Tuesday, 23 January 2018

WEDNESDAY BRIEFS: The Fairy Of Beacon Lake Part 3


I didn't get a prompt this week so the brief is free range.

I hope you enjoy.


Hours later, close to midnight, Owen scrambled down the path toward the lake. A low moon lit his path but leeched colour from the world, turning it blue and silver. Owen shivered and pulled his coat closer around his throat. It was late summer but already the nights were turning cold. He clutched the parcel he was holding tight against his chest. He was by no means convinced that the “gift” Aggie had provided would bring anything but scornful laughter, but she’d never let him down before. Three nights, she’d told him. “Three nights. Three gifts. Then we’ll see.”

The lake lay at the foot of a rippled mountain range that staggered around it in a broken semicircle. It was as if some giant had come along when the earth was forming, found it to be whipped and light like mousse and took a spoonful. One side of the rough bowl was steep and almost fluted, while the other, after a slight rise over the lip, swept gently downwards into the valley below. It was over this lip that Owen now strolled, following a well-worn path from the top of the cliff, between two of its ripples where the slope was less rocky and steep. Even so, it was uneasy going for those unused to it, especially at night. Fortunately, Own had wandered the sheep paths all his life and his feet were sure enough to navigate with far less light than the moon provided.

By the time he reached the bank, a strange hush had fallen. It was this that had drawn him here the first time. He’d been walking back from somewhere, Gethin’s probably. It was before they’d both left for uni. It was a shame Gethin had chosen Cambridge. Owen missed his friend, but he had neither the means nor the desire to attend such a prestigious university – or such an English one. He was lucky the course he wanted was available at Swansea, which was not much more than an hour away, giving him plenty of opportunity to come home to see to Aggie.

On the last night before Gethin left, they’d had a going away party in the village hall. He’d gone back to Gethin’s after, and, fair play, he did have a belly-full of cider before he even got there. When everyone else had gone, Gethin had opened a bottle of Penderyn whiskey. It turned out to be his father’s and to say Gethin Snr was displeased would be understatement of the year. By the time Owen staggered along the path over the cliff tops he was as pissed as a parrot.

He hadn’t noticed at first. That silence. There was always sound. The wind. Small things in the grass. Bigger things eating the grass. Sheep that is. There were sheep everywhere. Bloody nuisances. At least they didn’t wander down to the village anymore. He’d been scared out of sleep plenty of times by sheep knocking the lids off the dustbins. Nowadays, the farmers had to fence them in. It was a pain having to climb stiles, but probably for the best, in the end.

That night, there had been no sheep. No owls. No anything.

By the time the silence had reached the place, deep inside his head, that was still functioning at something close to normal, he was at the place where the path diverged. The right fork led down to the lane that ran to his cottage, the other wound down to the lake. He’d hesitated for no more than a moment, before taking the left path. Some strange urgency had overtaken him and he’d sped up, tripping over rocks and almost falling more than once. When he’d reached the lake, he’d felt stupid. Panting hard, with his heart hammering against his ribs, he’d gazed out over the water, waiting to catch his breath. Then he’d seen it; he’d seen him.

There were no islands in the lake, no protruding rocks or stepping stones, yet there he’d been apparently sitting on the surface of the water itself, combing hair that must have been three feet long, 
silver in the moonlight.

At first, Owen had though him to be a mermaid. It had taken a while of breathless voyeurism to discover he was male. It had, in fact, been the point when, as if he’d known Owen was watching, the boy had flowed up to stand on the water. Half-turning he’d stretched upward, then arched his back, giving Owen a perfect view of a long, lean body with a defined musculature and…. Of course he’d looked. He couldn’t help looking. A lovely boy, naked in the moonlight? Where the hell was Owen’s gaze supposed to go? Downwards of course. His cock was perfect.

Owen shivered again. One look was all he’d got before the boy spun and sank into the water. For an instant Owen had been worried, but he’d known all along, in the back of his mind, that this was no ordinary boy. Although he’d tried to blame it on his drunkenness, Owen knew he’d seen a fairy.  Of course, he’d said nothing to anyone. Neither had he told of the sightings he’d had since. Four – no five – times he’d stood just here on the bank and watched the boy rise to sit on an invisible rock and comb his hair. The last few times, the lilting notes of a strange song had floated to Owen on the wind and he’d become entranced, sometimes finding himself alone on the shore with the dawn breaking and no memory of what had happened. Of course, he hadn’t told Aggie that part. She never would have helped him if she’d known he was already under the fairy boy’s spell.


With a sigh, Owen clutched the box containing Aggie’s gift tighter to his chest. What if it didn’t work? What if it did?


Now's the time to head off and find out what the other flashers are offering this week


Tuesday, 16 January 2018

WEDNESDAY BRIEFS The Fairy of Beacon Lake Part 2


It was hard to choose a prompt this week. I really wanted to use this one


because it's just so spectacularly amazing. However, it doesn't really go with what I wanted to say and is definitely not right for my fairy. However, Cernunnos is a Celtic pagan god and both Owen and Aggie are pagan, so it tenuously fits. However, given I've only just come back I figure tenuously might not be enough so instead I chose "How many times do I have to tell you?" which fits much better.

I hope you enjoy.

“Gran, please. You’ve got to help me. Tell me what to do; how to get him to notice me.”

“He’s noticed you, boy. You can be sure of that.”

“Alright then, not notice. Pay attention. How do I make him pay attention to me?”

“Make him? You’d be a fine one to make the fey do anything. A better man than me, for sure.”

