Thursday, 25 April 2013

Meet Will: Week Two (LHNB thread hop)

It's week two of the Love Has No boundaries thread hop over on Goodreads, and this week it's "Tell us three things that we won't discover about your main character from the story". This was a hell of a lot of fun to do as I was able to interview Will when he was... slightly exposed (perks of the job!). 

And without further need to keep Will covered:

*********

Jack: So, Will. It’s really good to meet you. How are things going between you and Mr. Kidnapper?

Will: [Shifts uncomfortably on the bed] It's a little… tense.

Kidnapper: [Grunts a chuckle from over in the corner]

Jack: Ah. I should mention that Mr Kidnapper has graciously allowed an all access pass to Will today and Will's, well, slightly overexposed.

Will: You noticed that, huh? Any chance you can untie me from the bed? Maybe pass me the sheet back?

Jack: Uh, well, I’m kind of under strict orders from the guy in the corner not to interfere, touch, or even let my eyes wander below waistline. Sorry.

Will: [Manages a chuckle] How’s that going for you?

Jack: He blindfolded me to make sure. [Whispers to Will] He’s taking this really seriously, isn’t he?

Will: Yeah, just a touch. [Whispers back] You sure you can’t untie me, lend me a jacket — bake a cake with a razorblade in it for him to choke on?

Kidnapper: [Gives a deliberate half laugh, half cough]

Jack: You wouldn’t need the razorblade, not with my baking skills, anyway. [Straightens in chair] So, hmmm, Will. Now may not be the best time, I realise this, but I’m interested to know a few things about you that we’re not going to find out during this whole mess.

Will: I don’t think personal details are wise, what with, y’know, the whole ropes, kidnapping, and “guy tied to a bed” scene going on here. But… thinking on it, I am a sucker for happy endings, one where the antagonist is incarcerated, even seriously worked over in jail by other thugs — huge muscled thugs with baseball bats.

Jack: Ohhhh-kay, so away from this situation, you’re maybe open to a heated debate on the pros and cons of the English judicial system and the effectiveness of rehabilitating criminals back into society?

Will: It’s certainly moved up on my list of priorities.

Kidnapper: [Chuckles softly]

Jack: Anything else?

Will: I suppose I could go for my favourite colour… of baseball bat. Which would be white, by the way, just to accentuate any other colours it could come into contact with.

Jack: [Chokes a laugh] So. Things are certainly a little… tense, then? What would you normally be doing to relax away from life issues like this?

Will: [sighs heavily] I could go for a Friday-night movie-night right now.

Jack: Care to elaborate?

Will: I grew up with Friday nights being “Movie Night” at home. Kind of liked to watch my mom and dad sit there together on the sofa as I claimed the floor and two buckets of popcorn.

Jack: Any particular movies? Flavour of popcorn? And why the hell two?

Will: Movies? Any really. [Goes quiet] It was just good to see my parents together. As for the popcorn, it’s got to be toffee: one big enough to share, another smaller one for me.

Jack: [smiles sadly] You like to have a little piece of the world set aside for yourself?

Will: Mostly just set aside to share with the right…

Kidnapper: Say it.

Will: [Falls quiet]

Jack: Yet you don’t mention any brothers or sisters in there, Will. I take it you’re an only child?

Will: Yes. Just me. Although I did have a—

Kidnapper: [a door creaks open] Out.

Jack: But… but Will, he... you. I haven’t even started on you yet.

Kidnapper: Yeah? Tell it to someone who gives a—

Jack: [Door slams conveniently shut] Oh, right. I see. [Shouts] I take it you didn’t get any Friday night movie nights with your parents, and you’d rather steal popcorn rather than share?

Kidnapper: Get lost, Jack. Busy here.

**************

There are some other great thread hops going on over in the M/M Group on Goodreads: handcuffs, Doms, Elfs, Knights, lovin' in the poppy fields etc.... It's all continuing for a few more weeks before the stories are released.

It's pretty close to my heart, because we're able to give readers insights into the writing process and comment/interact along the way. And we get to tailor a character and story to a particular reader's need.



Picture "Fashion shot of a Young Man" courtesy of Photostock: FreeDigitalPhtos.net

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Review: From Temptation by Lynn Kelling

             
     “Sometimes I want to do the wrong thing.”

                                                                  

Dark.
   
Intense.
                  
Beautiful.

