothers use their sorcery to rescue those enslaved in human trafficking—but Harry’s not doing so well. Pining for Suriel the angel has driven him to take more and more risks until his family desperately asks Suriel for an intervention.

In order for Suriel to escape the bindings of heaven, he needs to be sure enough of his love to fight to be with Harry. Back when they first met, Harry was feral and angry, and he didn’t know enough about love for Suriel to justify that risk. Can Suriel trust in Harry enough now to break his bonds of service for the boy who has loved his Familiar Angel for nearly a century and a half?

Title: Familiar Angel
Author: Amy Lane
Release Date: October 20, 2017
Category: Paranormal
Pages: 200

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Cats on a Mission

By Amy Lane

So, shapeshifting cats are a particular fantasy of mine. I featured them in The Little Goddess series, in which the humans shifted into cats of human size—and I loved them. The gag of the cat licking his privates who suddenly turns into a human will never get old.

But the cats in Familiar Angel are, well, familiars. There is no mass-conversion in familiar shapeshifters. They’re just cat-sized cats.

And believe me, I played with this concept as much as I possibly could.

One of my favorite moments in the story is when Harry wakes up and his brother is beside him reading from a kindle. “His paw moved and the light flashed, and he turned the page.”

Because if you’re a cat who can read, wouldn’t reading from a kindle be the best thing in the world? No opposable thumbs needed!

Harry and his brothers hunt mice for themselves and rabbits for people, kill spiders, spy on bad guys, and occasionally fish. When they don’t feel like being human, they cat. When they find they have to communicate with other people, they human—but they don’t have to be happy about it. And when they fall in love…

They struggle.

Because they found their cats 140 years ago. They’ve gotten comfortable hiding from hurt, hiding from anger, hiding from fear.  When they cat, they don’t have to deal with the terrible complexities of human emotions. They just have to hunt mice and lick their privates—but that doesn’t necessarily prepare them for the real world.

So as much fun as writing the cat parts were—Edward fighting the guy with the semi-automatic weapon and winning, Francis becoming the ultimate killing machine in the body of a fuzzy Siamese space-cadet, Harry pouting in the stream shallows before learning to fish—it was writing the human parts that were the most fascinating.

I mean, I’m pretty sure my own cats love me—as long as I feed them. They come to me for companionship, the bitch at me when I’m lacking in sensitivity to their superior selves, and I really am their best bet in the winter when they need full-sized body heaters during the cold, dark night.

But I don’t think they’ll ever be in love with me.

And writing that transition, between the self-protective cat and the vulnerable human, was maybe the most fascinating part of writing the book.

I have to say, although it’s an unusual genre, I hope people check in to see Harry, my brave warrior cat, fall in love—and Edward and Francis after him.

Good kitties!

“Hide!” Harry had just enough presence of mind to grab Francis’s other side to help Edward pull him through the thicket of brambles that lined the river. Bleeding, dirty, breathless, they slid to a halt in a hollow between the blackberry bushes and the hill, lying on their stomachs, Francis sandwiched between them. Francis, who had received a terrible scratch from the corner of his mouth to the corner of his eye, moaned in pain. Harry shushed him, and Edward placed a gentle hand over his mouth.

A woman, clothed in blinding, glowing white, burst into the clearing with a man—man?—draped over her shoulder. His clothes were red velvet, and thick curly hair grew all over his face and large skull, like a goat’s.

His back feet were cloven.

“Leonard,” she begged. “Leonard… darling. Wake up. Wake up. I need your help.”

Leonard—the thing… man—rolled his head, much like Francis had done, and moaned. “Emma, leave me. If they find me with you… if they find Mullins here….”

“Mullins!” the woman whispered. “Mullins—I’m losing him. Oh please—Mullins, he’s losing himself again.”

“I’m losing myself again!” came a terrible growl, and another Leonard-like thing stepped into the clearing—this one very obviously glowing red. “Emma, we need to do the ritual. I can’t….” The monster thing, Mullins, let out a horrifying series of snuffling grunts and growls. “I’ll turn,” he said, sounding tearful—if a beast could be in tears. “I’ll turn and gut you both.”

“I understand,” she whispered. “You’ve been very brave. Here.” She set Leonard on the ground then and started to pull items from a leather satchel across her shoulder. “We’ll do it right now.”

“This isn’t the ceremonial place!” Mullins said, sounding despondent. “It’s not cleansed, it’s not prepared—”

To Harry’s surprise, Emma put a tender hand on the beast’s cheek. “My sweet boy, you’ve been too long in hell. We don’t need the trappings of the spell—although the things in those hex bags should help us focus. We just need ourselves, and our good intentions, and our desire.”

Mullins’s grunt was self-deprecating. “The road to hell is the one paved with good intentions,” he said gruffly.