“Gran.” Owen ground his teeth.  His grandmother never gave a straight answer to questions like this, and she wouldn’t be pushed. Pleading and cajoling would get him nowhere. Taking a breath, he modulated his voice. “Okay, I don’t want to make him do anything, but I….”

Owen paused. Time to choose his words carefully. Any suggestion of love would be met with humiliating derision. Aggie Morton didn’t pull her punches and made no secret of the fact she thought love was nothing but a cruel illusion.

Sitting astride a wooden, kitchen chair, he watched for a while as his grandmother went about making their evening meal. He’d long ago stopped trying to persuade her to modernize her home and she still cooked over an open fire on a long, black-lead stove. At least she had electricity now and he’d made sure she had electric heaters to keep warm if she wasn’t up to chopping wood. She had a freezer, too, and a microwave, but she kept both in the shed, along with the heaters, still in their boxes.

Bending to sip from a wooden spoon bigger than his hand, out of a cauldron that might well have weighed more than his nine-year-old sister, she was positively witchy. Not that she’d admit to being a witch. She preferred “wise woman” and swore that all her potions, remedies and good advice were nothing more than “knowing the way the world works”. She was a no-nonsense person with no times for such things as magic and love. Dreams, on the other hand, she was much in favour of. When Owen had chosen to do a Creative Writing Degree rather than the Business course his father was pushing for, it was Aggie who had taken his side, insisting that words had power and learning to
wield them well could get a young man a long way in the world.

Time to draw from the well and find some words.

“I know you think the fey are dangerous and I agree with you, I really do. I’ve seen enough over the years, and learned from you to be on my guard. I won’t take anything at face value and I know all the rules about not following music or light, not eating or drinking and never going to sleep in a fairy circle. I won’t get lured into anything or fooled by glamour.”

“Seems like you already have been.”

Agatha put down her spoon and tilted Owen’s face up. He met her gaze calmly. “Hmpf. You’ve been lucky so far. I don’t see no sign of enchantment on you. But be careful. There’s more than one way to put a spell on a man, and I’ll bet that boy knows them all.”

Owen dropped his head, long strands of vibrant blue hair falling forward to curtain him. He tapped his fingers against the scrubbed wood of the kitchen table. “You know I won’t give up. I’ll figure it out somehow, with or without your help. I just want to do it right.”

“How many times do I have to tell you there is no right way to court a fairy,” Agatha snapped. “Fey and human don’t mix. Never have; never will. No relationship I’ve ever heard of has brought anything but tears in the end.”

“A lot of relationships bring tears, Gran. That’s why I’m here, remember?”

“Yes, and I thought you’d have learned your lesson.” Agatha dunked the spoon and stirred rather more aggressively than the recipe warranted.

“What lesson? That love is bad for you?” He huffed. “I suppose it is. When it goes wrong. I just haven’t had much luck finding the right person.”

“The right person? Seems to me you’ve done your best to find the wrong ones.”

Owen shrugged. “I can’t argue with you there.”

Aggie sighed and set down the spoon again. She laid a hand on Owen’s shoulder. He glanced up. Her gaze was grave. “I thought we were going to lose you this time, boy.”

Owen shivered and nodded. “There were times where I thought so, too.”

“Haven’t you had enough to be done with love for a while?”

He closed his hand over hers and rested his cheek against her arm. She moved in to embrace him as she always did when he was hurt or sad. Her earthy scent surrounded him, wrapping him in safety and stability.

“That’s the point. It stopped being love a long time ago.”

“And you really want to be so quick to jump back in? This isn’t love either, you know.”

“I know. Not yet, but I have a feeling it could be.”

“A feeling eh? I know those kinds of feelings, and they rarely lead to good decisions.”

Owen twisted to gaze up at her. “Probably not, but I’ve always got you to pull me out of the lake if he tries to drown me.”

Aggie glared at him for a moment, then her rosy cheeks dimpled. “Oh, very well. I’ll help you. I never could say no to that smile. On your head be it, mind. I’ll pull your body out of the lake, but I’ll do nothing to mend your heart when he breaks it. That’s a consequence you have to work through all on your own.”

“I don’t think he’ll break my heart.”

“Oh, he will. Maybe not for a very long time, but he will in the end. They always do.”

Now's the time to head off and find out what the other flashers are offering this week


Monday, 15 January 2018

Review of Misdemeanour and Hard Times by C F White

Buy Link
Buy Link

























MISDEMEANOUR BLURB

Book one in the Responsible Adult serial

Love isn’t always responsible

After his mother tragically dies and his deadbeat father goes off the rails, nineteen-year-old Micky is left to care for his disabled little brother, Flynn.

Juggling college, a dead-end job and Flynn’s special needs means Micky has to put his bad-boy past behind him and be the responsible adult to keep his brother out of care. He doesn’t have time for anything else in his life.

Until he meets Dan…


MISDEMEANOUR REVIEW

Micky was a bad boy. Who knows all he got up to, but some of it, at least, wasn’t legal.

That was before his mother died and he kicked his drunken, abusive father out of the house to take care of his young brother, Fynn. Fynn suffers from Williams Syndrome, a rare condition that causes some physical and developmental problems that makes Flynn overly social, trusting and a challenge to bring up.

The authorities are not happy about the situation at all, and Micky struggles to stay one step ahead of them. Time is running out as no one really believes he has adult supervision any longer. Micky is terrified that his past will preclude him from caring for Flynn if they’re caught

There are some amazing touches that hit you right in the feels, such as the post box the boys have in their garden where Flynn posts letters to his mother. Micky tells him their mother comes in the night to read them and if he’s asleep she kisses him goodnight.

