Monday, November 30, 2015

Blog tour - A Cook's Tale by Mann Ramblings



I wish I was a better cook. This is not to say I'm at a loss in the kitchen. I love to cook. I'm actually halfway decent at it. I love watching Food TV and if I had the time, I'd be trying my hand at dinner parties that would make you cry.

However, I don't get to cook really cool meals as often as I'd like. The hubby takes offense at the eventual mess made because I don't clean as I go and his practicality loves meals that can be made in a single pan. (I rarely do the dishes, so his stance is not groundless.) Hubby likes my cooking, but it content with simpler meals. The artist in me sometimes rages at that. LOL

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by choosing to focus on the cook and chef of The Santa Claus in A Cook's Tale. In a military setting, the chow line is either seen as something to look forward to, or something to endure. With the crew living on board, I saw the mess hall as being the center of their lives and pictured Captain Danverse employing a kitchen staff to reward the crew for their work. On this ship, work, food, and sex are the staples of life.

Gamin makes an appearance in Book One – The Luxorian Fugitive. Even there, he serves meals with a maternal/paternal hand, taking care of the crew. In A Cook's Tale, his role is no different. The crew see him as a father figure of sorts. Not as a leader, like Captain Danverse, but as the one who feeds them and make their lives worthy of the sacrifices they've made in their lives to live in space.

I always intended for Gamin to be a key player in the second book, and the best way to keep on screen was to bring in a new crew member who would be interacting with him daily. Namely, a new cook, his long lost surrogate child, Erron. But Erron's all grown up now, and definitely not a child anymore.

As the new boy in town, the story may be Erron's, but Gamin isn't far behind.


A COOK'S TALE
Book Two: Ship Logs of the Santa Claus

by Mann Ramblings


M/M Sci-fi Romance by Wayward Ink Publishing

Giveaway for Book One – The Luxorian Fugitive below!

Buy Links:








Blurb:

The trials and tribulations of the crew and passengers of interplanetary transport vessel, The Santa Claus continues in A Cook’s Tale.

After a horrific breakup, Erron Murfin is bitter, homeless, and friendless. When the cook’s position on the Santa Claus presents itself, Erron decides to escape his current circumstances and join the crew. On board he reconnects with family friend Gamin Wells, whose own secrets and issues begin to surface upon Erron's arrival. The least of which is the reason the pair haven't laid eyes on one another in over twelve years.

As Erron settles into his new duties, the men on board take an interest in their newest crew member. Among those intrigued by Erron are polyamorous couple, Barrus and James. Despite Erron's cautious nature, he’s drawn into a triad relationship with the pair.

But there’s something about Gamin…

Is Erron too damaged to confront his own feelings?

Will his past prevent him from finding what he needs?

Excerpt:

Beta Deck was situated like a large dormitory. All the rooms ran in a loop with a central facility containing a gymnasium, lockers, lavatories, and shower room. On a non-hetero vessel, the layout was dubious to say the least.

Since the majority of the crew was off-ship, Erron felt bold enough to enter the locker room. In his quarters, he'd stalled for a bit, deciding how to proceed. What was considered normal on the Santa Claus? Did the men walk around half-dressed? Less than half? There were a lot of factors in fitting into an established community. Towel over his shoulder, he stepped through the doorway into the locker room. The gymnasium could be seen down one end and the shower room was visible down the other. He wondered what it would be like with a dozen men all stripping down and showering together in one room together. The likelihood for something tawdry to happen seemed high.

Gamin's clothes lay over the bench and the sound of water running told Erron the chef beat him here. Not surprising really, Gamin had been on the ship for years, this was his home, and Erron hoped he'd soon feel the same.

Stripping off, Erron dropped his garments in the same fashion as Gamin. Peeling off his briefs, he felt a sudden surge of awkwardness. He was about to get in the shower with Gamin. The nervous giggle tried to rip out of his mouth, so he choked it down. He was being childish.

