Friday, May 31, 2013

May Was Very, Very Good To Us

And again....the lovely Lisa from The Novel Approach is here for another edition of Booyah Books!

Bruce and I made it through a big month at The Novel Approach, not only loving lots of great books, but also in an outstanding response to the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia. It was lovely to see so many folks responding to all the participating bloggers with stories of their own, was well as with hope for a future in which the voice of homophobia, transphobia, and biphobia will be nothing more than a resounding whisper met by deaf ears.

Because I have such a long list of recommended reads to share, I'm keeping things short and sweet this month, so just know that these seven books that we've selected are the ones that made a big impression.

The first book on this month's list is Mercy Celeste's Behind Iron Lace, the story of Darcy Butler, a man who follows his on-again, off-again girlfriend from Oregon to New Orleans, where they'll continue to expand their successful online Magazine venture, with the help of photographer, artist, and all around sex-on-wheels, Caleb Mitchell.

Darcy's never been pursued by a man before... never been pursued by anyone quite like Caleb before... never been pursued in quite the same way Caleb pursues him before... And have mercy, is it one hot pursuit. I loved the struggle and the tragedy and the passion and the rage inherent in their relationship, as they fought not only each other but the things that’d already happened, things they couldn’t change, but things that intruded on their relationship nonetheless, things that brought them to the breaking point and forced them to face the question of whether they could be together and build a future with each other.

You can buy Behind Iron Lace HERE

Next up is a YA paranormal novel from Harmony Ink Press called Evolution, by author Sam Kadence. This is a story set in contemporary New York City, in the world of music, and teams up seventeen-year-old struggling artist Genesis Sage with the infinitely older and enigmatic guitarist Kerstrande Petterson.

Gene sees dead people, and Kerstrande is one of the walking dead, and their relationship is anything if not volatile. Sam Kadence’s briskly paced and tightly plotted introduction to this world has tucked me neatly into the bloody and fantastical city these character’s populate, but a word of caution here: don’t get overly invested in the hope that the end of this book won’t leave you hanging. There is an evil cliffhanger, but hey, what’s life without a few loose ends? There’s angst and drama galore to be found, and a little bit of horror thrown in too, just to satisfy my love of Urban Fantasy and to give some added complications to this Young Adult romance.

You can buy Evolution HERE

Bruce's pick this month is Poppy Dennison's Soul Magic, book three in the Triad series. This is what he had to say about it:

"The series follows a mage, Simon, who from all accounts is a very beloved and rightfully so character in the series. Simon falls in love and becomes the alpha mate of Gray the alpha of a local werewolf pack. There are many supporting characters in this delectable series, but all three books find themselves centered in one way or another around Simon and Gray. Dennison takes three kinds of magic—mind, body and soul—and weaves them into her tale of her two main characters. Their struggle to find love and how the other characters find love and all of them deal and relate to the magical gifts bestowed upon them, is well told and makes for a wonderful, hopeful, and incredible story.

The fact that each story can stand on its own is a tour de force by Dennison, but even more so is how intricate and seamless the three books work together. It is a remarkable series that if one is a fan of paranormal romance or not is well worth reading."

You can buy Soul Magic HERE

Next up is a book I don't mind admitting brought me to tears. I've read a handful of M/M prison dramas and have discovered that I love the built-in tragedy of two men finding and falling in love in the stark and cold prison setting. Well, let me tell you, Brandon Shire uses the theme and the scene to its fullest advantage. He skillfully feasts upon and serves up to the reader all the heartache and yearning that his MCs, Anderson and Lem, have for something more than is possible for them to hope for. Cold is a book that is sometimes frightening and sometimes heartbreaking, a complex love story that is a contrast of thoughts and feelings. It’s a book about loss–the loss of freedom, the loss of choice, the loss of trust and privacy, the loss of connection–that left me anxious and hopeful and yearning for more from these characters, which he has promised is coming, hopefully sooner rather than later.

The fact that the author was capable of making Lem, the man who is by turns gentle yet also is an unrepentant killer, a sympathetic character is truly impressive; the fact that he was capable of making me yearn for a happy ending for Anderson and Lem is nothing less than pitch-perfect storytelling.