“That’s only because the demons trying to get to earth walked that path first,” she said, sounding cheeky. In their quiet interaction, Harry got a better look at her. Not young—over twenty—but not old either, she was beautiful in every sense of the word. Straight nose, even teeth, perfectly oval face, and blonde hair that streamed, thick and healthy, to her waist, she was what every boy should dream about when he went to sleep hoping for a wife.

Harry didn’t dream about girls, but he could look at this one and know the appeal.

But it was more than the physical beauty—and she had it all, soft hips, small waist, large breasts—there was the kindness to the beasties. The gentleness and calm she radiated when Mullins had threatened her.

Suddenly Harry had a powerful yearning for his mum, when she’d been dead for nearly five years.

“Here,” Emma said, breaking the sweetness of the moment. “Take the hex bags—there’s ten. Make a pentagram with me and Leonard in the center. I’m summoning an angel, love. You may want to leave when you’re done. I’ve no guarantees he’ll be friendly to you.”

“That’s not news,” Mullins said dryly and began his task. “Do you…. Emma, I know you’re powerful. You summoned my master for knowledge on power alone. But all else you have done, you have done out of love.”

“Including persuade you to our side,” she said. While he set the hex bags, she was stretching Leonard out before her, stripping his shirt with deft, practiced movements. The skin underneath the clothes was smooth and human, and Harry felt nauseated at the abomination of beast and man.

But Emma seemed to care for him.

“It would be worth any torture,” Mullins said softly, pausing in his duties, “to know Leonard will live.”

“Come with us!” Emma begged. “I may not love you like I love Leonard, but you’ve been a good friend to us. Please—”

Mullins shook his head. “It’s not enough to break me free,” he said, and his bestial smile would haunt Harry and Edward for years. “Someone would have to love me enough to sacrifice for me, and make no mistake, Emma. This will come down to your sacrifice. You will be stripped of your power, your youth—are you sure you want to do this?”

Emma let out a sigh. “I would live a mortal lifetime without worry,” she said softly. “But I do not want him all alone without me. ’Twould be cruel.” She closed her eyes for a moment, and then—

Harry gasped and heard Edward do the same.

She was looking right at them.

“I’m about to do something very wrong,” she said, great conviction carrying in her serenity. “But I think something very right too. Carry on, Mullins, but run as soon as you are done.” Her voice dropped. “Please, my friend—I’ll have enough weighing on my soul for tonight’s doings as it is.”

Mullins continued to bustle, and as he set the last hex bag down, Emma began to chant. Mullins traced a circle in the dirt around the outside bags, and then, when the circle ends touched, he pulled out a knife.

Emma nodded unhappily at him and then bit her lip as he cut a line on his palm and let the blood drip on the sealed ends of the dirt line. He and Emma looked at each other again, a strong friendship locking their gaze, before he turned and lurched away, his gait awkward and crippled on his cloven hooves. Harry felt some compassion for him then, poor beast, good friend—but his gaze didn’t linger.

He was too busy watching the white light around Emma grow larger, filling the space inside the pentagram like a bowl.

The light exploded outward, filling the clearing itself, and then one more time, just a few feet more.

Harry and Edward stared at each other, terrified.

They were in the light circle as well.

“Glory!” Edward whispered, and Harry was too shaken to quiet him.

Francis stirred between them and opened his eyes slowly. For a moment Harry feared that he’d startle and scream—Harry certainly would have raised a bloody great hue and cry—but then, Francis wasn’t Harry.

He parted his bruised lips and smiled.

“An angel,” he breathed, and Harry turned his attention back to the center of the clearing.

Where an angel appeared.

Harry’s heart stopped in his throat. Tall—because of course, right? An angel would be tall. Clothed in robes that glittered like diamonds, whiter than pearls he was. His hair was a marvelous flame-gold color, red like a sunrise or an ember. His face was more handsome than sin—bold, straight nose, full lips, a square jaw, eyes of warm, solid brown.

Harry’s groin gave a painful throb, and he almost wept. Those things—those dirty, filthy things that were done to him by rough miners and haughty bankers with gold in their grubby fists—those things were not right here.

Not with an angel.

Not with this angel.

Harry’s eyes burned with the perfection of this angel.

“Suriel,” Emma breathed.

 

Amy Lane has two kids who are mostly grown, two kids who aren’t, three cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and gay romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.


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Safe and Sound by Caitlin Ricci: Release Day Review with Giveaway

Twenty-one-year-old Mason has to get out of his mother’s house, where her boyfriend subjects him to unwanted advances—and won’t take no for an answer. Since she didn’t believe Mason when he told her about his uncle’s sexual abuse, Mason knows he’s on his own, and it’s up to him to raise the money he needs. He thinks he’s in luck when he takes a modeling job.