The characters are so real that by the end of the book it was almost as if I knew them personally.
Micky is certainly no angel, neither does he pretend to be.

Dan, a harassed store manager and Micky’s boss knows about his background but cares for him anyway, even though his faith is strained sometimes. He’s a solid, well adjusted person whose life is turned upside down by Micky and Flynn, but he hangs in there and helps Micky to learn how to adult, and tried to convince him that being an adult sometimes involves making hard decisions.

Flynn is just Flynn. There’s no one like him. He’s utterly adorable and I loved the heck out of him.
He trusts his brother implicitly, and he trusts everyone else almost as much. He’s so vulnerable and loving you find yourself holding your breath every time something threatens the home Micky has made for and with him.

The author calls the story gritty, and I suppose it is, but in a warm way and even when bad things happen there’s a warmth to them.

I did some research on Williams Syndrome and the author really knows her stuff. Like autism, it’s a bundle of possible symptoms that present differently in each person, with certain uniform characteristics. It is also known as Elfin Face Syndrome, which I think is perfect for Flynn who is such an innocent, affectionate, faery-like creature.

I warn you, this book ends in a cliffhanger. The title of the next book “Hard Time” might give you a clue as to what that is. Thankfully, I’m moving on to the next one immediately and I suggest you have the second book ready.

This is a wonderful, warm book with a high level of realism, and yes, a grittiness that spotlights a difficult life and someone struggling with an almost intolerable situation. However, there is humour, kindness and enduring love throughout that makes it a challenging but rewarding read.


HARD TIME BLURB

Book two in the Responsible Adult series

Love isn't always responsible.

After Micky O’Neill is remanded in custody for breaching his court order, his already tempestuous relationship with Dan Peters is tested to the limits.

Having to battle their way through a court case that could end with Micky in jail, social workers breaking up the family home and the return of Micky’s deadbeat father, it seems everything is set to destroy their relationship before it even has the chance to start.

With such high stakes involved, not just for Micky but for once-burned, twice-shy Dan, they both have to learn that falling in love isn’t always responsible.

HARD TIME REVIEW

Continuing on from Misdemeanour this book can’t be read as a standalone. Mickey, the reforming bad boy, hit rock bottom when arrested for breaching a restraining order (justifiably, I thought). At the beginning of this book, Mickey gets out of prison but he’s lost his brother, Flynn when Social Services finally caught up with them.

By a stroke of luck, Dan’s parents are foster carers, albeit retired and they are able to take Flynn, at least temporarily.

Things look up for a while, but it’s not for Mickey to have things too easy. His father makes a comeback and steals everything he owns. In an attempt to get them back, Mickey finds himself in trouble again.

The author has an amazing ability to lull you into a cosy sense of false security, before dumping a bucket of “Oh my God no” on your head. Mickey is tested at every turn and cosy domestic scenes are interspersed with much darker events. At no time are you allowed to get too comfortable and I love this.

Throughout all his trials, Dan remains a steady influence but Mickey still finds it impossible to say “I love you”, and his lack of commitment is the one thing most likely to blow them apart. That and his temper.

The workings and attitudes of social services and the courts are accurately if somewhat optimistically, represented and add to the gritty realism that pervades the books. While everything has a satisfactory outcome, it certainly wasn’t an easy one.

As usual, Flynn provides light relief with his pure innocence and truly beautiful personality. It was heart-breaking to see the author deal with the kind of bigotry children with disabilities far too often face.

When the first book ended in a cliffhanger, this one most certainly does not. The upbeat tone and sense of real hope for the future is as beautiful as the scenery and I felt as if I was coming home at last after a long, hard journey.


These two books were not easy to read, but the rewards were enormous. If you want your heartstrings tugged, torn and played like a finely tuned instrument then these are the books for you. You won’t be sorry.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Wednesday Briefs The Faery Of Beacon Lake


It's been a while, but I'm finally back in the saddle and working on my first Wednesday Brief in a very long time.

I'm not going into details of why I've been awol, let's suffice it to say that I'm writing again, I'm back and I'm hoping 2018 will be the best year yet for my writing.

To celebrate my new start, I'm starting a new story that is based on an old Welsh legend and is set very close to where I live. It only very loosely follows the legend but at least I'm supplied with a ready made story arc and I get to write about two things I love - Wales and faeries.

So, without further ado let's get into the story. It is introduced by a lady we'll get to know and love as the story progresses. Listen to her, she speaks a lot of sense.

Ancient medieval manuscripts tell the story of The Physicians of Myddfai and the lady who rose from the waters of Llyn-Y-Fan-Fach (Translated as Lake of the Small Beacon) which lies nestled in the Black Mountains near Brecon in South Wales. The story is well known in Wales, first appearing in The Red Book of Hergest and later absorbed into the quintessential collection of Welsh Folklore, The Mabinogion.
This is not that story. In this story it is not a lady who rises from the lake. It  is not set in Myddfai, nor on the banks of Llyn-Y-Fan-Fach, but an imaginary place that is reminiscent of both but infinitely more pronounceable.  

Prologue

Agatha

That fool of a boy had got himself mixed up with faeries. I’ve dragged him out of his fair share of scrapes over the years, sometimes by the ear, but I’m not sure I can get him out of this one.

You don’t mess with faeries. I don’t know how many times I’ve told him that. They’re not human and don’t take the trouble to try – not unless they want something, and that never turns out well for the human involved.

It’s not so much that you can’t trust the fey folk, but more that they don’t trust you. Too many, humans are the enemy. You came tearing into fey lands, taking what suited you,  and destroying the rest, and the fey didn’t take too kindly to that.