“Took you long enough.” Gamin said. The chef hadn't looked in Erron's direction as he held his head under the spray.

“I had to find my towel.”

Erron hung his towel on the hook near the doorway, and selected a shower with a buffer of one nozzle between them. The control panel beeped as Erron touched it, but nothing happened. Over and over, he touched the pad only to be mocked by the same tone.

“It's voice activated,” Gamin said, barely looking over his shoulder. “Just tell it the temperature you want.” Erron's face heated up; he couldn't bring himself to admit he couldn't muster the nerve to use the shower last night after they turned in. The ship was too quiet, and too new.

Ducking his head slightly, Erron leaned forward and spoke to the black panel. “Forty- two degrees Celsius.” A torrent of heated water rushed over Erron, the delicious heat the first step in washing away what felt like months of grime and sad reminders of his derailed life. The cheap inns he'd been forced to rent after being evicted had lousy facilities. This... this was a small piece of chocolate decadence.

“Like your showers pretty hot?” Gamin continued to face the wall as he soaked himself.

Erron angled his hips, keeping his privates out of view. “I'd forgotten how nice it feels.”

For the first time he could remember, Erron felt self-conscious. The fitness membership expired shortly after the breakup, but Erron hadn't lost too much tone. He'd never be large and imposing, his frame didn't allow it. A lean body and smooth skin could still turn heads. The treatment responsible for his hair growing in green made all the rest on his body the same color. Jade colored hair on his arms and legs was too odd and a green pubic zone made him feel like a perverted clown, so it had to go. There was nothing wrong with him, but why he felt the need to hide himself, he couldn't say. He certainly never acted this shy in front of the troops during the war. It was more than a bit hypocritical when he peered over his shoulder at his showering partner.

Tall and thick, with coarse hair on his arms and legs, Gamin's size and sturdiness were a stark contrast to Erron's smaller stature. Wisps of fur reached around the sides of the chef's rounded belly that matched the meaty globes of his behind. Everything about Gamin was solid and manly. The peppering of gray on his head and beard fit him as well.

It was true, he probably shouldn't be looking, but Erron had never seen Gamin this way in all these years. Not even shirtless at the park when he was growing up. From what he could see, the view wasn't half bad; Gamin had nothing to be ashamed of. What he did notice was how deliberate Gamin was being at not looking at him.

“You're a lot bigger than I remembered.” Erron couldn't help watching Gamin soap his body while continuing to face the wall. It had been a long time since he'd had any opportunity to be with a man. While it wasn't his plan to be with Gamin, as long as he didn't turn around, Erron could enjoy the show. He prayed Gamin wouldn't turn around. That would be mortifying.

“Yeah well, I've had time to eat a few good meals.”

“It looks good on you.”

Gamin chuckled as lines of lazy suds followed the contours of his back and between the crevice of his haunches. “Thanks. You've changed a lot over the years too.”

“I'm not a kid anymore.”

“No. No, you're not,” Gamin said, drenching his head under the spray.


Giveaway:
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About the Author:

Like many gay men, when MANN RAMBLINGS grew up, there weren't any heroes he could relate to. The world held him back while he tried futilely to hide the real person inside. So much has changed since those hollow days. He finally found his voice, the voice that says it’s all right to revel in the so-called inappropriate joys, laughs, and loves that storm inside a man's head. It took a long time to find that courage and now that it's here, he plans to use it well.

While spending years more focused on visual arts, he never let go of his innate passion for storytelling—he wanted to write and draw comic books when he grew up. Once he discovered M/M fiction, a whole new world opened with new possibilities. Why couldn't you have fantastic and dynamic tales with an M/M cast? He started reading the online tales of authors like, Night Tempest, Rob Colton, and Alicia Nordwell, which only fueled within him the need to create. Eventually he found GayAuthors.org, and with a little coercive nudge from Night Tempest, started sharing his tales with an unexpected level of positive response. That experience and support gave him the courage to cross his fingers and aim for the world of M/M publishing.

