Thursday, January 30, 2014

2014 Begins With A Booyah Books Bang!

Greetings from The Novel Approach, and welcome to the first installment of Booyah Books! in 2014. We’re looking forward to another great year of reading, and are especially looking forward to sharing some of our favorite books with you for the next twelve months.

So, without further ado, here are our top picks for the month of January!


Guess Who’s Coming at Dinner: A title like that could come from the minds of only these two men—Geoffrey Knight and Ethan Day—this little zombie tale made BJ’s choice for top read this month. Here’s a snippet from his 5 Star review:

               “The story was well paced, each event masterfully chronicled, and the building love between Chandler and Zane was a treat to read. I also loved the way the authors created the cure, to give our wayward lovers a chance at their HEA, which they got in the best possible way. It had drama, conflict, a hobbit-esque mission of redemption, and a love to make you laugh and cry simultaneously. The side effect of uncontrollable horniness was a perfect aside too, and gave the story that sexy edge we were expecting all along.”

BJ’s full review can be found HERE

Ghost of Bourbon Street: Sammy’s choice this month comes from author Rowan Speedwell, an author who seems never to fail to please. Here’s a snippet from her 5 Star review:

               “In her novella, Ghosts of Bourbon Street, author Rowan Speedwell creates characters that are both emotionally wounded and completely real.  They leap off the page and remind you that really good storytelling begins with fascinating people who capture your imagination immediately and never let it go.    Then this author delivers a compelling story rife with problems that are neither easily solved nor insurmountable.  Rather, she allows her characters to grapple with the day-to-day dilemmas and make hard choices that bring lasting consequences.”

Sammy’s full review can be found HERE

Sparks & Drops: Kim’s choice of top reads this month is a magical love story from author Susan Laine. Here’s a snippet from her 4.25 Star review:

               “Gus Goodwin came off as smart and adorable, with a dash of a temper when the mood suited him. And as a Wicca shop owner, I found him to be a very interesting character for a practicing witch, but his turning amateur sleuth….well…he needs some work. He tends to jump into situations head-first, and that’s where Niall Valentine comes in as his other half. Even though Niall was the one investigating the case of the missing girl, Joy, it didn’t take long for Gus to volunteer himself as soon as he figured out it was right up his Wiccan alley of expertise.”

Kim’s full review can be found HERE

In the Absense of Monsters: Jackie’s choice of books this month is a heart wrenching story told in only the way J.P. Barnaby knows how to tell it. Here’s a snippet from her 5 Star review:

               “This is a very emotional story from J.P. Barnaby. There is plenty of family drama, love, loss and self-destruction. As always, though, Ms. Barnaby takes these broken men, patches them up, and sets them back on their feet to carry on. This story is a journey for both Jayden and Ethan. They both have plenty of things they have to come to terms with. Ethan’s childhood, Jayden’s acceptance of his own submission, and these two men who believed they were straight have to try to come to terms with loving another man.”

Jackie’s full review can be found HERE

Love and Salvage: Loving Emmett: This month’s selection from Lana was penned by self-published author Mathew Ortiz. Here’s a snippet from her 5 Star review:

               “I was looking forward to reading Love and Salvage: Loving Emmett because I’ve read the Renovating Love series by Mathew Ortiz and found it enjoyable. I was expecting Love and Salvage to be on par. I was totally wrong. I was blown away by Love and Salvage! It was on a completely different level than the previous books. The writing, storytelling and overall feel of the book were so much richer. In fact, I had to re-read the book because I read it before going on vacation and had to refresh my memory. I think I loved it more the second time around.”

Lana’s full review can be found HERE

Hot Mess: Rowan McAllister made Lynn’s choice of memorable and outstanding reads this month. Here’s a snippet from her 5 Star review:

               “I really enjoyed the flow of the story. The author didn’t let these two get a quick fix. They both had to work out their feelings on their own. I believe the slow build up was done intentionally by the author so we would come to know and love these characters. It was done to perfection. I loved not knowing until the bitter end if Sam and Cameron were actually going to be together. It was a nice surprise.”