Oliver is a photographer, and getting guys and sex has always been easy for him. His current open relationship is no exception: more friendship and fun than anything. But when Oliver meets Mason, he can see the younger man is fragile and desperately in need of help. Before anything can develop between them, Mason needs to free himself of his terrible living situation and start on the road to healing. Oliver wants to stand beside him as he does. What surprises him is the discovery that he might need Mason as much as Mason needs him.

Title: Safe and Sound
Author: Caitlin Ricci
Release Date: October 18, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 84

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Mason seemed so young to me. Not like 21, but more like 17-18. He was so innocent and the way his mom and her boyfriend treated him…made me think of him more as a kid, in the beginning. Working for his friend Eli at a horse sanctuary was his get away from the advances from the weird boyfriend of his mom, helped; though I suspect Eli is from another story, but I didn’t know this was a spin off, so I didn’t know much about him. My heart hurt for Mason though, there was a reason he was the way he was and it wasn’t just the mom’s boyfriend… he was just another one…

Oliver…I didn’t get the best first impression from him. He seemed kinda skeevy and I didn’t like the relationship he and his boyfriend had or what they wanted from Mason. It didn’t seem like the thing Mason would be into from the very beginning and I almost stopped reading. Not that I’m against ménage’s or poly relationships, I guess I just hoped for more for Mason. He seemed so unsure of himself and other people, and for good reason; but, I didn’t like the thought of anyone taking advantage of him or using him for something, because he wanted and deserved more than that. I liked the way Oliver was there for him and wanted to keep him safe, but when it came to Mason, but even breaking up with the boyfriend so he could try something with Mason, wasn’t Oliver’s idea. It was the boyfriends…I just thought Mason deserved more. Then, it just ended…

Not really a HEA, more like a HFN beginning.

3 pieces of eye candy for me.


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In Over Our Heads by CJane Elliott: Release Day Review with Giveaway

A Stories From the Shore Book

Anthony Vallen is the life of any party. Full of energy and fun, Anthony adores romance and enjoys playing matchmaker for his friends while dancing the night away with a series of Mr. Right Nows. But he’s given up on his own happy ending. A bad breakup years ago made him a secret cynic about love… until he runs into Walter Elkins—the boy who broke his teenaged heart—on a scuba-diving vacation in Key West. Suddenly, Anthony’s reasons for shunning romance no longer hold much water. Being with Walter again forces Anthony to get serious—about himself, his worth, and his heart’s desires.

Brilliant and self-contained, scientist Walter Elkins prefers deep thoughts to other people. He’s a good boss and a model citizen, but Walter doesn’t let anyone get close. After a tragedy drove him out of his science career, Walter landed in Key West and became owner of a dive shop and a bar. Things are fine until Anthony Vallen—the only person who ever penetrated his defenses—shows up, and Walter’s calm, controlled life capsizes. He and Anthony have a second chance for love, but Walter must confront the old fears that threaten to torpedo their happiness.

Title: In Over Our Heads
Series: Stories From the Shore: Book Two
Author: CJane Elliott
Release Date: October 16, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 192

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I haven’t read a lot of second chance love books. That’s likely due to what my friends describe as my loving I read “puppies pooping rainbows”…the fact that I hate the heartbreak that comes before a second chance romance, and the hurt that is palpable as the two MCs begin to reconnect on their way back to their HEA. However for some reason this one caught my eye and I had to go for it. (Maybe it was the cover. I’m a Pisces so I love water.)

This story centers around two men who were incredibly in love, until one day when one almost lost the other and felt he couldn’t be the man of his dreams. 

Anthony was flamboyant, a party man, a man who always was up for a one night stand but never again would he fall in love. Until he sees Walter again, in a different environment and under circumstances that they both wouldn’t have considered a possibility in their previous lives. Anthony represented himself as exactly who he wanted to be and made no apologies for himself. 

Walter made a complete transition from the geeky scientist life to a businessman in a beach town that loved and appreciated all he did in the community. 

When they finally reconnected they couldn’t stay apart despite both their best intentions. They were drawn back together, similar to the sand and the sea. 

I loved that even as they decided to begin a life together not everything was instantly solved. They had issues, both emotional as well as the physicality of living in different states and different lives. Walter had no desire to return to Boston, yet he was willing to do what Anthony needed so they could both find happiness together. 

Not having read book 1, there were a few things that didn’t quite click for me at first but I definitely didn’t feel lost jumping in here. 

I’d love to read more in this series, if the author writes it. But then again I’d want it to be by the sea again. Hint hint. 🙂

4 pieces of eye candy

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The Fireman’s Pole by Sue Brown: Release Day Review with Giveaway

The flames of passion rise for the lord of the manor.

It’s springtime in Calminster village, but things are already heating up. Sexy firefighter Dale Maloney is new to the local station. When Dale backs the company fire engine into the village maypole, he attracts the ire—and attention—of Benedict Raleigh, the Baron Calminster.