You can buy Cold HERE

Mr. Eric Arvin gets the award this month for most brilliant use of fairy tale magic and epic fantasy in his latest novel The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men, a story that is a walk through the valley of the shadow of death, where animals speak and the forest is enchanted, where magic and faithcraft contest the encroachment of the Outside World, and where superstition and science wrestle with zealotry and spirituality. It is a valley where a chapel resides on poisoned ground, as those who are called there are swallowed into the very bowels of its corruption. It is a place where a famine of birds has allowed a plague of bugs, a place where the Angel of Death lurks in the treetops and keeps an ever watchful eye upon the few remaining souls there. It is a place where God and Gaia have yet to find a way to peacefully coexist.

The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men is a story of hope and faith and of courage, in which courage doesn’t mean an absence of fear but is the sort of bravery a man sometimes finds when he feels he has nothing left to lose. It’s a book that feeds the imagination and is a feast for every reader who loves the sort of prose that flows poetically through a world that is just on the other side of extraordinary. It is symbolic and supernatural and is the sort of book that makes me want to celebrate my love of reading. It’s one of the more unique books I’ve read in a very long time and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it.

You can buy The Mingled Destinies of Crocodiles and Men HERE

The next pick goes to Keira Andrews and her novel The Chimera Affair, as well as its companion short story The Argentine Seduction
Kyle Grant and Sebastian Brambini play international spy and unwitting pawn, respectively, in a shoot-to-thrill, play-to-kill game to outwit the bad guys, the baddest of whom happens to be Sebastian's own father, the father who would rather see Sebastian dead than in the arms of a man.

What’s not to love about an action packed story filled with danger, espionage, international intrigue, and seduction? Not a lot, right? And Keira Andrews pulls this all off in a big way, with cover-to-cover action, exciting locales, and two characters I can’t wait to read about again and again. Kyle was the perfect blend of sophisticated agent for whom the mission is everything, and the lonely man for whom life is a lot less empty now that he’s found The One. Sebastian is a little bit innocent, a little bit hopeful, a whole lot intelligent and is no one’s shrinking violet, doing what needs to be done when it needs doing, whether he believes in all his strengths or not, and whether he believes he can trust Kyle or not.

The next mission has been assigned and danger is guaranteed to await these two men. I have no doubt that whatever is waiting for them on their next mission, I’ll be there to be sure they make it through.

You can buy The Chimera Affair and The Argentine Seduction HERE

And last, but certainly never least, is Z.A. Maxfield's latest release Grime and Punishment, the first book in her new series The Brothers Grime, the story of ex-firefighter Jack Masterson, a man whose disability suffered in the line of duty has forced him to leave the job he loved and turn his talents in a new direction—crime scene clean up. Jack doesn’t do much field work himself these days, but when his friend, sometimes buddy-with-bennies, and full-time closeted police officer, Dave Huntley, calls with the news that Nick Foasberg has committed suicide, well, Jack has no choice but to rush to the scene. Love and loss and lies and pain and a purgatory of self-denial have an uncanny way of motivating a man to revisit a past he’s never overcome.

Nick committed suicide in his cousin's bathroom and has effectively stolen Ryan's home and security out from under him, which is why Ryan needs what Jack is there to offer him—his company’s talent for erasing the stains of violence left behind for the survivor to bear. It’s not as easy a decision as it sounds, though, for Ryan to make. See, Ryan knows full well—or at least he thinks he does—the history Jack and Nick shared. But when the past comes clean with all its secrets and truths, secrets and truths that weren’t anyone’s but Nick’s to tell, they threaten to collapse the bridge the two men begin to build between the past and the present.

This book is quintessential ZAM, so if you love flawed characters who seem determined to keep wrecking their own chances at peace, and love lots of emotional substance to sink your heart into, you'll probably love this book.

You can buy Grime and Punishment HERE

And that's it for May's Booyah Books. Until next month, happy reading!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Coming Very Soon

This Saturday, June 1st, my Daily Dose story, Heart of the Race is out. Here's the blurb:


Varro Dacien spends his life riding toward the next adventure. Brian Christie, his best friend and touchstone, the one person who’s always truly seen him, plays sidekick on these madcap adventures and subsequent trips to the hospital until he can’t take it anymore. While Brian can see Varro, Varro has never caught on that he’s breaking his best friend’s heart.

Without Varro, Brian builds himself a life that’s all about just getting by, doing his best to ignore the hole in his heart and his life. Without Brian to balance him, Varro pushes harder and takes more risks to reach that ultimate high. His job racing high-octane bikes on suicide-level courses makes it easy to get that rush… until it’s no longer enough and Varro realizes it’s not the race, but who’s waiting at the finish line that truly matters. Now he just has to convince Brian to be there.