Born and raised in Michigan, Mann Ramblings continues to type away, wishing it was practical to use a noisy, old fashioned keyboard that clacks with each strike, if only to annoy his loving partner and spoiled miniature dachshund.

MANN RAMBLINGS can be found at:
      Blog: http://mannramblingsblog.wordpress.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mannramblings
Twitter: @mannramblings

Friday, November 27, 2015

Rayne's Temptation by TC Collins



Today, I had an interview with Rayne Thurston. Before we even began the interview, I knew the short snot would be trouble. Not only was Rayne late to the meeting at a local cafĂ©, but the little brat didn’t even have the grace to look ashamed. The only thing he said by way of apology was that he was ‘tied up’ at work. After glaring at each other for about five minutes, we both gave in and called the silent battle a draw. Stubborn man.

Me: So Rayne, tell us a little about yourself.
Rayne: Well, what do you want to know? You have to be specific, otherwise, I won’t know what you really want to know.
Me: *sigh* Where are you from? Where do you work? Do you like working there?
Rayne: Rayne waved his hand in dismissal. “Oh, I like my job just fine. Especially a certain CEO.” Rayne then licked his lips in a decidedly erotic fashion.
Me: Are you having a forbidden office romance?
Rayne: Well, I wouldn’t necessarily call it forbidden. But the sex is so out of this world that it may be forbidden in some countries.
Me: Rayne, do you really want me to quote you on that?
Rayne: Sure, I don’t see why not.
Rayne then glances at his watch and declares that time is up and he is needed back at work.
Me: Wait! We just sat down and I haven’t gotten to the important questions.
Rayne: Of course you did and I told you the sex was out of this world. That’s all you really need to know.
Rayne then grabs his latte and walks away without a backward glance. I shake my head, torn between anger and amusement. Rayne really is a stubborn man.

Rayne’s Temptation
By TC Collins

Blurb
Rayne Thurston has just gotten out of an abusive relationship and the only thing he wants to do is live a peaceful life. Rayne’s new job is anything but peaceful. Rayne’s boss, Colin Edwards is always on his case and to top it off, Rayne finds himself attracted to the powerful man. As the two fight the attraction between them, danger stalks Rayne. Will the two be able to overcome their differences to find their HEA?

Excerpt
“Rayne, in my office…now!” A deep booming voice roared from inside the large spacious office in front of his cubicle.
Rayne Thurston jumped and glanced around, embarrassed as his coworkers murmured among themselves, sending him pitying glances. Rayne sighed. He’d only been working here a week and was trying to learn the ropes. It seemed Mr. Colin Edwards—the booming voice from earlier—was determined to harass him. He’d done nothing wrong, but felt the man was always bullying him. Colin reminded him a lot of his ex, Malcolm. Both men liked to yell.
Squaring his shoulders and shoving his fear so deep inside that the ravenous beast currently pacing his office couldn’t sense it, Rayne walked to the ebony door with the nameplate, “Colin Edwards, CEO,” and knocked.
“What the hell are you knocking for? Come in!”
Rayne stepped into the office. “You bellowed?”
Sharp, jade eyes assessed Rayne. He resisted the urge to squirm and somehow managed to keep his head up. He was not attracted to that sharp gaze. Yeah, keep telling yourself that, and maybe one day you will believe it. Rayne rolled his eyes at his thoughts. 
“What is this?” A file was thrown across the large mahogany desk and slid to the edge facing him. Rayne glanced down but didn’t move from his spot.
“I wouldn’t know, sir.” Rayne kept his tone monotonous, doing his best to suppress the desire he was feeling. Why wasn’t he afraid of the man? And why did it turn him on when Colin used that commanding voice on him?
Pick up your copy here:

Bio
I write erotic fiction which usually has a paranormal twist. I am a firm believer in happily ever after, so though I may torture my characters upon occasion, they will always get their HEA. I live in the southeastern region and can usually be found sipping a cup of white chocolate mocha.