Soon after meeting Dale, Ben breaks off his relationship with his girlfriend, and the sparks between Ben and Dale are quickly fanned into flames.

Unfortunately the passion between the two men isn’t the only blaze in the village. An arsonist’s crimes are escalating, and it’s up to Dale and his crew to stop them. Meanwhile, as they investigate, an unscrupulous business partner attempts to coerce Ben into marrying his daughter. The May Day parade is around the corner, but they have plenty of fires to put out before Ben can finally slide down the fireman’s pole.

Title: The Fireman’s Pole
Author: Sue Brown
Release Date: October 15, 2017
Category: Contemporary, Dreamspun Desires
Pages: 220

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I just love the Dreamspun Desires series. Every time I read one, I go away happy. Sue Brown‘s The Fireman’s Pole is no exception, in fact this is one I will definitely read again.

So much dichotomy going on with Ben and Dale, and it made for a fun book to read.

With Ben, it was interesting how people liked him, yet he really had no clue. He often left events early, or tried to stay away, not realizing that people actually appreciated him as a person, and not just as “lord of the manor”.

Meanwhile, Dale, when he meets Ben, has some issues with trying to not look like an incompetent. Once he establishes himself though, and begins a relationship with Ben, his dominant side comes out, and Ben is putting in his hands. He didn’t care that Ben was a baron. He cared that he wanted Ben, and Ben wanted him right back.

There was some mystery added in, for extra spice, but not anything that was too tough to figure out. I loved some of the funny parts (the May Pole incident was so funny, and poor Dale never seemed to live it down). And a few parts that tore your heartstrings up a bit. All in all, just and enjoyable read.

4 pieces of eye candy


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Taming the Beast by Andrew Grey: New Release Review with Giveaway

The suspicious death of Dante Bartholomew’s wife changed him, especially in the eyes of the residents of St. Giles. They no longer see a successful businessman… only a monster they believe was involved. Dante’s horrific reputation eclipses the truth to the point that he sees no choice but to isolate himself and his heart.
The plan backfires when he meets counselor Beau Clarity and the children he works with. Beau and the kids see beyond the beastly reputation to the beautiful soul inside Dante, and Dante’s cold heart begins to thaw as they slip past his defenses. The warmth and hope Beau brings to Dante’s life help him see his entire existence—his trials and sorrows—in a brighter light.
But Dante’s secrets could rip happiness from their grasp… especially since someone isn’t above hurting those Dante has grown to love in order to bring him down.

Title: Taming the Beast
Author: Andrew Grey
Release Date: October 13, 2017
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 200

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Andrew Grey writes so prolifically that I think he must write a book a week. And where he gets his plot bunnies is only known to him. However, this book seems to have come from the Beauty and the Beast storyline, with a much more modern (and of course m/m) feel.

Dante’s past still haunted him even after meeting and falling for Beau. The guilt he carried for the death of his wife was so self inflicted that the town picked up on it, treating him as he felt he should be treated, as a killer. Moving past it would take more than the love of a single man, but forgiveness of himself.

I really liked that though Beau was the “Beauty” in this mix, he wasn’t a man to just sit there and do as his Beast told him. He was determined to make the situation work, as well as wanting to see beyond the distant exterior of Dante. He accepted that Dante could do things in the town he couldn’t but wanted to make sure that he didn’t take advantage of that.

They fell in love quickly but it did feel organic simply because Beau wouldn’t let Dante keep pushing him back. They worked together to figure out how to deal with the crises that came to them, yet didn’t try to solve the problem for the other (well okay Dante wanted to but he respected Beau’s wish to not have him solve it)

The epilogue worked well to complete their story, and gave the reader a glimpse into the full transition of Dante back into the world he had cut himself off from. I would have liked a little more informations on how his deceased wife’s parents handled everything but that wasn’t critical to the story. These two men with such distinct tragedies in their lives found a love and life together, bringing their HEA full circle. Definitely a book I enjoyed.

3.5 pieces of eye candy


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The Stark Divide by J. Scott Coatsworth: Blog Tour and Excerpt

Some stories are epic.

The Earth is in a state of collapse, with wars breaking out over resources and an environment pushed to the edge by human greed.

Three living generation ships have been built with a combination of genetic mastery, artificial intelligence, technology, and raw materials harvested from the asteroid belt. This is the story of one of them—43 Ariadne, or Forever, as her inhabitants call her—a living world that carries the remaining hopes of humanity, and the three generations of scientists, engineers, and explorers working to colonize her.

From her humble beginnings as a seedling saved from disaster to the start of her journey across the void of space toward a new home for the human race, Liminal Sky tells the tales of the world, the people who made her, and the few who will become something altogether beyond human.

Humankind has just taken its first step toward the stars.