You all will have to let me know what you think. :)
 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Guest Blogger: B.G. Thomas

Today I would like to welcome B.G. Thomas to my blog. He has a brand new book coming out tomorrow, May 29th and he's here to talk about that.

The Author Who Came In Out Of the Rain
 
It has been pouring here in the Kansas City area for two days now, and much more in other areas. My husband just got back from a week in the little town he grew up in and the weather was fine until Sunday and them they were deluged. I sat on the porch this morning watching. Wow... And now I've come in from the rain to do some writing...

***
 
When I discovered M/M romance I was thrilled. I wrote some "adult stories" in the nineties, but stopped within a few years because I just couldn't stand what the magazines were looking for. They wanted sex. Nothing wrong with sex, but all they wanted was sex. I would write a story and introduce the two men, I usually wrote something romantic, and have them dance that dance that got them into bed--and I would sell the story and the magazine would arrive and the first half of the story was gone! Edited right down to the sex and nothing but the sex.
 
OMG. It was terribly upsetting.
 
Who cares what the men do in bed if we don't care about the men themselves? Porn stories are a dime a dozen.
 
So imagine my excitement when I discovered M/M romance. Finally I had a place for my voice, my stories.
 
I did a little reading in the genre and realized that I wanted to write stories that were character driven, with gay men as the main characters, who were allowed to fall in love and not just have sex, and oh--by the way--also be able to have sex. But where sex wasn't what the story was about. I wanted to write complex stories with multi-levels. Amy Lane does that. Eric Arvin and SJD Peterson and Zahra Owens do that.
 
And now I get to do that too. Or at least I hope readers think so.
 
I have been so lucky in finding a home at Dreamspinner Press. I've written for four other houses, but DSP makes me so happy. They're teaching me and grooming me to be a better writer and the ways to tell my stories better and better.
 
They like character-driven stories and that is what I love. The fit is perfect.
 
This month I have a new novel out and I am very excited about it, for several reasons. One is that it began life as one of those stories where the publisher wanted to hack out the introduction, and the darned thing was only five thousand words. It broke my heart. The story was all about romance and a young man finally being able to accept that fact that he was gay. He had a very emotionally abusive step-father who called him a fag all his life and the last thing he wanted to do was prove the man right.
 
But then Todd, the hero of "The Boy Who Came In From the Cold," meets Gabe and his whole life turns upside down. But in the best way possible. Because until this point, his life is going to shit and it is the kindness of a stranger that begins a whole new path for Todd.
 
The book also lets me do something I simply love to do. All my characters live in the same "universe." In fact, quite a few of them live in this big old apartment building called the Oscar Wilde. There were a lot of buildings designed and built about a hundred years ago in Kansas City and they named most of them after famous authors of the time, like the Robert Louis Stevenson Apartments, the Mark Twain, Robert Browning, and the Oliver Wendell Holmes apartments. How could I resist creating the Oscar Wilde and populating it with a lot of my gay characters?
 
As a matter-of-fact, the characters in my very popular story, "Bianca's Plan" live there, as well as the love interest, Gabe Richards, from my new novel. So I had to have the nosey and meddling little Bianca show up again. Todd will meet her! As well as characters from stories like "Christmas Wish."
 
Most of my stories take place in Kansas City and I do my best to make KC a character as well. I want people to be able to picture it in their minds as they read. And maybe even want to come visit.
 
***
 
CONTEST!  Hey! I want to do a little give-away. Head over to DSP and check out the full description of the novel. I have built into the story a little pun, or joke as it were. If you can figure it out, email me at bgthomaswriter@aol.com. There will be one or two winners, depending on how many people email me.
 
And now I present you with a scene from "The Boy Who Came In From the Cold."
 
Todd has been invited out of a huge blizzard to stay a day or two with Gabe in his luxurious apartment. For some reason, Gabe knows he can trust Todd and go off to work. Todd decides to do some laundry as a thank you and when he does, he meets Bianca in the basement laundry room.
 
Here goes...
 
There was a little girl there, maybe ten years old, and she was pulling clothes out of a dryer. She looked up.
 
“Hi,” she said. She was a lovely girl, with long brown hair, olive skin, and huge Disney-like brown eyes.
“Hi,” he said.
“I don’t know you,” she replied. “I’m Bianca. Are you new in the building?” She tossed her head, flipping her hair back.