Lynn’s full review can be found HERE

Something Like Spring: Tina’s choice of great reads this month comes from the mind of author Jay Bell, who is inarguably one of her all-time favorite authors. Here’s a snippet from her 5 Star review:

               “I blame Jay for my abuse of over-the-counter pain medications and any potential damage to my liver caused by said abuse. I won’t hold it against him, though, because if he somehow managed to find a heretofore undiscovered fifth season and wrote a book about it, I would savor every word. I have learned that among the tears is so much beauty and love and joy and family that it is all worth it. To quote Jay Bell, ‘Love is worth the pain.’”

Tina’s full review can be found HERE

Collide: After hours of deliberation and reasoning this one out—it was a tossup between Amy Rae Durreson’s high fantasy novel Reawakening, Libby Drew’s sci-fi time travel thriller Paradox Lost and N.R. Walker’s Breaking Point—I chose Riley Hart’s friends-to-lovers romance, not because the other novels on my list aren't every bit as outstanding as Collide, but because overall I think its “out for you” theme is a particularly relatable struggle and Riley Hart translated it into an emotionally satisfying novel. Here’s a snippet from my 5 Star review:

               “Riley Hart plays out the sexual tension between the two men to perfection, as they begin to reconnect and they see each other not only through the filter of memories but with the eyes of the men they’ve become. The chemistry and attraction sizzles between Noah and Cooper, fairly leaping off the page, while Cooper’s confusion and jealousy and possessiveness all weigh perfectly against his desire to be much more than just Noah’s friend.

Collide is a story that challenges labels. What does it mean to be bi or gay, when all you truly know for sure is that you love someone for who that person is and how they make you feel rather than what they look like physically? Cooper and Noah have a history that transcends the ability to place a definition on how or why they evolved from loving each other to being in love with each other.”

My full review can be found HERE


And that does it for this month’s installment of Booyah Books! Until February, stay warm and happy reading!

Monday, January 20, 2014

“Two Men and a Hound Dog” or “First Came Love, Then Came Marriage, Then Came Sarah Jane”

Today I'm so happy to welcome  the wonderful B.G. Thomas to my blog!
I love animals. I’ve had pets all my life. Dogs¸ cats, fish, birds (parakeets, canaries and finches), rabbits, guinea pigs¸ gerbils, mice, an iguana, salamanders, chameleons, hermit crabs, snakes, frogs. Oh! And tadpoles found in a creek near my house when I was in fourth grade that wonderfully and magickally turned into frogs! Pets are wonderful.

However, despite my love of animals there was a time in my life where I (stupidly) never quite understood the people who treated their pets like, well, people. I worked with a lady who spent thousands of dollars on chemotherapy for her Chihuahua, and I was like—What? A friend of mine dropped a couple thou on acupuncture and Chinese herbs for her Brittany spaniel. Again, I thought it was crazy. And what I really thought was nutso were those people who claimed that shelter pets were the best pets to have. “They know you rescued them,” people would insist.

Knew they’d been rescued? What bullshit, I would think. What poppycock. How could an animal know such a thing? They’re just animals. They’re not people.

Boy was I dumb.

Then my husband’s cat Betty—he’d had her for something like eighteen years—developed a huge cancerous tumor. The vet told us that for around five hundred dollars he could remove it but it would probably only give her about another year. My husband wanted to do it. I was (stupidly) thinking, She’s eighteen years old! How long does he think she’s got left anyway? I vented about it to a friend too. “People give kittens away at Walmart for free,” I cried. “We could check that bulletin board today and have a new cat tonight! On top of that, that fucking cat hates me!” And she did too. She hissed at me. Jumped up onto the chest of drawers and glared down at me with those green-yellow eyes beaming with pure loathing.”

When I ran out of steam, Belinda (my friend) said to me “Didn’t you say that after Doug (my ex), you didn’t know if you would ever find love again? That you didn’t know if you wanted it?”

“Ah,” I answered.

“And didn’t you tell me that you loved R?”


“You said you couldn’t believe your luck and that R had come into your life and that he was the best thing that ever happened to you.”

My throat seized up (I am fighting the tears even as I remember this....) and I couldn’t respond.

“So does it matter that you don’t understand R’s feelings for Betty? Does it make any difference if you understand why some people consider their pets to be people? What the hell is five hundred dollars if it makes R happy and gives him a little more time with his little person?”

I drove home in shame. But I’ll tell you this, by the time I got there I’d made up my mind. R and I had happened to save exactly five hundred dollars to build a koi. I told him to use it for Betty.