Publisher: DSP Publications

Author: J. Scott Coatsworth

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Length: 284 Pages

Format: eBook, Paperback

Release Date: 10/10/17

Pairing: MM

Price: 6.99, 16.99

Series: Liminal Sky (Book One)

Genre: Sci Fi, Space, Gen Ship, Apocalypse, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer

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DRESSLER, SCHEMATIC,” Colin McAvery, ship’s captain and a third of the crew, called out to the ship-mind.

A three-dimensional image of the ship appeared above the smooth console. Her five living arms, reaching out from her central core, were lit with a golden glow, and the mechanical bits of instrumentation shone in red. In real life, she was almost two hundred meters from tip to tip.

Between those arms stretched her solar wings, a ghostly green film like the sails of the Flying Dutchman.

“You’re a pretty thing,” he said softly. He loved these ships, their delicate beauty as they floated through the starry void.

“Thank you, Captain.” The ship-mind sounded happy with the compliment—his imagination running wild. Minds didn’t have real emotions, though they sometimes approximated them.

He cross-checked the heading to be sure they remained on course to deliver their payload, the man-sized seed that was being dragged on a tether behind the ship. Humanity’s ticket to the stars at a time when life on Earth was getting rapidly worse.

All of space was spread out before him, seen through the clear expanse of plasform set into the ship’s living walls. His own face, trimmed blond hair, and deep brown eyes, stared back at him, superimposed over the vivid starscape.

At thirty, Colin was in the prime of his career. He was a starship captain, and yet sometimes he felt like little more than a bus driver. After this run… well, he’d have to see what other opportunities might be awaiting him. Maybe the doc was right, and this was the start of a whole new chapter for mankind. They might need a guy like him.

The walls of the bridge emitted a faint but healthy golden glow, providing light for his work at the curved mechanical console that filled half the room. He traced out the T-Line to their destination. “Dressler, we’re looking a little wobbly.” Colin frowned. Some irregularity in the course was common—the ship was constantly adjusting its trajectory—but she usually corrected it before he noticed.

“Affirmative, Captain.” The ship-mind’s miniature chosen likeness appeared above the touch board. She was all professional today, dressed in a standard AmSplor uniform, dark hair pulled back in a bun, and about a third life-sized.

The image was nothing more than a projection of the ship-mind, a fairy tale, but Colin appreciated the effort she took to humanize her appearance. Artificial mind or not, he always treated minds with respect.

“There’s a blockage in arm four. I’ve sent out a scout to correct it.”

The Dressler was well into slowdown now, her pre-arrival phase as she bled off her speed, and they expected to reach 43 Ariadne in another fifteen hours.

Pity no one had yet cracked the whole hyperspace thing. Colin chuckled. Asimov would be disappointed. “Dressler, show me Earth, please.”

A small blue dot appeared in the middle of his screen.

Dressler, three dimensions, a bit larger, please.” The beautiful blue-green world spun before him in all its glory.

Appearances could be deceiving. Even with scrubbers working tirelessly night and day to clean the excess carbon dioxide from the air, the home world was still running dangerously warm.

He watched the image in front of him as the East Coast of the North American Union spun slowly into view. Florida was a sliver of its former self, and where New York City’s lights had once shone, there was now only blue. If it had been night, Fargo, the capital of the Northern States, would have outshone most of the other cities below. The floods that had wiped out many of the world’s coastal cities had also knocked down Earth’s population, which was only now reaching the levels it had seen in the early twenty-first century.

All those new souls had been born into a warm, arid world.

We did it to ourselves. Colin, who had known nothing besides the hot planet he called home, wondered what it had been like those many years before the Heat.

 

Scott spends his time between the here and now and the what could be. Enticed into fantasy and sci fi by his mom at the tender age of nine, he devoured her Science Fiction Book Club library. But as he grew up, he wondered where all the people like him were in the books he was reading.

He decided that it was time to create the kinds of stories he couldn’t find at his local bookstore. If there weren’t gay characters in his favorite genres, he would remake them to his own ends.

His friends say Scott’s mind works a little differently – he sees relationships between things that others miss, and gets more done in a day than most folks manage in a week. He loves to transform traditional sci fi, fantasy, and contemporary worlds into something unexpected.

Starting in 2014, Scott has published more than 15 works, including two novels and a number of novellas and short stories.