This novel, where the hell do I start? It took my heart and soul, threaded it so intricately through a tiny needle, and used everything that I am to spell out oh, so, very, slowly:

      The one bad place, the only one “BAD place”— is your mind.

Deliver Us. From Temptation. It’s not hard to make the connection between Kelling’s first novel, and her sequel. What is hard hitting is everything that comes between covers and back pages.

So, where the hell to start? It has to be Kyle. Kyle. Oh my sweet, sexy sub, someone who just purrs his way over the pages and curls up for petting in just the right way. He’s a clever sub, a manipulative sub, one who manages to bring his Dom to his knees every time—and boy does his Dom know it—and let him. Hard as nails Ben Knox, who only ever wanted a body to break, has fallen head and heart for his sub. But Kyle holds a secret, one that’s making Kyle scurry into the darkness of his own mind, forcing Ben to cry frustration and chase right in there after him in the only way he knows how: Dominance, pain and a submission from Kyle, which only breaks Kyle down further.
 
                               “Sometimes I want to do the wrong thing.”

Darrek. Oh Darrek. What the hell happened to you, baby? From the last book to this one? My lovable giant, Gabe’s lover, Gabe’s protector despite Gabe being your Dom—best friend to Kyle, yet light opposition to Ben Knox. Darrek’s usually so sweetly wrapped up in his feelings for Gabe, nothing matters but the peace and security of the people around him. Only Kyle’s acting strange, and it’s starting to get to Darrek. Kyle’s there, broken, huddled in the corner, hiding  from the world, yet at the same time—he’s scurrying, itching at the inside of Darrek’s mind, stirring bad things—and dark, dark… places.

                    "Sometimes I want to do the wrong thing."

Caught in the middle? Gabe. Oh babydoll, you don’t know what the hell you’ve set in motion, do you? Cautious in heart, all scars open—a hard Dom who only ever touched, never allowed to touch, until Darrek takes his mind, body, and soul and keeps it held so gently in those giant hands of his. Knowing Ben’s terrorised Kyle to breaking, Gabe steps in with the cool but sensitive hand to take care of Kyle, as Kyle’s Dom. Only he’s missing the secret—all the signs. Completely unaware of the psychological pressure that’s building from so close to home, through his need to protect and care for Kyle, he’s unwittingly threatening his relationship, his safety—and every part of his own sanity.

    “Sometimes I want to do the wrong thing.”

And back to Ben Knox. The surprise: one of the hardest Doms—the LAST one to step back and offer a reprieve. Christ. By the end of all this? I friggin loved him. All his:

   My love, my soul—my ability to try and make you all whole: fucking test it, Kyle. 
I’m staying here right by you.
                                                                     
                                                             ***

This book, this book dragged me to dark, dark places. One person’s actions acted like a bowling pin to everyone else, and their actions helped define all the characters around him. Even when in Gabe’s life, this was about Kyle, this was about Darrek, this was about Ben, this was about Trace, this was about Micah. Everything was just intricately interwoven, all tied together by a secret—one that tears open the mind and exposes all dark faults, dark needs, and darkest desires. And all just to help glimpse how people try and stay sane as they stagger away from, or back into, their darkest impulses.

Does it make you crumple? Yes. Does it make you want to hide from what’s happening on page, even though you can’t look away? Yes. But in a way that goes to explaining part of the novel:  you’re compelled to follow and not to let go, and that’s the gut-wrencher. You understand Kyle’s relationship with Dare on a deep level, how compelled he his to follow, to “love”, how his own psychology has conditioned him to seek out Dare’s own darkness and ignite it. And how Dare then, in turn, ignites Gabe’s.

I read this in just over twenty-four hours; it gripped me that much. It’s so complex — so heartbreakingly complex — yet there’s a lot of strength and recognition of loving souls for what they are. It makes you want to jump into the page and grab everyone into a hold, or hit certain people, at times. I’m still up in the air with how I feel about Dare, about how safe Gabe is. Just so many emotions that I need resolved. Like — now. *Coughs loud enough hopefully for Ms. Kelling to hear, then grins* “You got the “now” bit, right?”

But overall, just such a stunning a read.




Title: From Temptation
Author: Lynn Kelling
Genre: BDSM Gay Erotic Romance

Link to Author's work: From Temptation by Lynn Kelling

(Disclaimer: I have a shared-world project Ms. Kelling in our next novels. But as it stands, I have had no input into this story or its characters. I'm not officially rating this novel as our relationship for these projects is now underway.)