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Blog tour: Promises by A. E. Via

Title: Promises
Series: Bounty Hunters #1
Author: A.E. Via
Genre: M/M Romance
Published: October 17, 2015
Duke Morgan owns and operates one of the largest bail bond companies in Atlanta. Not only does he bond criminals out of jail, he and his notorious group of bounty hunters will also track them down and ensure they show up for court. Roman ‘Quick’ Webb is Duke’s business partner and best friend. Both men are in their forties and have given up on the happily ever after with the ranch-style home, and white picket fence. They’d both tried it and failed miserably. But they have their friendship and they have the business. When Quick’s son, Vaughan Webb returns – after seven years - from studying abroad with his law degree in hand, he’s back to claim what he’s always wanted…his fathers’ best friend… Duke Morgan. Vaughan has always claimed to be a classic gentleman with an old soul. He didn’t party and screw up in school like his buddies. He was focused and dedicated to becoming the man worthy of Duke’s love. It’s a complex and messy situation as Duke and Quick figure out how to still be best friends when one of them is sleeping with his friend’s one and only son. But when Duke is hurt on the job, all the unimportant trivialities fall to the wayside and Vaughan and Quick put their heads together to save Duke. Part I of the Promises story is about Duke and Vaughan. Part II will be about Quick and his realization that it’s not too late for any of them to find love.
“This is a must read, a must have and an amazing start to a new series! This author will always and forever have me as a fan and a supporter she is my go to and I will sing her book writing poweress to any and all who love the M/M fiction.” ~ ★ ★ ★★ ★ Amazon Reviewer
"When I saw this was part 1 my heart sank but it’s all good! This is Vaughan and Duke’s story and it will leave you more than satisfied whilst you wait for part 2 which will be Quick’s story and hopefully involve Cayson.” ~★ ★ ★★ ★ Prism Book Alliance
“Love Duke and Vaughan. Nice start to a new series. Can't wait for the next book to come out. Love A.E. Via books.” ~ ★ ★ ★★ ★ Goodreads Reviewer

A.E. Via is still a fairly new author in the beautiful gay erotic genre. Her writing embodies everything from spicy to scandalous. Her stories often include intriguing edges and twists that take readers to new, thought-provoking depths.

When she’s not clicking away at her laptop, she devotes herself to her family—a husband and four children, her two pets, a Maltese dog and her white Siamese cat, ELynn, named after the late, great gay romance author E. Lynn Harris.
While this is only her eighth novel, she has plenty more to come. So stalk her – she loves that - because the male on male action is just heating up!
Go to A.E. Via’s official website http://authoraevia.com for more detailed information on how to contact her, follow her, or a sneak peak on upcoming work, free reads, and where she’ll appear next.

HOSTED BY:

 I haven't found a word yet that would describe this story. Engrossing, compelling, addicting - all of these fall short of what I can only describe as a best-seller in the making.

Through incredible writing, the author pulls the reader into the story,  enticing thoughts and emotions like no other. I truly believe that Promises rates right up there with the best crime drama on television today, whether it be NCIS, CSI, Criminal Minds or any derivative therein.

The author promises a sequel, and I hope it comes soon.

Even if you only read one book a year Promises needs to be that one book.

I can't rate it high enough on the 1-5 scale, so I'm going to settle for a 5. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Blog tour: The Cowboy in Unit E

Title: The Cowboy In Unit E
Series: A Mockingbird Place Novel
Author: Kris Cook
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: November 17, 2015

The good news is the most gorgeous cowboy I've ever seen is moving in next door to me. The bad news? He's not alone. Hanging on his arm is a very pregnant woman. Are they a couple? It sure looks like they are. So not only is he not gay, but he also has a girlfriend, or a wife, or whatever. Just my luck.