He runs both Queer Sci Fi and QueeRomance Ink with his husband Mark, sites that bring queer people together to promote and celebrate fiction that reflects their own lives.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook (personal): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Facebook (author page): https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworthauthor/

Twitter: https://www.facebook.com/jscoatsworth/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8392709.J_Scott_Coatsworth

QueeRomance Ink: https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/j-scott-coatsworth/

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GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour: Exclusive Guest Post C.S. Poe

**TCO is so excited for our final guest post in the GRL 2017 Official Blog Tour. This weekend, we will be working our way towards Denver, and I love that C.S. Poe is our final author. I have been loving her books! So check out her survival list!**

Surviving GRL with Poe’s Characters – C.S. Poe

 

Hello, everyone! I’m C.S. Poe, attending author for GRL 2017. I hemmed and hawed what to write for my GRL post for a while. (And by a while, I mean right up until the evening it was due.) I figured, since this is my third attendance, I should share some tips and tricks for the newcomers. But on the other hand, I’ve only been published since 2015 and perhaps a lot of you aren’t yet familiar with my work.

So how to combine those two ideas into one post…. How about some advice my characters have often had to learn the hard way? I write mystery, romance, and paranormal, so there’s some pretty decent tips here that I feel could be spun on their head and still be practical convention recommendations.

  1. If you find any sort of abandoned egg, animal, or small child in the trashcan of a family bathroom, do not try to adopt it. – Love, Marriage, and a Baby Carriage

 

  1. Dead bodies turn up anywhere, and when you least expect them. If you trip over one, call the police. – The Mystery of Nevermore

 

  1. If you’re a picky eater, have a food app handy. Otherwise you may be stuck eating fluffernutter sandwiches all weekend. – Joy

 

  1. Definitely dress up for the Wild West party, but with the West comes crazed Steampunk engineers, stoic outlaws, and sassy coppers. Be ready for trouble. – Gunner the Deadly

 

  1. Sometimes liquor can cure all our troubles. Whether you’re overwhelmed from meeting authors, just spent your entire book budget on day one, or haven’t slept in three days— have a whiskey neat. Also maybe a cupcake. – The Mystery of the Curiosities

See? Relevant. I mean— except for probably the dead bodies thing, but I didn’t want to not mention it on the off chance…. Look, just don’t fancy yourself a sleuth in that moment, okay? Bad things happen.

Anyway, I’m psyched to see everyone in Denver! I’ve never been. I wonder if it’s chilly in October? Tip Number 6 should be to pack a sweater. That’s not from any of my books, it’s just a practical suggestion.

C.S. Poe

xo

C.S. Poe is an author of gay mystery, romance, and paranormal books.

She is a reluctant mover and has called many places home in her lifetime. C.S. has lived in New York City, Key West, and Ibaraki, Japan, to name a few. She misses the cleanliness, convenience, and limited edition gachapon of Japan, but she was never very good at riding bikes to get around.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful, and a major weakness for toys. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. is a member of the International Thriller Writers Organization.

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High Balls by Tara Lain: Blog Tour, Exclusive Guest Post & Excerpt, & Giveaway

Sometimes only the wrong guy can bring the 
right happy ever after.

 

Though only twenty-six, single father Theodore Walters lives with his head in the clouds and his feet firmly planted in reality. At the center of his life is Andy, his seven-year-old son, with whom he shares no DNA, though nobody—including his religious-fanatic in-laws—knows that, and Theodore will do anything to keep them from finding out. Theodore works hard to get his PhD and the tenure and salary that might follow to make a better life for Andy—but the head of his department thinks his dissertation on Jane Austen and romance novels is frivolous.

Theodore’s carefully planned life goes off the rails when he walks into a popular Laguna Beach bar and meets the bartender, “Snake” Erasmo, a pierced and tattooed biker who sends Theodore’s imagination—and libido—soaring. Snake has even more secrets than Theodore and couldn’t be a less “appropriate” match, but he might be the only guy with the skills to show Theodore that happily-ever-after is for real.

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Romance Rocks the World!

Hi! I’m Tara Lain and I’m so happy to be here to celebrate the release of my brand new Balls to the Wall novel – High Balls. In High Balls, my hero Theodore is working on his PhD and his dissertation is based on the connection between the works of Jane Austen and the huge romance market. His department head thinks the subject is frivolous and, in fact, denigrates the entire romance genre.

Of course as we know as readers and writers of romance, this academic asshole isn’t alone in his opinions. Sadly, many people write off romance as not literature. I’d submit nothing could be further from the truth.

A lot of the dismissal of romance comes from recognized or unrecognized misogyny. Since women love romance, it must not be valuable. But romance is the largest genre of fiction in the world by so much it’s ridiculous. Nothing else comes close. It is that popular because it speaks to the truth of the soul. We read it not to escape as we’re often accused, but rather to learn how to live and love, how love can transform the world, and how hope is never wasted.

The craft applied to romance is at least as good as that found in other genres and even in so called literary fiction. The people who dismiss it have never read it. Are there bad romance writers? Many. Are there bad writers in every genre? You bet. In fact, some of the best writers I’ve ever read write romance. Good writers would be crazy not to – since that’s where the readers are!