“I-I’m staying with someone for a few days.” How did he explain it? Especially to a little girl?

“With who?” she asked and began to fold clothes.
Todd swallowed. Nosy thing, wasn’t she? “Gabe,” he replied and dumped the bag of laundry he’d brought down on one of the two long tables in the middle of the room. His jeans, sweater, socks, shoes, and
briefs (the pair Gabe had seen him in, and he felt his face heat up). And in what had been a last minute thought, he’d grabbed the clothes in Gabe’s hamper. That turned out to be a pair of jeans, some sweats, two
T-shirts, a hoodie, and socks and underwear. No dress slacks or shirts.

Dry cleaned probably. Of course.
 
“Really? Gabe is nice. I think he liked my daddy, but he took too long. He’s with Curtis now.”

Gabe was with Curtis? Wait. What? “Who is Curtis? Gabe has a boyfriend named Curtis?” The thought made his stomach drop.

She laughed. “No. Curtis is my daddy’s boyfriend.” She winked. “I got them together.”

“Your dad’s gay?” Todd asked.

She smiled. “Sure!”

Had he woken up in The Twilight Zone? A little girl who didn’t care that her dad was gay? What did she mean about…? “What do you mean you got them together?”

“I’m good,” she said. “Course they already liked each other. I just had to help them see it. Now I have two daddies.” She giggled. “You gonna do your clothes, or what?”

“What? Oh.” He cleared his throat, shook his head. He began to separate the clothes. There wasn’t a lot here, but he certainly didn’t want to mix whites with anything else. But then whites turned out to be nothing more than several pairs of socks and a pair of Hugo Boss boxer briefs. The pouch was pretty stretched out. God. Why was he even noticing something like that? He felt a shifting in his own underwear—except even those belonged to Gabe.

What was happening to him?
“Do you like Gabe?” the little girl asked.
Todd jerked his gaze away from the underwear. “What do you mean by that?”

She gave him a curious look. “Do you like him?”

“He’s nice,” Todd managed.
She waggled her eyebrows. “But do you like him?”
“I’m not gay,” he said.

She looked at him askance. “You’re not? You seem gay.”
“What do you mean?” He bristled.
She shrugged. “I don’t know. I just can tell. Well, usually. Maybe you’re bi?”

“What?” He really had fallen into The Twilight Zone!

“Bi. You know, you like boys and girls.”

“I like girls,” he cried, his stomach clenching.

She looked at him funny. “What’s your name again?”
“I didn’t say,” Todd answered and felt a trickle of sweat run down his side. He looked away and began shoving the clothes into two different washers.

“So are you an escaped criminal or something?” she asked.

He laughed and turned back to her. “No!”

“Then tell me your name. I’ll find out anyway.”

He looked at her, eyes wide, mouth wanting to fall open. “Fine,” he said. “I’m Todd.”
“You don’t have to be so touchy,” she said with a harrumph. “I’m just being friendly.” She folded one last shirt and put her clothes in a basket.

“Why aren’t you in school?” he snapped.

“Well, duh.” She rolled her eyes. “Snow day. You gonna put those underwear in there or just stare at it all day?” She turned on her heel, the toss of her hair surely no accident, and walked out.

“Sorry?” he called out. Then looked down at the underwear in his hand. A pair of Emporio Armani boxers. Didn’t Gabe have anything that came from Walmart? God. What a stupid question. He looked back in the washer...  All sexy... He stared at the pair in his hand, so bright and colorful. Had he thought the pouch was stretched out on the other pair? How frigging hung was Gabe?

Then, not even knowing he was doing it, he brought the briefs up to his face, closed his eyes, and inhaled deeply. God. Gabe’s scent.
 
Dammit.

He threw them into the washer, slammed it, and quickly added the coins to start it up. Remembering the detergent, he added that as well, and then started the other machine. With that he dashed up out of the basement as if he were escaping a dungeon.

I—am—going—crazy!
 
Links:
Twitter: @BGThomasBooks
Or to email BG directly: bgthomaswriter@aol.com

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sunset on the hop

The hop is over and so while I wish everyone a late Memorial Day, I also want to announce that after using that random number generator, I have prizes for Loveless and Penumbra. Please contact me at mmcalmes@hotmail.com and let me know what .pdf copy from my backlist you would like. I went with two winners instead of one because really, I loved all my comments and so appreciated everyone for taking the time to participate in the hop. Have a great week everyone!