In the very beginning, human and fey lived side-by-side. If not in harmony, then at least in peace. That was before the warriors came from across the seas and took whatever they wanted, calling it their own. That’s the difference, see? Fey take care of the land: humans think they can own it. How can you own a living thing? Living things own themselves, otherwise that’s slavery but you’ve done your fair share of that over the years, too.

‘Course you don’t call it slavery anymore, do you? You think you make your own choices in complete freedom. Humans really are fools.

For a human, Owen’s about as good are you’ll get. He’s got his head screwed on the right way, but he’s a dreamer all the same. I ask you, what boy of going-on-twenty spends all his time wandering around in the middle of the night on the mountainside? How he hasn’t broken his back, I don’t know. 

That’s what moonlight does for you, see? Makes you into fools. That’s because moonlight is magic, or to be more precise the moon-dust within the moonlight is magic. A good lungful of that is plenty to have a grown man acting like a five-year-old. Many a foolish deed were done after a night of dancing under the moonlight.

Some as knows the right ways can make real magic on the nights when the moon is full and hangs over the lake like the dug of the Mother herself. With a good suckling of moon-dust in your belly, a man could almost think himself invincible. Or even…in love.

Ah love. The most powerful magic of all. It can make a man of a boy, a child of a man and a damn 
fool of them all. Love magic is powerful stuff. Magic love? That’s a whole new ball game, and that fool boy can’t even see the park.

Falling in love with anyone is bad enough; falling for a fairy is nigh on the most stupid thing a man can do. What about a woman? Read your history. The stories of a woman drawn off the path by a pretty fey boy are rare.

Mind you, that’s exactly what’s set our Owen’s blood afire – a pretty fey boy. Not that I’ve seen him, but it’s rare a fey is ordinary. Ugly or beautiful but never in between. A people born and raised on the extremes. Afraid of the in between? Perhaps. But they’ve good cause to be.

I told that boy not to go wandering around near the lake in the moonlight. Lakes are doorways, see. Lakes and mirrors both, like caves and wild places. They are the in between, where two worlds touch and folk foolish enough can be lured from one side to the other. At least Owen came back to tell of it.
It’s rare nowadays for the fey to steal someone away. There was a time when no mother would settle for the night without setting iron in her baby’s cradle, lest the fair folk come in the night and steal them away, leaving a changeling in their place. Now, the fey can’t get near. If not iron, there is cold concrete and glass, poisons in the air and everywhere eyes watching.

In places like this, though, in the heart of Wales, where the old stories are still half believed, the fey have a few places where they can still pass through their gates and do no end of harm if they can get away with it. Here, the mists come down so fast and the winds blow so hard that sometimes people wander onto the mountains or down to the water, and are never seen again. Or, if they do manage to wander out, they are forever changed.  


Here, it’s still possible to meet a fairy, but if you do best beware because the fey don’t like what you’ve done to our beloved Mother Earth and we’ve no reason to play fair.

Now visit the rest of the flashers this week for some wonderful stories.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

NOW AUDIO: Pricks and Pragmatism J L Merrow


PRICKS AND PRAGMATISM
SOUTHAMPTON STORIES #1



Kicked out by his father at age sixteen, English student Luke Corbin’s used to trading on his looks and charm to keep a roof over his head until he can make it big as a journalist. He goes for men with money, power and looks, in that order, and he doesn’t let emotions get in the way. But when his lover tells him it’s over, Luke finds himself homeless—just as his final exams are looming.

Moving in with geeky chemical engineer Russell may be a step down for him, but Luke can’t afford to be choosy. Fully prepared to put out as usual, Luke’s confused and frustrated when Russell refuses to take advantage of him—and even more so when he finds out Russell’s saving himself for someone special.

The more time he spends with the shy, honourable man, the more Luke finds himself bowled over by Russell’s sweetness and integrity. But just as he’s coming to terms with his own wish to be that special guy for Russell, Luke has to face facts: he’s fallen for the one man he can’t seem to charm.


Thursday, 4 January 2018

Newsletter


AS a not-quite-a-new-year-resolution, I decided that I wanted 2018 to be a year when I became more proactive, stop whining about how bad I am at promotion and actually tried to be better. There were spurts in 2017 but I got discouraged too easily, I hope that by going into this with the intention of learning rather than knowing what I'm doing, I'll fare better.

One of my aims is to write at least two or three blog posts on one of my blogs or my website every week. So far so good. We'll see,

Another thing I'm working hard to set up is a newsletter. I've made my very first one and now all I need are people to send it to. I very much hope that if you're reading this post you are interested enough in this crazy mind of mine to subscribe.

The first edition has a Giveaway and I'm going to include a treat in every one of them, I promise.

You can subscribe for the newsletter to the right of this post, or on my Website. I look forward to entertaining you.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Soul Infection by Katerina Ross



Soul Infection (The Sons of Gomorrah. Book 1) by Katerina Ross

“The Sons of Gomorrah” is a paranormal M/M series set in Prague, the city where anything magical might happen. But sometimes it’s dark magic.


Blurb: Tristan Todorov, formerly one of the best scholars at the legendary and sinister Scholomance school of magic, was cast out and now travels alone through Eastern Europe offering discreet services as an unlicensed magician. In a luxurious hotel in Prague where he’s been invited to investigate a suspicious series of suicides, he’s about to meet someone who will make him remember the darkest secret of his past. Will a night of lust soothe Tristan—or will it stir up something evil and dangerous, something he’s tried so desperately to forget?