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Meet William: M/M Story Extract (Free Story Coming From Goodreads LHNB Dear Author Challenge)


A few authors from the Goodreads' M/M Group have banded together to create a thread hop that will lift the sheet on our characters from the Love Has No Boundaries short stories that will soon be availble for free download.  Kind of an all-access pass for readers to see what's hidden beneath the M/M sheets.

This week it's week one, day six of the thread hop, and the theme is an extract, (next week it will be: "Three Things We Won't Find Out About Your MC From The Story").

Fancy a teaser? My picture is a guy bound almost naked to a bed *waggles eyebrows*, and all the pains and troubles that come with being held captive:


Where do you go to, Will? Extract:

*************

“I could take her off your hands.”

Sat in his car, William just about caught the soft voice as he turned the Rover’s engine over. Jake from a few doors down was out for his evening run, and he offered Will a shy smile as he glanced at the motorbike on Will’s drive. He stood just a few feet away from the car, moving slightly from foot to foot as if ready to bolt at the slightest word from Will. “She’d get a good home,” said Jake, nodding at the motorbike as Will let the window fall all the way down.

“Humph, well, I’ll....” Jake always offered; Will always promised to get back to him. Will never did, and something in Jake’s kind eyes said he didn’t mind. He understood. Will hated how everyone understood, especially when he couldn’t figure a thing out of this whole mess for himself. “Can... would you just keep an eye on her for me whilst I’m away, please?” he asked instead, burying the need to move the gears into first as the need to get away ate at his insides.

“Always,” said Jake. He looked like he’d say something else; he’d looked like he’d been on the verge of saying something else for the past year, but Will fell back into the security of a safe distance, giving just a quiet thanks, this time adding a promise to pick Jake something up for all of his troubles. “You know where I am if there’s any, y’know, problems.”

“Yeah,” said Jake, avoiding any eye contact now. “You take care, Will.”

Will nodded. Dorset offered a whole week of running; no motorbikes, no houses that should have been homes, and no sweet men from a few doors down wanting a little more than simple friendship. All Will needed now was to disappear into the background, maybe be forgotten, just become lost in the echo of wild heath and harbour.

*************

A member's only forum, but they love new members (and are soon to offer up loads of free m/m short stories, ranging from contemporary romance to BDSM) Found Here

It would be good to see you there.





Picture "Fashion shot of a Young Man" courtesy of photostock. FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Friday, 12 April 2013

Caught in the Writing Act

Group Widget for M/M Group on Goodreads
Sometimes the ups and downs of writing can make me feel like I'm out in the middle of a crowd with my skirt tucked in my pants, all screw-ups on full display, especially in those early days.

So, to celebrate the whole process of wearing our hearts on our sleeve, regardless of any screw-ups that may/may not occur, a few Goodreads' authors over in the M/M group's Love Has No Boundaries "Dear Author" challenge have decided to join together and do a little hop (no knickers on display, hopefully).

Over the next few weeks, we'll post something up that shows some of thinking going on behind the stories we're creating, or snippets of detail that wouldn't otherwise be known about the characters we're starting to paint, just something that shows how serious we get when it comes to bringing everything to life.

The first hop goes to the lovely Kate Lowell. She's starting everything off with a nice easy blurb, and that's more or less our theme this week just to ease ourselves gently into things. Link here: Kate Lowell's blog and her Goodreads link is here: Goodreads' Link (Members Only)

*Chuckles* One of these days I'm going to have the courage to do an out-take post, just note down all the screw-ups with writing that have kept my partner in laughs for years (yeah, yeah, the 'g' on keyboard is waaaay too close to 'h' on the keyboard, so trying to write a heated scene with 'the gardener' just asks for 'the hardener', if you ask me -- I know my faults, lol).

On the hop, hopefully you'll join us, because in the end it will lead to seven great free m/m stories (with access to so many more, from so many talented M/M writers). 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Review: Above the Dungeon by SM Johnson



Title: Above the Dungeon
Author: SM Johnson

Rating: 5 Scorching Stars
Genre: Gay, BDSM

This has to be 5 stars from me. I’ve read some dark things lately (Herbert/Barker) and this immediately offered something deliciously lighter: something that could pull me back from the dread and compulsion of picking up a dark reads. I kept coming back to this novel with just a real easy sigh, and it’s been such a long time since I’ve found a novel that’s made me feel so at ease.

