OutWrite LGBT Book Festival and Free Stuff

In the Washington DC area? Like books?

Join me tomorrow, Saturday, 8/2/2014 at the 4th annual OutWrite Book Festival at 2000 14th Street NW, DC (near the U-street Metro, I believe). I’ll be hanging out with Rowan Mcallister, Pearl Love, Andrew Gordon, Marguerite Labbe, and Gus Li – we’ll all be signing books, and I’ll even have brand new shiny paperback copies of STRIPPED AWAY.

Stripped Paperback

If you can’t make it to downtown Washington DC tomorrow, remember that I’m also giving away a paperback copy of Stripped Away to one of my newsletter subscribers. I’ll be doing the drawing on Monday, so there’s still time to get in on that action.

Sinfully Sexy book reviews is also giving away an e-book copy of Stripped Away, you can check it out here along with a very nice four-star review from Macky and an excerpt!

While we’re talking the OutWrite festival and book giveaways, my author buddy David Pratt and his smart, funny work will be at OutWrite this weekend also. In addition, I am giving away an e-copy copy of his latest release, LOOKING AFTER JOEY, over at Cafe Risque. Go leave a comment on the post to enter. I’ll choose a winner on Sunday so you still have some time.

Happy reading, and have a great weekend!

Review: Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost by Z.A. Maxfield

Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost
Rhapsody for Piano and Ghost by Z.A. Maxfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holy crap. I must have been so busy waiting with baited breath for the next St. Nacho’s book that I passed out and missed this one completely! Color me surprised. Oh. What. Fun. And this was a nice, long, meaty read that I could really sink my teeth into.

So Fitz is kind of young and innocent and on his own for the first time, and manages to dive head-first into the deep, shark-infested end of the dating pool. When he wakes up in a dumpster at the end of an awful encounter (sure, we’ve all been there, right?) he is rescued by two ghostly apparitions who decide to sort of adopt him as their own and help him navigate the slings and arrows of outrageous relationships. Somehow, Fitz finds himself trapped between his former stepbrother and a hot boyfriend who doesn’t necessarily have Fitz’s best interests at heart. Then, you know, hilarity and drama, and a little bow-chicka-wow-wow ensues.

I enjoyed that while Fitz kind of starts the story as an innocent rich kid, he isn’t a helpless, hapless omega who truly can’t fend for himself. And sometimes when he gets dicked around he knows it’s because he’s doing the right thing, and he still insists on being the good guy. The world needs people like that. I also loved that this was a little reminiscent of Crossing Borders with the younger protagonist and maybe also a little hint of The Long Way Home with the paranormal aspect, but it was *very* much its own story. I think Fitz’s age was a big part of what made the story so fun; the character voice and the humor that you just can’t get away with when writing an older character.

Disklikes? Minor nits maybe, the biggie being that I had difficulty getting a bead on the age of Ari, the major love interest, and that would have helped anchor the relationship a little better in my head. But it didn’t keep me from enjoying the story, and maybe I just missed something somewhere?

So listen, while you’re twiddling your thumbs waiting to see if Dan gets to ride the Camshaft, this book would be an excellent expenditure of your time. Srsly. 😉

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Review: Hot Head by Damon Suede

Hot HeadHot Head by Damon Suede
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

So this is the story of Griff and Dante, firefighters and lifelong best buddies–so close they’re practically brothers. Griff has fallen in love with Dante but can’t say anything because they’re supposed to manly skirt-chasing men, they run into burning buildings, and you just don’t DO that sort of thing. Right? Oh, but not so fast there, Griff. It turns out Dante’s in a tight spot financially, so he suggests they do a little gay for pay movie or two on the interweb to pick up some cash, and next thing you know Griff’s locked in a struggle between following his heart and his carnal desires, and doing what he thinks is best for his friendship with Dante.