Excerpt

Jarek slid off the bed, the coverlet still loosely draped over his shoulders and trailing behind him like a king’s cloak. In the gap between the folds, Tristan could see everything he wanted to.
“Don’t move,” Jarek told him softly. “Keep your hands to your sides.”
And Tristan obeyed.
“Interesting,” Jarek mused, trailing a finger along his collarbone.
Tristan sucked in a deep shuddering breath, but stayed still. It felt odd, letting this happen. Jarek slipped his hand lower, casually brushed it across Tristan’s perked nipple on the way, and then traced a path down his chest and over the muscles of his abdomen. Tristan’s abs went taut at the feather light touch, and Jarek laughed quietly.
“Sensitive.” He stated the obvious. He let the coverlet slip from his shoulders—an effortlessly seductive gesture, probably well-practiced. A slow, crooked smile made the expression on Jarek’s face all the more lascivious, which was most certainly the intention. “I think I know what you need.”
Tristan looked down pointedly and then up, with a hint of sarcasm. “Well, that’s kind of apparent.”
He still felt nervous, but not as much as when he’d thought of being pitied or rejected.
Jarek quirked an eyebrow at him. “Is it? Hmm. We’ll definitely come to that, but why rush things? I’m here to take care of your wishes, even the ones you’re not sure you have. Why not try something new, something unusual?” He leaned in, very close, and Tristan felt Jarek’s warm breath on his lips when he whispered, “Just let me take control for a while, and you’ll see how good I can make you feel.”
The next moment, Jarek backed off, to Tristan’s disappointment, but maintained eye contact, and Tristan felt unable to look away, as if mesmerized. The tips of Jarek’s fingers now rested lightly on his hipbones, almost where Tristan wanted them most but not moving closer.
“Say yes,” Jarek coaxed him in a low voice. “Say you give in to me tonight. It’s easy, giving in.”
“Yes,” Tristan breathed out, not sure what he’s agreeing to and not caring in the least.

Buy links:

Soul Infection (The Sons of Gomorrah. Book 1)

Evernight Publishing: 

The House of Fear (The Sons of Gomorrah. Book 2)

Amazon: 
Evernight Publishing: 

About the author: Katerina Ross lives in Russia and works as a journalist. There are no M/M romance publishers in her country at all, so she writes hot M/M stories in English.

Social media links

Facebook: 
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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Detective Fox by Isobel Starling


Is everyone sitting comfortably? Good, let's begin. I want to tell you a story about a fox, Detective Fox.

New on Audible, just in time for Christmas



Thursday, 23 November 2017

DREAMSPINNER BIG THANK YOU SALE




NOVEMBER 23 TO 27 

35% OFF ENTIRE STORE
(Sale begins and ends according to Eastern Standard Time)


  Why not take the opportunity to pick up HOSTAGE at 35% discount?


Astrin Raphael wakes up in a strange place, frightened and confused. He is told to trust someone who seems to hate him, and he tries—he really tries. However, things change rapidly when he discovers his friend is actually his archenemy, Rowan Gabriel, whose abusive behavior stems from a deeply ingrained, if unwarranted, hatred over something that happened many years before, and simply wasn’t Astrin’s fault.

When Rowan's uncle and Astrin's father are kidnapped by Strebo Michael, the two crown princes are catapulted into an adventure that forces them to work together, and along the way their feelings for each other grow.

Rowan is quick to let his hate go, but Astrin can’t release his inhibitions. It takes Astrin almost dying from a poisoned dagger before he finally accepts Rowan's love.

When they return home, their problems continue as their Houses try to negotiate a way for the young men to be together. It soon becomes clear at least one of them will need to relinquish his throne.

Monday, 13 November 2017

RELEASE DAY! Fairies At The Bottom Of The Garden



Facebook: NineStar Press
Facebook Readers Group: The NineStar Niche
Twitter: @NineStarPress


Author: Cheryl Headford

Release Date: November 13, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-947904-22-4

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Category: Romance

Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Word Count: 84700

Sex Content: Explicit/Fade to Black

Pairing: MM

Orientation: Gay

Identity: Cisgender




Purchase Links:


Book Blurb

All Keiron wants is a quiet life. Fat chance with a boyfriend like Bren. But if he thought Bren complicated his life, that was nothing compared to the complications that begin when he opens the door to what he thinks is a naked boy claiming to be his slave.

Draven is a fairy with his sights set on the handsome human who keeps a wild place in the garden for fairies. When Draven slips through a fairy gate into the city, he sets in motion a series of events that binds him to Keiron forever, and just might be the end of him.

While Draven explores Keiron’s world with wide-eyed wonder, Keiron does everything he can to keep Draven’s at bay, until the only way to save Draven and bring him home is to step into a world that should exist only in children stories.

Excerpt

Keiron hurried home at the end of a very long day, anticipating some peace and quiet. He liked a quiet life, so what had possessed him to take on a boyfriend like Bren Donovan was anyone’s guess. Whatever else it might be, life with Bren was certainly not quiet, and it was slowly wearing Keiron out.

It was almost a relief Bren wouldn’t be staying at the flat that night. Although they were practically living together, Bren had his own place and sometimes felt the need to stay there. This was usually because a member of his family—or particularly flighty friend—was coming to stay. It wasn’t as if his family wasn’t aware of their relationship, but Bren was shy about “rubbing it in their faces”. Keiron didn’t understand because Bren’s mother seemed to like him a great deal and considered him to be a stabilising influence on her son.