I loved the 1st v 3rd switch in pov between Dare and Jeff. The arrangement not only gave both sides of the relationship “argument” here, but also characterised Roman beautifully. And it all played havoc with my loyalties. I hated Roman, even though I should have been hating Jeff; then I was growling at the possible m√©nage scenario that neither of them obviously wanted. Then I was loving the possible manage scenario because some of the BDSM sex scenes were just so damn hot. And then – stage door opens to allow Dare into the mix.

Jeff, he’s your one-hundred percent sub, but with a twist: always looking for something else -- not someone, just the thrill of something else. I actually loved Jeff. All his insecurities, his selfishness, but mostly how his own selfishness, aided by Roman’s pure patience and understanding, was his own undoing: his Dom gave him everything he wanted, and loved him enough to supply Jeff with everything Jeff thought he wanted. That was something really special to see from Roman, and from a Dom. So when Dare comes into the mix, you can see the possibility of a real threat, and all of Jeff’s insecurities come into play again.

Dare. He’s your typical pretty(ish) rich boy running away from marriage. You could bring in “trope” 
here, but Dare, he was a surprise, and one I’m not quite sure where he leaves me feeling in the end. He gets drawn willingly to Roman -- and into Roman’s world -- but, and this is part that helped define him in his own right away from trope characters, he pulls himself away from Roman’s world in a bid to retain individual identity. And it’s this that left me a little ‘hmmm’ towards the end. I’d seen Dare getting drawn in body and soul, then when Dare saw Jeff in the 24/7 state, all that heat almost flat-lined. It left a very strange state, but one I can understand. Some people don’t take one-hundred percent to the sub life. So it was good to see that play out and see Dare try to find his comfort levels, and then acknowledge his comfort levels, especially when it came to Roman.

Roman… Mmmmm. The more I think about him, the more I’d like to pull him from the pages and do wicked things to him. I loved how he kept showing his pure commitment to Jeff, even through his fascination with Dare. The tables turned on Jeff again, going from thinking he needed more, to learning Roman maybe was all he needed, to seeing someone else catch Roman’s eye. The whole constantly shifting arrangements made for a whole snake-pit for disaster, but Roman kept coming into his pure Dom roll, showing Jeff how much he loves him, bringing out the best in Dare, so that by the end, there’s a strange part-time sub v full-time sub acceptance with the relationship. I expected Dare to go his own way with how cool he became, or at least find someone else and keep coming back to Roman, so the ending did surprise me a little.
 
But overall, a fantastic read, and I’m damn sure I’ll picking up the next installment to this.


Link to author's Amazon.co.uk page.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Review: Deliver Us by Lynn Kelling

Title: Deliver Us
Author: Lynn Kelling

Rating 5 scorchers
Genre: BDSM, Gay, Erotic Romance.

(Discliamer: I wrote this review before Ms Kelling and I had spoken and agreed to our merged-world projects.)

Okay, where to start without resulting to my initial response, which would probably get a few raised brows from anyone reading this (spoiler: there were a few swear words, a lot of shifting to adjust the heat under my collar, and a lot “phew, they’re doing what?”).
 