If Jane Austen was working today she’d be called a romance writer and would be as dismissed like all the authors in the romance genre – rather than being called the creator of the novel form and one of the greatest authors who ever lived.

Just as my hero Theodore says, we should be proud to read and write romance. It’s what’s happening, friends. It’s the literature that rocks the world.

“Bartender?”

Snake looked in the mirror again. That was Pink Hair talking. Teddy stood beside the Greek statue and looked—scared? Anxious? Probably embarrassed. Why did he come here? To prance this beautiful man in front of me? He sighed. As if I’m all that.

He turned, tried to smile, and failed. “Yeah. What can I get you?”

“Champagne cocktail for me, darling.” Pink Hair smiled and gazed into Snake’s eyes. Did they know who he was?

Greek Statue asked for the same. Big, hunky, and handsome wanted a beer and—that left Teddy. Snake nodded to him without meeting his eyes. “What can I get you?”“Beer, please. Uh, Snake, these are my friends.”

Startled at being addressed by name, he finally looked at Teddy. “I gathered that.”“Uh, that’s Rodney, uh, Rod, and his husband, Hunter. Rod’s a famous painter and Hunter’s a college teacher like me.”

Snake still couldn’t get his smile muscles to move, but he stuck a hand across the bar and shook with both men, although the one called Rod only offered fingertips. Snake’s eyes fled back to Teddy.

Teddy glanced at the beauty next to him and said, “This is David. He owns the Underwood Galley on Forest. He’s Rod’s bestie. His husbands are away playing volleyball, so we’re keeping him company.”

Snake just stared. Too many words he didn’t quite grasp. Did he really say husbands? Like, plural? But bottom line—Snake’s face broke out in a smile. “Hi, David, really pleased to meet you.” He shook the handsome man’s slim hand as his brain repeated the mantra, Not his boyfriend. Not his boyfriend. Not his boyfriend.

Rod said in his dancing, musical voice, “You thought David was Theodore’s boyfriend, didn’t you?”

Snake felt the crease pop between his eyebrows and smoothed it with intention. “Looked like it.”

Teddy really frowned. “So you assumed I lied to you?”

“Thought crossed my mind.” He glanced up at the scowling Teddy Bear and almost laughed. “Sorry.”

Rod said, “Theodore, be reasonable. You two barely know each other. Snake might think you would lie to him.”

Snake shook his head. “No, actually, I don’t. Teddy here’s not the lying type. But….” He shrugged.

Rod grinned. “But you’re the jealous type.”

“Not usually. Let me get your drinks.” He turned away, but saw the Greek god David look at Teddy with wide eyes and mouth the word Wow.

He swallowed his chuckle as he added the bitters to the champagne and then pulled the beer from the cooler.

Rod had this funny wheedling voice. “So you call Theodore ‘Teddy’?”

Snake turned back with two of the drinks and flashed a smile. “Teddy Bear, actually.”

Teddy sat back on his stool. “Snake!”

“I mean, who could call that pretty thing something so stodgy and serious as Theodore?” He cast a sideways glance at Teddy.David looked at Teddy too. “Uh, you better call him Theodore—because that bear can bite.” He laughed.

“Nah.” Snake slid the other beer and champagne to David and Teddy. “We need to get this boy to stop fighting what he is and work it.”

Rod shrieked. “Snake, I adore you! No one with an endless vocabulary could have ever so perfectly expressed the life plan for Theodore Walters.”

Snake looked at Teddy. “Walters. I didn’t know. Pleased to meet you, Teddy Bear Walters.”

A wild giggle exploded through Teddy’s compressed lips. “You’re all crazy!” He shook his head. “What’s your last name?”

“Erasmo.”

“Snake Erasmo. Your mother did not name you Snake.”

“Nope.”

David said, “Who did?”

“Some friends. Something to do with the walk.”

Teddy rested a cheek on his fist. So damned cute Snake wanted to eat him. “What’s your real name?”

“If I told you, I might have to kill you.”

“It’s the only way to keep me from killing you for calling me Teddy Bear. I mean, aren’t all Teddy Bears portly and hairy?”

“Well, my teddy bears always made me feel good, and warm, like I had love curled up next to my belly.”

Rod sighed. “Oh my.”

Teddy blinked hard. “Okay, but you still have to tell me your real name, or—else!”

Oh man, I could drown in those wide eyes. “Well, in that case, my name is Streams. Crystal Streams, to be exact. My hippie mama was into Native culture at the time I was born. Shit, it’s a good thing. The following year she might have named me Frankincense or—Marjoram.”

All four men laughed, but Theodore cocked his head with a quizzical expression. Hmm.

Snake held up a hand and walked over to the two guys who’d just sat down at the bar, took their orders, filled them, and then slowly sidled back to Teddy and company. Have to give these guys time to size me up, because I think my future depends on it.