Keiron was a conservative person and so different to Bren, they might as well live in different worlds. As for Bren’s friends, they were usually very like him—loud, messy, and irresponsible. Keiron couldn’t stand them. He was lucky if nothing got broken, and they always left the flat in a complete mess. If Bren wanted to live in a pigsty, so be it. He could do it in his own home.

This weekend, with the bank holiday, Bren was getting both. His friends were congregating on Saturday. Then his parents and sister were coming on Sunday, and staying through until Tuesday morning. Keiron had a Bren-free weekend and was looking forward to it.

If it hadn’t been for their differences on this point, they’d have moved in together a long time ago. Bren chafed for it, but Keiron couldn’t handle his flat descending into chaos, and it wasn’t even as if Bren helped tidy up afterwards. Keiron cringed at the thought of having that chaos and therefore stress every day.

Not only that, but Bren was the most jealous person Keiron had ever come across. Keiron was constantly accused of looking at other men, and God forbid he spoke to one. Bren was a firebrand, completely living up to his fiery red-headed Irish-descended promise. Sometimes it was exciting, even invigorating, yet at other times Keiron longed for the peace and stability he used to have before Bren burst in on him. Maybe at twenty-two, he was just getting old.

Keiron ordered takeaway and, while he waited for it to arrive, wandered down to the bottom of the garden, a beer in his hand, his hair damp from the bath. The sun was still high and warm enough for him to be wearing a thin T-shirt and shorts. The smell of a barbecue drifted over from a neighbouring garden and his mouth watered.

Savouring his drink, he sank onto the stone bench under the rose arbour. It afforded a good view of the whole garden. It was a big one. A long lawn stretched ahead of him to the decking immediately outside the house, where a large wooden table, a number of items of garden furniture, and a shiny silver gas barbecue sat.

Sometimes, he had Bren’s friends around for a barbecue. They weren’t so bad out here in the garden, although they made such a mess of the barbecue itself that it took him days to get it properly clean. He smiled to himself. Sometimes, living with Bren was like having a teenage son. Fortunately, Bren was very good at things he’d hate to think any son of his could do.

The lawn was bordered on either side by flower beds and bushes, which hid the wooden fences separating his garden from the ones on either side. To his left, screened from the arbour by a yew hedge, was a garden pool with a rock fountain and fat koi swimming under lily pads. There used to be more fish—before Bren’s friends found the pond. He pursed his lips at the thought.

To the right was a shrubbery. A large variety of plants made up a wild area of about thirty square feet. Bren loved it, of course. He’d burrowed into it and, within a week, had made a green cave right in the middle. He’d floored it with an old piece of carpet he’d found on a skip. It had taken a long time and a lot of carpet-cleaner to persuade Keiron to enter it, but he had to admit, making love outside under the bushes in the darkness was something he’d come to enjoy very much.

Bren had been surprised he had such a wild place in his neat garden, in his neat life. Perhaps it was the thing that sealed the deal with Bren, who’d been reluctant to get involved with someone so unlike himself, and likely to “cramp his style”.

“But why?” he’d asked. “It doesn’t seem like you to have a wild place like this. It’s so out of place—with the garden and with you. Why haven’t you ‘tamed’ it? Everything else in your life is tame. 
You’re the most vanilla person I know—except for this.”

They were in the “cave” at the time. It was dark but warm, and they were holding each other in the afterglow of amazing sex. Keiron had smiled lazily and sighed.

“My mother used to live out in the country somewhere when she was a child. My grandmother never took to city life. She told me once there was no room in a city for life, real life. Nowhere for roots to reach the earth. No place for the fairies.”

“Fairies?”

“Oh yes, she was very superstitious about fairies. Never had anything made of iron in the garden. Put out saucers of warm milk if there was a deep frost or snow. And always had a wild place in the garden—for the fairies.”

Bren had smiled at him. “I never thought you had any of that in you, Keiron. I guess there’s hope for you yet.”

Keiron had grinned and held Bren tightly in his arms.

Keiron smiled at the memory and took a drink of his beer. Something caught his eye, and he turned towards the shrubbery. He was sure he’d seen something move, shooting across his vision, behind the trees. He stared hard, but there was nothing there. It must have been a squirrel. He saw them now and again, scrabbling for nuts under the hazel tree or acorns from the enormous oak that overhung the garden from next door.

With a sigh, he settled back and took another drink. His stomach rumbled, and he glanced at his watch, wondering when his pizza would get there. The deliveryman was a regular, and if there was no answer at the door, he’d text to say he’d arrived. So Keiron could relax and not worry about—
There was definitely something there. It moved again. He’d seen it—a flash of white. A cat? Most of the neighbours had cats, and they liked to hang about in the shrubbery, waiting to pounce on unsuspecting birds. It had taken a lot of work to get rid of the smell of cat pee from the carpet.

Ah well. Although…something nagged at the back of his mind. It wasn’t a cat. It couldn’t have been a cat because it hadn’t looked like a cat. It had looked like a person. A small person with a pale pointed face. But it had only been a fraction of a second, a flash, an impression. It was nonsense, of course.

Maybe it was one of the fairies. He smiled.

There was no further movement in the bushes, so when the text came to herald the arrival of his pizza, he wandered back into the house.

He decided to eat his stuffed-crust vegetable supreme at the kitchen table. It was a beautiful night. Other than distant strains of music drifting over from the barbecue, there was the type of silence that magnified the slightest sound. Like the silence that came with snow. It was magical.

Keiron laughed at himself. Magical? That’s what you get for thinking of fairies.

Something flashed at the window and he glanced up sharply. There was nothing there, but there had been. In that fraction of a second between his head beginning to move and his eyes orienting on the window, there had been something or someone peeping in. Someone with a small pointy face. Shit.
Take it easy. If something was there, he didn’t want to frighten it away before he found out what it was.