Now here’s the interesting (weird) thing.

When Betty got home,

She followed me around the house. She napped next to me on the couch when I watched TV. When I had trouble sleeping she curled up around my head and softly purred me to sleep.

My God, I thought. She knows...

And with that moment I was becoming the person I used to make fun of.

A few years later I was at Gay Pride and was strolling along through the vendors booths and the tents that served the local animal rescue shelters for the weekend.

And that’s when I met Sarah Jane.

She’s a dachshund and Yorkshire terrier mix and she has become the light of my life. We discovered almost immediately that she had been severely abused, and yet in no time she proved to us that she is joy personified. Sarah Jane is love and laughter and delight. She is a bubbling font of happiness. And she loves me. There can be no doubt. She is a shining example of agape. Sarah Jane showed me that all life is sacred. All life. It is rare that I kill a spider these days, but instead scoop it up and put it outside. When Sarah Jane looks at me with her big warm eyes, swimming with intelligence and awareness, I know—I know—that she is not the end result a random molecules coming together and struck by lightening some one to three billion years ago. She is a being in a Grand tapestry woven by some mysterious Master Intelligence.

And yes—oh yes!—Sarah Jane is most assuredly a person!

And—Hey, Ben!—what does all this have to do with MM Romance or your new book in particular?

I’m glad you asked.

It’s because Sarah Jane is a part of my life—one of the very best parts—and an author’s experiences give him or her the paint to splash across the canvas that make up our art. Sarah Jane is unconditional love and love is what I write about!

I knew I had to write about dogs and that got me to thinking about the heroes who work for practically nothing—if not actually nothing—to rescue and care for our four-footed friends and find them forever homes. Organizations like Heartland SPCA (from where we got our Sarah Jane) or the KC Pet Project that found homes for close to 1,700 animals during the 2013 holidays! (I am getting teary-eyed again!) I started talking to these people who ran such shelters and listened to their stories. Tales that ran the gamut from horrifying to those filled with joy at the happy endings. It was then I knew I had something I wanted to write about.

And so from that experience was birthed one of my favorite characters ever: Hillary “Hound Dog” Dameron.

And I love my dog and animals so much, appreciate the no-kill organizations so much, that I asked my publisher if we could do something for the ASPCA. Dreamspinner was only to happy. So all the proceeds up until midnight on December 31st, 2013 went to the ASPCA! I have no idea how much money that was—I am sure I will find out—but I hope it helped even in some small way.

Here’s the blurb for my new novel Hound Dog & Bean.

There's been little love in H.D. "Hound Dog" Fisher's life since the death of his beloved mother when he was a boy. Bounced around the foster care system, he ran away as soon as he could… and took a foster dog with him. As far as he's concerned, only dogs have no ulterior motive, never hold a grudge, and offer unconditional love. Now he helps run a no-kill shelter and leaves relationships where they belong: in the back room.

"Bean" Alexander settled in Kansas City to open his coffee shop after years of traveling. He never expected to open his heart as well. When a man with a grudge takes a swing at H.D. while in line at Bean's shop, Bean jumps to intervene.

So taking a hit for H.D. gets Bean noticed, and H.D. feels obligated to pay a debt. But then the unexpected happens. A series of misadventures causes H.D. to open up—but falling in love makes him want to turn tail and run. Trust is a tough road to travel. Will good friends, a sweet little dog named Sarah Jane, and a bit of folk magic be enough to bring Hound Dog and Bean a happy ending?

And here’s an excerpt, where our heroes must rescue as many lives as they can from a puppy mill...

“There!” cried Bean so suddenly that H.D. gave a shout of surprise and slammed on the brakes, and wasn’t it lucky they were on such a small road or they might have been rear-ended? He looked over at Bean, who was pointing at an opening in the trees that was practically hidden with overhanging vines and tall grass. How Bean had even seen the mailbox with the words “Huxlies” scrawled on it H.D. wasn’t sure. He sure was glad they’d taken the big van though. He might have been afraid to drive a car through that. Were there no laws about such a thing?

There are laws against puppy mills and what good do they do? The thought made H.D. clench his teeth.