Hands up, I have to admit, Deliver Us touched on a few taboos. Ones that I’d not come across before. That’s a strange place to start a review, with a list of likes and unknowns, but it becomes important  when you put it in context with characters, plot, and pace.
The two leads in this, Darrek and Gabe, especially because of their histories, they needed an explosive sexual creativity when they were together, that ability to just let go and experience, as life in general had forced them to close down in their own ways. They needed that extreme level of intensity to allow each other the ability to trust when it then came to going beyond the physical.  
Darrek is your sensitive straight, who having being left by his ex lover is given a number to a BDSM club. Fully expecting to explore a female D/s relationship, something he has nibbled at in the past, complications over the forms he signs puts Derek under the experienced hands of Gabe, a male Dom with just the right touch to throw Darrek’s world into a heated rush of sensation overload, submission, and the even more dangerous possibility of being Gabe’s lover.
As Dom and sub, Gabe and Darrek seem the most unlikeliest pair to meet, let alone become lovers. We have Darrek, the lonely lovable giant who stumbles away from a shattered relationship into the BDSM scene and a gay love life in general. There’s a will and determinism to try everything, to find his body’s limits and test whether he can push through them, all underwritten by his growing feelings for Gabe that seem to give him the drive for pushing his mind and body.
Then there’s Gabe.  His troubled history has taken him into the role of a Dom, one who only ever touches, never allows to touch, and who also comes with one hell of a protective group of Doms who get just as aggressive with anyone threatening to touch Gabe (a protectiveness that I loved seeing play out).
It seems a relationship that’s doomed to fail, either through Darrek’s and Gabe’s destructive histories, the intensity of a D/s relationship, or the protectiveness of friends. It’s certainly one relationship I was skeptical to in the beginning, the whole straight to gay/vanilla to SUB seeming a wide gap to fill.
Yet  it’s that understanding you reach with both parties, how you can see Gabe seeming to find a certain level of  security in knowing Darrek stumbled into the gay BDSM scene, that there’s an innocence to how Darrek breaks down the barrier to Gabe that Gabe forced around himself a teen. You come to see that Darrek wouldn’t have had the same reaction with any other Dom, and that Gabe would have just gone through the motions given any other sub. It had to be Gade; it had to be Darrek for this to work.
But, on a level of kink beyond the taboo, I loved this relationship from a language pov too. It was intriguing to see Gabe and Darrek live the D/s lifestyle, but have a narrative prose that showed equal dynamics. Equal weight is given to Darrek and Gabe in and outside of a scene, so both work together, neither really claiming linguistic dominance, and it’s that subtlety that helped cement their relationship, for me anyway.
And a lot of that is why it has taken me so long to read this novel. There were so many things going at so many levels, I had to back away, force myself to pull out at certain points for fear of sensory overload.  Not a bad thing at all. In fact, I had to go buy a hard copy for my… collection.
This one is a definitely a keeper and one I’ll be reading again

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Review: MINDFUCK by Jessi Bond

Title: MindFuck
Author Jessi Bond

Rating: 2
Genre: M/M, light BDSM. Psych-play

First off, the cover to this is stunning, added to the title MindFuck, who wouldn't be tempted? I had really high expectations of this, kind of like wanting something along the lines of Shaun Hutson's Shadows, only with a darker m/m twist.

We first meet the main guy Blake Underwood going through your typical "psychic" show, all onstage and obviously loving what he does. After spotting a young man in the crowd and wanting to try and use every trick in the book to make him comfortable, headgames come into play, only it's not in the form that Blake expects.

This promised so much, and I really wanted that creepy, screw with your head, screw with your body feeling that I love with these kinds of books. Only something didn't quite hit the mark.

The overall problem was that it was just too short. Everything meeded more: more build-up, more suspense, more sexual tension. The writing style itself holds a lot of promise and the concept (artwork, and title) were all very good, but the "Mindfuck" itself didn't hold true to its promise.

So the low rating itself isn't because of any technical faults, it's purely because this short promised so much, but just didn't deliver on content -- and I really wanted it to.


Link to author's Amazon page

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Peer Support

In the next few weeks, the Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia will be kicking into high gear. This post is just to raise awareness that the blog sign ups for the GLBTQ writing and publishing community is open until 10th May.

Whether you're a writer, publisher, cover artist, or reviewer for GLBTQ, please come along, show your support, and sign up for the blog @ Hop Against Homophobia and Transphobia






Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Monday, 1 April 2013

Dear Author -- Joan: meet...

... Sizzling Summer Fun.

I'm pretty new to the whole Goodreads "Love Has No Boundaries" event in the M/M group, and all I can say is: I can't believe it's taken me this long to get my ass in there and get involved. I'm LOVING it.

Theory to the fun is: a member provides a picture, gives a prompt, and the writer states "claim" and then writes the story. When I came across "Dear Author -- Joan", I fell in love with the picture that was posted (who wouldn't? A guy bound to a bed *waggles eyesbrows* -- you've just gotta cry claim). And as for the prompt itself -- it couldn't have stirred things any better. All psych-play and restraint... absolute heaven.

So along with my other commitments this month, I'm writing a free story for Goodreads LHNB M/M group, and loving it in the process. Along the way, there'll be extracts posted, character traits, and anything else that comes to mind.

All I can say is thanks to the M/M group for organising all of this, but also a huge thanks to Joan for providing such a gorgeous tease to work with.




Flame image courtesy of Free Images