**** 
21-year old Trace Cotton is an artist who never shows his paintings to anyone. When cowboy Luke Wagner moves into Mockingbird Place with a very pregnant Ava, Trace believes he must fight his attraction to Luke since he’s taken. 
When Ava collapses outside Trace’s apartment, he comes to her rescue. Things aren’t what they seem on the surface, but when Trace finds out the truth will it be too late for a chance at something real with Luke? 
Warning: contains hot showers with singing, two sexy men kissing, and sexual situations taking place in a 10-unit Mediterranean complex filled with college-aged hotties.

“Yes, I recommend the series. Smokin' hot and smart men who are not afraid to expose their feelings or get in touch with their emotional side. Well done, again, Mr. Cook! I look forward to the next book - impatiently!“  ~4 Star Review from Happily Ever Chapter
I stand by my front window, where the light is best this time of day, gazing at the white void, praying for inspiration. The blank canvas taunts me. Where to begin? It’s always like this when I start a new painting. It has to mean something. I need feeling and life. Right now, all I have is emptiness.

My roommate and best friend, Jackson, always teases me about my process—or in his words my “idiosyncrasies.” My last painting took me over a month to complete, but the first ten days was like this one, staring at the canvas before I pressed a brush filled with paint to its surface.

Out of the corner of my eye, through the window, I see one of my new neighbors walking up the sidewalk. Ava Stone is pregnant and is carrying a big box. In her current condition I wonder if she should be lifting heavy things.

She and her good-looking cowboy, Luke Wagner, are moving into the apartment next to Jackson’s and mine—Unit E. That leaves Oliver’s old apartment, Unit F, as the only vacancy at Mockingbird Place. I met the couple at the complex’s yard sale when they were taking a look at the apartment. They were living in a motel so that Ava could start her classes at the university on time until they could find a place to rent. Ava and Luke’s new home had been empty for quite some time. Until now. I’m glad it’s finally going to be occupied and hope the new couple will be good neighbors. And most of all I have to stop thinking about one of them.

I’ve never been attracted to cowboys before, but there is something about Luke that I can’t quite seem to shake. But I need to. He’s obviously taken and straight.

When Ava smiles at me as she turns to go into her apartment, I wave.

Glancing back at my canvas, I feel so frustrated. I’m no closer to an idea than before. Why do I do this to myself? No one will ever see this work when it’s completed. This painting is for my eyes only now that Malcolm is gone. He was the only one I was ever comfortable sharing my work with. He got it. He knew what I was trying to say with each piece.

Like everyone else at Mockingbird Place, I thought he would live forever, even though he was eighty-two when he died. In June, we had his memorial in the courtyard and planted a tree in his honor near the pool.

I see Ava heading back to the parking lot and wonder how many more boxes she and her boyfriend have to unload. I decide to finish my coffee before I put my brushes away and help them.

I step back from the blank canvas. Should I paint another portrait of Malcolm? No. I just can’t bring myself to paint him again. It hurts too much. I need more time. Right now, I could use an idea for this canvas, but I’m at a total loss. Damn it.

My art continues to be therapeutic for me. When I was twelve years old my counselor suggested art therapy and I found my passion. I can place myself inside my paintings, feeling the breeze on my skin or hearing the crashing of the waves on the shore. I’m there and I don’t feel the pain. Still, my paintings allow me to gaze into the darkness of my past. They also help me release the tension and anxiety.

Actually, I wish all of my paintings could remain private. Each is so personal and carries its own meaning. Whenever anyone looks at my paintings I feel exposed and vulnerable. Dirty. I wonder if people can see my younger self weeping from the despair in my brush strokes. I definitely can, no matter the composition I’ve created, whether beach or mountain scene, whether wild animal or newborn baby, whether impressionistic or realistic. Each painting carries drops of the pain from my past.

Two of my pieces were on display for my professors to judge. I wonder if it was worth the As I got on both, because it nearly wrecked me until I was able to take them back to my storage unit. That’s where I keep my completed paintings.