And then, you know…the hot sex happens. 😉 *insert bow-chicka-bow-wows, here*

What I loved most was that underneath it all this is a really sweet love story. It’s set against a post-911 backdrop and the flashbacks of that horrendous day were carefully handled–dramatic, but not vulgar or insensitive. And while the sex was hot and filthy (in the good way) it was combined with a romance that was tender and touching and at times a little bit awkward as new relationships tend to be. There was also a lot of humor in such a serious story, not the least of which was more slang synonyms for male masturbation than you could, umm, shake your stick at. The obligatory happy ending was there in spades, and sets things up nicely for a sequel. The dislikes were so very minor–like the fact that I managed to notice enough references to plums and medium-rare steak that I may never manage a trip through the grocery store without naughty visions dancing in my head ever again.

Okay, maybe that’s not really such a bad thing either.

In addition, the story behind the story is pretty damn compelling all by itself. Damon tells all about how the idea for Hot Head came to be on Jadette Paige’s blog, here.

Finally, you can get to know more about the man himself by going to his web site or finding him on Facebook.
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Book Review! Another Enchanted April by Eric Arvin

So first, a caveat: I’m pretty sure I suck at book reviews. No, no, don’t go yet, sports fans! Practice makes perfect, right? And even if I suck at writing, I generally pick pretty good books. I mean, just look at that cover (sometimes you CAN judge a book by one, you know)! As my facebook buddy Jillian said, “I want to bite the tush.” *sigh* Truer words were never spoken. But since drool and teeth marks will void the warranty on your Kindle, I suggest actually reading this book. And of course, everything in here is my own personal opinion and nobody else’s, so if you don’t like it, please dial my customer service. So. Moving on…

Okay – I just love Eric Arvin. Not in the creepy stalker way, mind you (I don’t have the time or energy for such shenanigans *hides binoculars*), but aside from the fact that he is cute as a button, he has what I see as a truly unique writing style. I find it to be an interesting mix of elegance and quirky humor, he manages to slide in between deep point of view and something more like omniscient without bugging me in the slightest, and doesn’t mind poking fun at himself. Granted, I’m not the most well-read person on the planet, but I haven’t yet encountered another author who seems to write the way he does, and I find that to be refreshing and enjoyable.

So Another Enchanted April is about three friends who are all sort of stuck in their own ruts. Jerry is secretly in love with Doug, Doug is not so secretly in love with himself, and Tony is stuck in the kind of deep depression that comes from chronic pain and a broken body. The three decide to take a vacation in a small town at a stately B&B with the world’s most impressive garden (complete with terraces, hunky caretaker, magical enchantment, and a massive walk-in shower for parties).

Arvin has a gift for rich scene description and it comes in handy here, because without it the stateliness of the gardens or the B&B wouldn’t be able to come to life for the reader. As the three men are drawn into the magic of the garden, interesting things begin to happen: Tony starts to get brave, and to believe that he might be worthy of love after all. Jerry grows a backbone, and manages to take off the rose-colored glasses through which he’s been seeing his buddy. Doug manages NOT to get laid for a change, which causes him to do some deep thinking about himself (although he clings tenaciously to his self-absorbed partying ways). The emotional journey of each character is very relateable (if that’s even a word).

The supporting cast is fabulous as well, from the cook at the B&B who all but gives Doug a beat-down for hitting on her son to the poor bodybuilder who (bless his heart) hasn’t gotten laid in years because he passes out when he gets excited. Oh, yeah, and about the sex: since I write the erotic stuff, you might be expecting this to be a book full of sweaty manlove, but there is actually a lot more sweetness in the characters’ intimate interactions. Don’t let that deter you, there is still plenty of sizzle and heat, and I think the book is actually all the more enjoyable because a little is left to the imagination.

The story ends in such a way that I think Arvin could easily work in a sequel if he so chose, and I really hope he does. Even if he doesn’t, there’s enough to give the reader closure and draw their own conclusions.

So. Try it. You’ll like it. And check out Eric’s blog, which has more beefcake per square inch than you can shake a stick at. 😉