Friday, May 17, 2013

It's time for the hop!

Recently I went on a school field trip with my son out of state to Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown and Yorktown. It was a fast and furious two days but at one stop, as we were walking around, a couple of men passed us holding hands. They were older, in their sixties I would guess, very cute, and I did the same thing I do when I see any couple that still holds hands  and was all awwww. But there were other people, not from our school group, (we were on our own by this point), and there was some snickering and whispering and elbow jabbing that I could have lived without. My son, because he's at that age where everyone is just too tedious for words, announced, "they're married," with enough disgust at the folks being rude to shut them up.

Needless to say, I was very proud and told him so but was then surprised when he questioned me about why I was proud.
"You stuck up for gay marriage and equal rights there," I told him.
"They were married, they had rings on, didn't you see?"
"I did."
"People get married, who cares?"

So I had to explain that millions of Americans do care because it's not a right they simply have. Not everyone who falls in love can get married if they want to. And of course I got the squint because he doesn't get it because he's grown up with me and his father who have always been aboard the marriage equality train.
And it was sad a month ago when I was talking to him about it and its sad now that we are still having the debate about marriage in 2013.
I was trying to figure out what to post for the blog hop honoring the International Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia (IDAHO)this year and I remembered back to last year when I was discussing marriage equality and it's so strange to still be doing it. I had to explain DOMA to my kids today and about how gay and lesbian couples in Canada can get married but here in the US there are only certain states where its legal.
"Are you sure you know what you're talking about?" My son.
"That can't be right." My daughter.
They don't believe me because it's so ridiculous. The good news is I know if (heaven forbid), the laws still haven't changed by the time they are old enough to vote, then they will, indeed, with the help of many other peoples' kids, change them. And that will be another awesome step in the acceptance for all.

***

Okay so don't forget to click the HAHAT badge there to be redirected back to the home page and visit all the other wonderful people participating. The hop goes on until the 27th of May so you have plenty of time to visit everyone. As part of the hop, I'm giving away the winner's choice of an ebook from my backlist, including Still, to a randomly selected person who comments here. I'll announce the winner in a post on the 28th. Happy hopping everyone!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Release Day!

Sounds like I caught a lot of fish and....but no. Still is out today and I hope you all enjoy it. :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Contest Time

The wonderful Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos is again running a contest giveaway for me and this time Still is up for grabs. Its out on May 15th and the contest went live today. So just click the button and head on over there. And while you're there check out Misadventures in Stock Photography. Its one of my favorite things. I have a book on one of the lists myself. :)

Sunday, May 5, 2013

My fangirl moments at RT

I love this series.
My first fangirl moment was when I asked Tere Michaels to sign my three books that I had brought from home.The moment I saw here name on the program for RT, I wrapped the books in bubble-wrap and put them on top pf my swag so I wouldn't forget them. I first met Tere last year at BEA and sadly, I was no more professional this second time that I saw her. I did the squeeeeeeee and almost hyperventilated and it was so not grown-up in any way but I really couldn't help it. Amber Kell took time out when I was signing to come see me and I gushed all over her and Ethan Day gave me a signed copy of At Piper's Point (which I have wanted in paperback for forever) and I lost it. Again. JP Barnaby gave me a signed copy of Aaron which I put with the rest of my treasures to ship home. I'm just lucky that everyone knows I'm a big goober and doesn't seem to mind.

I had a wonderful time meeting people like Jessie Potts the HEA Blogger from USA Today and Mary Grzesik, also from the HEA blog, and Leigh and talking to many wonderful fans and meeting authors who I have read but have never had the opportunity to sit and talk to. A highpoint at the con was sitting with ZA Maxfield, Belinda McBride, Tara Lain, Ethan Day, Carole Lynne, Jessie Potts and Amy Lane for lunch and listening and talking. Being with my wonderful family at Dreamspinner (Elizabeth North, Nessa Warin, Connie Bailey, Nikki Bennet, Ariel Tachna and Tammy May) is always amazing, and hitting up Ariel to sign books for me is always fun since she's always a whirlwind of activity. 

Going to panels was fun, listening, learning, and even taking notes. I had the nicest people who I sat beside at both of my signings, first Jianne Carlo (Viking Warriors series) and second Kristen Callihan (Darkest London series). RT is a huge wild ride of activity that I'm not certain I will do again, but I'm so glad to have gone this year as it is an experience I won't soon forget.
My copy is signed!:)