He took up the uneaten pizza, making a show of putting it onto a plate and into the fridge. The back door was open to let in the summer warmth, and the bin was next to it, out of sight of the window. He folded the pizza box, and headed for the bin—only he wasn’t going to the bin at all. He lifted the lid, so the sound carried out into the garden, but before he let the lid drop, he dived for the back door.
There was nothing there, but there had been. There had been someone crouching under the window, peeping in. It was someone with long white hair, a pointed face, and unnaturally blue eyes. It was all seen in the blink of an eye, and after he’d blinked, there was nothing there and no sign there ever had been.

“I know you’re there. I’ve seen you three times now,” he called into the silence. “I know what you are.” Why had he even said that? It couldn’t have been anything but a figment of his imagination. Human beings couldn’t move that fast, and it was certainly no animal. Then what? A fairy? Hah.
Smiling at his own foolishness, he went back into the house and closed the door.

He was halfway through the remaining pizza, drinking his third bottle of beer and feeling pretty mellow, when there was a soft tapping at the back door. This surprised him very much. No one ever knocked on the back door. Why would they? How could they? They’d have to be in the garden, and there were only two ways into it, the door at which they now tapped or a tiny gate right at the bottom, which would have necessitated them traipsing right through the garden. Who would do that?

With a frown, gripping the bottle in his hand like a weapon, he walked through the kitchen to the door. He could see a vague form through the frosted glass. There was definitely someone there. He wondered if they’d disappear by the time he opened the door.

When the door opened, Keiron froze. He’d never seen anything—or anyone—remotely like the creature who stood on his back doorstep.

Neither spoke.

Keiron blinked, half expecting the creature to vanish before he opened his eyes. He didn’t. He seemed human enough. A boy of seventeen or eighteen years old, with long silvery-white hair and a pretty elfin face. Long white lashes swept over the downturned eyes and skin so pale it appeared translucent, seeming almost to glow in the gathering dusk. He was slender, willowy, and completely naked.

“Who the hell are you?” Keiron eventually asked. The boy looked up and Keiron recoiled. Nothing with eyes like that could be human. They were blue, but it wasn’t any blue he’d ever seen before. It was a brilliant electric blue with a metallic sheen that marked him as something very different to anyone Keiron had ever encountered.

“Draven,” the boy said automatically in a light singsong voice.

“What do you want?”

“Whatever you want.”

“I…want…I want to know who you are and why you’re standing naked on my back doorstep.”

“I’m…Draven,” he said with an anxious little smile. “I’m yours.”

Author Bio

Cheryl was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Cheryl has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play. Later in life, Cheryl became the storyteller for a reenactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere. In present times, Cheryl lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son, dog, bearded dragon and three cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. She’s never been happier since she was made redundant and is able to devote herself entirely to her twin loves of writing and art, with a healthy smattering of magic and mayhem.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Harmony Ink Massive Sale



To celebrate Transgender Week, Harmony Ink are holding a massive sale. For one week only there will be 35off all transgender books and 25% off the entire catalogue.

Why not take the opportunity to pick up Hostage, which is a fantasy/sci fi adventure. It's not transgender but still, 25% is a pretty good discount.



When Astrin Raphael finds himself held hostage in an unfamiliar place, he has no option but to try to have faith in someone who seems to despise him. Little does he know his captor is his nemesis, Rowan Gabriel, whose disdain for Astrin all started with a misunderstanding years ago.


The kidnapping of Astrin’s father and Rowan’s uncle leaves the two princes with no choice but to form a precarious alliance. Rowan casts off his hatred and reaches out to Astrin, but Astrin’s doubt and insecurity run too deep to let go of easily. It’s not until Astrin almost loses his life that he’s able to acknowledge what Rowan means to him and admit to the love forming between them.



Friday, 10 November 2017

REVIEW Birthday Presents by Dianne Hartsock



Blurb

For Tracey, life has become a nightmare. Kidnapped from a nightclub in Boulder, Colorado, brutalized and raped by the killer known as Crimson, he's held captive alongside Kyle, a young man Crimson keeps chained to his bed and is slowly torturing to death. Though Tracey manages to escape with Kyle's help, he is forced to leave Kyle behind.

Gene has never stopped looking for his brother Kyle, abducted from a nightclub seven months previously. The case breaks open when Tracey comes forward, claiming to have knowledge of the whereabouts of Crimson's hideout.

A manhunt begins, but Crimson's birthday has come and gone, and he will kill again.

Review

This is not a book for the faint hearted. Told from various perspectives, one of which is a serial killer, the story is complex, deep and chilling.

Crimson kills beautiful young men as birthday presents to himself. He is a master of his craft; intelligent, creative and always one step ahead. He made a mistake when he stole Kyle though, and a bigger one when he kept him. Torturing Kyle slowly to death might have been the biggest thrill of his life but this, and his obsession with Tracey, is what finally brought him down because Kyle’s brother Craig and Tracey’s boyfriend Daniel will stop at nothing to save the men they love.

This story had me from the blurb. It dives right into the action and stays there for the entire trip. Yes, I skipped ahead more than once because I just couldn’t handle the anticipation, but that’s me. I know there are plenty of you out there who will relish the mental torment as much as Crimson relishes the physical.

I won’t give away any secrets but Holy Shit the twist at the end will knock you sideways.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Contest and Giveaway. Andrew Q Gordon - The Last Grand Master

First, I want to thank Cheryl for hosting me today. I appreciate being able to speak to her fans and readers. For those who haven’t met me yet, I write epic fantasy. My current series – Champion of the Gods – is a five book epic fantasy work. Books One through Four are already available and Book Five is almost finished.