This semester is so much better than last. I have a fantastic schedule and only have to be on campus two days a week. The rest of the week is mine. All mine. And the classes that I am taking don’t require students to create and present a work of art, unlike last semester.

As I put my empty cup down, I see Ava collapse and the box she was carrying crash to the ground.

A blast of electricity shoots through my body, and I toss my brushes aside and rush out my door.

“Ava. Ava.” I lift her head off the ground and start shouting for her boyfriend. “Luke. Get out here. Ava has passed out.” Where the hell is he?

Her eyes open. “What happened?”

“You passed out and fell,” I tell her.

“Oh no.” Ava rubs her hands over her belly. “Thank God, I just felt a kick. I think the baby is fine.”

Kick or not, I know she needs to see a doctor. “Where’s Luke?”

Before she can answer, I see him running up the sidewalk.

He kneels down next to me and shoves a sack in my chest. “My God, Ava, what happened?” he asks in his thick West Texas accent. “Are you okay?”

Though starting in straight erotic romance, Kris's total focus now is on gay romance. When asked why recently, his answer was "My muse finally came out of the closet. Isn't it about time? I’ve been out since I was twenty-five." A voracious reader, Kris loves many genres of fiction, but this writer's favorite books are romances that are edgy, sexy, with rich characters and unique challenges. Kris' influences include Anne Rice, JR Ward, Lexi Blake and Shayla Black. Last year, Kris married the love of his life Stephen.
 

HOSTED BY:
 
 

The Cowboy in Unit E has the same realistic, complex, multi-layered characters we met in The Marine In Unit A, plus 2 new characters taking up residence in Mockingbird Place.

Readers are introduced to the very pregnant Eva Stone and the hunky cowboy Luke Wagner, who immediately catches the eye of resident artist Trace Cotton.

Even though signals coming off Luke are quite clear, tortured sole Trace is convinced of Luke's heterosexuality because of Anna.

How many times have people, both gay and straight been in this same situation? I know I have more than once. Clear cut signals can sometimes be easily misinterpreted. What am I talking about? Read The Cowboy In Unit E to find out.

The story is not without near tragedy and angst. The way that the residents of Mockingbird Place rally around and support Trace, Eva and Luke is exactly the way everyone should help out their neighbors.  Humanity at it's finest.

The question remains, is Luke straight or gay? The residents work to find out, and if he is, can Trace catch his interest? The author makes this happen without the appearance of the residents butting into the private lives of Trace, Anna and Luke, with unexpected results.

The way the author accomplishes this plot point the same way as he handles the rest of the story, pulling the readers in without excess wording or hyperbole, and those who know me personally know the word hyperbole is generally not in my vocabulary, but it's definitely called for here.

As I have stated previously, Mockingbird Place, with it's awesome, close-knit, and welcoming family of residents, is a place I would definitely love to live in. Everyone looks out for each other, even through tragedy.

All of the characters combine to create an engrossing page-turner.

The Cowboy in Unit E contains story arcs that are realistic, almost if they'd been taken from news headlines. It's more about life outside the bedroom. If you're looking for a book with lots of explicit sex scenes you are in for a disappointment. Instead it's all about dealing with whatever life throws at you, especially with the support of friends and family.

I really like the fact that you don't have to read The Marine in Unit A to understand what's happening in The Cowboy in Unit E. To me, those are the best kind of sequels.

The ending even hints at a possible third Mockingbird Place novel, possibly titled The ? in Unit ? (no, I don't know anything for sure. This is mere supposition (again, a word I never use) on my part.

The promotional group I blog for gives us a scale of 1 to 5 upon which to rate the pre-release books we review. If I could, I'd give this book a 100, but I have to settle for a 5.

This is clearly one of the finest pieces of literature I've ever had the pleasure to read. I will most definitely be reading it , and The Marine in Unit A again.

Bottom line:  read it!











 

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