“Thanks,” he managed to say and turned the car in through the opening and down a road that was not much more than two ruts for the tires. Grass grew up heavy in the middle, and he could hear it brushing up against the bottom of the van. There would be snakes and who knew what all in that grass, and H.D. hoped he wouldn’t have to step out into
it. Luckily, after a moment, they came over a small rise and there was a two-story house with a long porch. It was old and ugly, and the paint was peeling away in sheets. But the lawn in front was at least half cut—a riding lawn mower was parked to the side of a gravel driveway.

Bean pointed. A sign was sticking out of the ground next to the house that said, “The Huxlie’s” and a second one that said “Privat Propirty. Keep Out.”

The front door opened and a woman came out onto the porch. She was wearing an oversized T-shirt and jeans. Her hair was dark and pulled back in a fierce knot, but some had come free and was falling in her face. She was wiping her hands on a towel, and she looked frantic—her eyes wide and mouth a slash of dread.

H.D. looked over at Bean, who nodded, and they both got out.

“Ar-are you with the animal p-people?” she called out.

“Yes, ma’am,” H.D. answered.

“Oh God, oh Christ.” She tossed her towel onto the porch railing and came scrambling down the rickety-looking steps. “Hurry. This way!”

She zipped past them and down the gravel drive, and H.D. had to take off at a jog to keep up with her.

The woman went back around the house, and there was a second building, a garage it might have been called at one time long ago, and she bent and grabbed at the door handle and yanked.

“Need help with that?” Bean asked.

The door opened with a rusty scream, and the woman cried out and, pinwheeling her arms, almost fell backward. Bean was there and caught her, but that only seemed to distress her more. She whirled away and back and cried, “In there!” and pointed into a fetid gloom.

The smell hit them from five feet away. The smell of rot and shit and piss and who knew what else? H.D. steeled himself for what he might see, but Bean was already moving inside.

“Oh, Christ,” he heard Bean say.

H.D. closed his eyes for a second. Called for the Hound Dog to surface. Followed Bean into the garage.

It was a mess. All kinds of boxes and furniture and chairs were piled in the middle of the room. There were several more lawnmowers, including an antique push mower and another riding one that looked like it hadn’t been used for at least a hundred years, as well as a rusted, scary-looking device that could be dragged behind a tractor. A rototiller? Against one wall were several bicycles in various states of repair—or disrepair—and even a motorcycle with a sidecar. H.D. wouldn’t have gotten in that sidecar for a hundred thousand dollars. It was filled with cobwebs and spider webs and no telling what else. All the crap and junk certainly left no room for a car. What little space was left was taken up by a set of cages that brought tears to his eyes. They were made of rough wood and piled two high, six across. The doors were made of old storm fencing, the edges curled this way and that like cruel spikes, some aimed inward.

Thank God most of them were empty. But the occupants that were there made him want to scream.


You’ll have to read the book to see what happens. But remember, I love animals. And you will get more than one kind of happy ending when you read “Hound Dog & Bean!”

And hey! Comment and you’re eligible for an e-copy of the book!

And second prize will be a wall calendar—but please note you’ve got to be in the continental United States for the calendar. I am very proud of it too!

BG Thomas

Website | Goodreads Author Page | Live Journal | Facebook

Saturday, January 4, 2014

This will not be a habit...

I won't  procrastinate this year. It was my big resolution. And even though I'm late with the New Year's wishes, I hope everyone had a great and safe one. My hubby and I had plans to drink in the new year, just the two of us at home, but we ended up having sparkling apple cider with the kids instead and playing board games. He fell asleep and my kids and I watched the second Percy Jackson movie. I'm so old.

Be that as it may, for me New Year's Day was more important then the eve because I made my 2014 writing plan. I have 7 things in my writing queue and I don't expect it to change. My plan is to write nothing but sequels after I finish the book I'm working on now. So far for 2014 I have a novel out in March called Floodgates, it's a contemporary with a bit of a thriller aspect to it. Then in April my shifter book with Cardeno C, Control, is out. And as I said, I'm working on finishing a novel now and then off to 5 sequels. I'm writing a sequel to Old Loyalty, New Love, Glenn's book (I know, but I really am, he's difficult), the last Warder novel, Conrad's book, and then Wick and Dov which will be my last werepanther book where I'll be checking in on Jin and Logan. So I'll wrap up the Warders and Change of Heart this year. I'm excited, I hope 2014 will be great.