 

Volley Balls
Bk #1
Available to purchase at 
 
Fire Balls 
Bk #2
Available to purchase at
Beach Balls
Bk #3
Available to purchase at

 

 
FAST Balls
Bk #5
Available to purchase at
Prefer paperback?
The first and second book are now available in paperback! 

Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 32. Her best-selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Paranormal Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.  She lives with her soul-mate husband and her soul-mate dog near the sea in California where she sets a lot of her books.  Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!

You can find Tara at LainWebsite | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest

 

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.

Gummy Bears & Grenades by Charlie Cochet: Release Day Review with Giveaway

THIRDS agent Dexter J. Daley can’t wait to marry his fiancé, Team Leader Sloane Brodie, but first he’s looking forward to celebrating his bachelor party—which he intends to be a shenanigans-free evening of getting his groove on with family and friends.

Of course events don’t work out as planned, but for Dex that’s nothing new. One thing is for sure, dodging drug dealers and hired thugs amid booze, dancing—and even a bear costume—will guarantee it’s a night Dex will never forget. Now he just needs to survive all the fun.

Enjoy this bonus story from the THIRDS universe. These events occur between Darkest Hour Before Dawn and Tried & True in the series timeline. While reading this story would enhance your experience of the THIRDS series, it is not essential to read before Tried & True.

Title: Gummy Bears & Grenades
Series: THIRDS: Book 10
Author: Charlie Cochet
Release Date: October 4, 2017
Category: Mystery/Suspense; Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Science Fiction, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 102

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I’ve been on this enjoyable ride within the THIRDS world, and have winced, cried, worried and laughed right along with the characters. This book though, was just a fun read (okay, especially the bear costume…because Dex and a bear costume…that has got to be nothing but fun). I enjoyed every second of this one.  Anyone who is a fan of the THIRDS universe, and especially Dex and Sloane couldn’t do anything but take a few hours out to read the hilarity that a bachelor party for Dex would bring.

There were no big explosions, no one getting shot, and no one was kidnapped, and that made it all just fine. These men need to have some fun and happy times too. And when they get the chance to do that, they go all out. With some glimpses of future books peeking out at the reader, you definitely want to savor this one, knowing it will prep you for what is sure to be a wild ride in the next book.

Recommend all the fun of this one.

4 pieces of eye candy

 


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Monthly Author Column: Victoria Sue talks GRL

 

Victoria Sue asked to make her monthly post this month a GRL post, and really who am I to argue? As a featured blogger for GRL, I am happy to spread the love about GRL, and anything Victoria Sue wants, she gets from me! And boy, does she have a lot coming up in the next few months!!!

 

Liar, Liar, Bad Boys on Fire!

I guess I should make this post all about GRL or Gay Rom Lit for those of you who haven’t heard of the acronym. Anyway, for the uninitiated, GRL is a conference celebrating gay romance literature that takes place in October every year at different locations around the country.

This year it’s in Denver and I’m beyond excited to be going there.

Authors get the chance to choose between either a book reading, a place on a discussion panel, or (and there are only a few of these) getting together with two other authors to plot something different.

And that’s what I’m doing this year. I was lucky enough to team up with Charlie Cochet and Alexa Land to do a game called Liar, Liar, Bad Boys on Fire.

The idea is each author is going to make statements or quote storyline facts about their books and the audience will have to choose whether the author is telling the truth or lying.

Everyone who comes will win something! We have a freebie for everyone, but there are many big prizes including a massive gift basket from each author which will contain a Kindle Fire and many other goodies!

You really don’t want to miss this!

And I am planning a little extra gift for any members of Victoria’s Secrets that will be attending. So make sure you join 😉 https://www.facebook.com/groups/1182647028418709/

Onto Book News:

The third in my series The Kingdom of Askara – The Alpha Prince – will hopefully be released just before GRL.

The next in my Enhanced series – Beneath This Mask (Gael’s story) is coming out in January.

Then the first in my new contemporary series will be released – Rainbow Key. Think wedding destination, white sandy beaches, lurve… except at the moment Joshua is struggling to pay the electric bill, they’ve no paying customers, and even if they had they cannot pay for the repairs from the devastating hurricane three years ago – and to top it off they have to take in a grumpy businessman who has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off before he has a heart attack from too much stress.
Funnily enough, the businessman happens to own a very expensive hotel chain and has been trying to buy this particular island for years. Not that Joshua knows that yet – and boy are sparks gonna fly when he thinks he’s been set up.
Then there’s Matt who has just been let out of prison, Cy who has escaped an abusive relationship, and Ben who used to be a model until a devastating house fire destroyed his face.

Rainbow Key – coming to a kindle near you in February <3

 

Check out all of Victoria Sue’s work here.

This post may contain affiliate links. Advanced Reader Copies are accepted by Two Chicks Obsessed in exchange for an honest review without additional compensation.