    


To introduce you to the series, I’d like to give everyone a free eBook copy of Book One – The Last Grand Master. And to pique your interest a bit more, I’m holding a gift card giveaway. If you sign up for my newsletter, you get a free copy of The Last Grand Master, a 35% off DSP Publication coupon and you’ll be entered to win one of three gift cards. Click the link below to enter the contest and get your free gifts.

Click HERE to enter the contest.


(The details are on the sign up page.)

Or keep reading for more details. If you already get my newsletter, thank you very much. But you can also get the 35% coupon and enter the contest by clicking the same link.

Want to earn more chances to win a gift card? Spread the word about my contest on social media. After you enter the contest, you’ll get a unique link you can share on social media. Every person who uses your link to enter the contest will earn you three additional entries. [Yeah, I get that might be confusing, email me if you have questions or click THIS LINK and you’ll be taken to a blog post on my site with info about the contest.]

If you want more information about the series and The Last Grand Master, click the image below and you’ll be sent to the series page on my website with more information about each of the books. There are video trailers for those who want something visual (Five points if you just said, “that’s not too abysmal, we can take in an old Steve Reeves movie) and information about the characters, geography and culture of the world.

 


I hope you’ll check out the series, sign up for my newsletter and claim your free gifts.   Enjoy The Journey!   Andrew Q. Gordon

Excerpt:



In the waning light of the summer sun, the four emerged onto the grassy plains. Without warning, the unicorns took off as only their kind could. Back home, with the wind rushing through his hair, Farrell laughed. He leaned forward, urging Nerti to run faster. Peering back, he saw Klissmor galloping with a determined glint in his eye. Miceral mimicked Farrell’s position, and his blond hair shimmered when it caught a shaft of moonlight from the newly risen moon.
For all his effort, Klissmor never caught Nerti. They reached the northern edge and had careened back when a powerful flare lit the dark sky from a spot above the gates. Farrell recognized the aura instantly. What did Wesfazial want?
“We’re being summoned back,” he told Nerti, not trying to hide his disappointment.
Nerti raced Klissmor to the front gate, and the pair arrived side by side. Farrell and Miceral quickly dismounted, and Farrell moved to one of the permanent Doors on this side. Careful to avoid the horn, he put his head to Nerti’s forehead and kissed her between the eyes, a thanks for the ride.
Smiling broadly, he waved to close the Door and took Miceral’s hand. Before they reached the gate, his smile drained.
“Honorus’s butt cheeks!” His curse earned him a stifled laugh from Miceral. “That man is always scowling at me. What is it now?”
When they arrived, Wesfazial, his face pinched and tight, “greeted” them.
“What in the Eight Gates of Neblor do you think you were doing?” He barely contained his anger. “You’re supposed to be resting, not off romping around at night on a unicorn’s back. And what demon possessed you to open Doors? You’re not supposed to be using magic. At all!” He paused for a breath, then turned his glare on Miceral. “And you. Not content to wound him, now you’re trying to kill him by not letting him rest?”
Farrell put fingers to lips and whistled loudly. When his mentor stared at him, he shook his head slowly. “Sometimes it’s better to ask questions before launching into a lecture.”
Wesfazial’s eyes narrowed, but he kept silent.
“Nerti healed me with her horn.” Raising both eyebrows, he waited a moment before adding, “I assume that’s all you wanted.”
“Um, no, there’s nothing else.” The older wizard shook his head as Farrell led Miceral inside. “Sorry, but I was apoplectic when I saw you four galloping about like that. Forgot about those unicorn horns.”
Laughing at the contrition, Farrell turned abruptly and put his hand on Wesfazial’s shoulder. “Sooner or later you’ll have to let go and realize I’m not the juvenile you met when you arrived.”
“It will take a long time for me to forget those days. I’m glad you’re all right, but be careful around this big oaf. He only looks slow.” Wesfazial gripped Miceral’s shoulder in his meaty hand before walking away.
   

About Andrew:

    AQGLogo Full Size


Andrew Q. Gordon wrote his first story back when yellow legal pads and ball point pens were common and a Smith Corona correctable typewriter was considered high tech. Adapting with technology, he now takes his MacBook somewhere quiet when he wants to write. Since devouring The Lord of the Rings as a preteen, he has been a fan of all things fantastical. His imagination has helped him create works of high fantasy, paranormal thrills and touch of the futuristic. He also writes the occasional contemporary story.


He currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with his husband of twenty-two years. Together they are raising their pre-school age daughter and three dogs. Andrew tries to squeeze writing time in around his most important jobs, being husband and ‘Papa.’ Along with teaching how to kick a soccer ball or ride a scooter, he has become fluent in cartoon characters and children’s books.

To find out more about Andrew, his writing and his family, follow him on his website or on Facebook. You can also sign up for his monthly newsletter and get an exclusive short story only available to subscribers. Use the link below to join:

http://andrewqgordon.getresponsepages.com


Follow Andrew:

website: www.andrewqgordon.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/andrewqugordon
Twitter: @andrewqgordon
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email: andrew@andrewqgordon.com


Books:

From DSP Publications: The Last Grand Master: (Champion of the Gods–Book 1) The Eye and the Arm: (Champion of the GodsBook 2) Kings of Lore and Legend: (Champion of the GodsBook 3) Child of Night and Day (Champion of the Gods—Book: 4) Purpose:

Self published: Ashes of Life