Dark Horse by Kate Sherwood

Dan Wheeler thought he’d found lasting love and stability with his life and work partner, Justin Archer. But when Dan finds himself alone again, still working as a horse trainer for Justin’s parents, he has to find a way to accept that his perfect life is gone forever.
Then he meets billionaire Evan Kaminski, who arrives to buy a horse for his younger sister, and Evan’s lover Jeff Stevens, a horse trainer who seems to understand more than just Dan’s job. Struggling to deal with all the upheavals in his life, Dan finds himself drawn to both Evan’s mercurial passion and Jeff’s quiet wisdom. Is Dan strong enough to take a chance on new love, or would it be better—safer—for him to be alone?
Synopsis via Dreamspinner Press.

3somes, horse riding and grief created an ecletic and intriguing mix that kept me reading till the wee small hours.

There’s loads of horse stuff for pony buffs (not in a gross way!), the author is incredibly knowledgeable and the world building is vivid and realistic. It all made me feel totally nostalgic for my own horse riding days. She nailed that early morning routine in a working stable and I enjoyed the depth of knowledge and feeling she has for it.

The book is written in 3rd person present tense, so this does take a little getting used to. It almost felt like watching a movie and at times Dan’s moving on from the death of his lover is incredibly sad, but this perspective allows for great reader intimacy.

The boys are also pretty progressive and work hard at having a meaningful polyamorous relationship. There is loads of introspective soul searching and navel gazing; as one does when you’re leaping into bed with two other chaps and heading for something long term!

This is not to say I didn’t have a few problems. Getting used to the narrative style was different, but it worked. The minutiae of Dan’s life does get a little heavy at times too and I think that some of this could have been a little leaner. I wanted them all to get in the sack quicker too. Impatient pants!

However, there’s loads of sexual tension, some nice teary moments and a really well fleshed out story that will keep you with your nose firmly in the book. I was pretty excited to see that there is a 2nd book coming out and that I’ll get to see how it all turns out. This was defnitely a story that needed another book to round it out.

Great reading. Check it out here.


Click on the pic to view more of this photographers work. Beautiful and beardy.

Below are a few links that I’ve come across that are kinda cool.

Two new review blogs, Three Dollar Bill Reviews and also MANtasticfiction. Have read a couple of reviews on both sites and it will be interesting to see how they turn out.

Man’s Adventure has really cool art and  I love his squared off style. Kinda funky.

Homocomix is one of my favorite follows on tumblr. He continually posts some srsly cool work.

On a more personal moany note, the kindle iPhone app blows goats. There is no page turning animation thing (the slidey transition makes my eyes sore) AND I do not like DRM ebooks. They suck. This was the only way I could read The Mane Squeeze however, so I am kinda stuck with it until someone sees some sense and I can get my ebooks via plain old pdf or epub. Amazon you suck big hairy goat balls. It takes all the fun of being able to put the book into a folder on my HD, label it and catalogue – a nerdy occupation to be sure. But srsly? It is these things that give me pleasure! This is not my only moan, the cost was ridiculous. As much as I love her work, I think I’ll get the pb next time. At least I’d be able to shelve that sucker.

I am almost out of good books to read. So suggest away PLEASE!!!! I am bidding on an auction for The Catch Trap, but that will mean it is still a week or so away. Plus it looks like some new digital comics are coming soon, but I need some good reads now!! The plumbing of the characters is not important, good writing is essential!

Best contemporaries from 2009

Contemporary ebooks are my main squeeze. I love books that will make me laugh and give me that big sigh of satisfaction at the end. Sometimes a hint of angst is nice and I love a broody hero. While there are many established authors in this group, it is great to see some incredibly cool new talent coming through. 🙂

Below are my favorites from 2009, click on the covers for more information.

Best historicals from 2009

Many historical romances caught my eye in 2009 and some have been brilliant reads. I think it’s a difficult genre to do well, with some struggling to find that all to important believability factor which I find essential in making a book memorable and entertaining!

Below are my favorites from 2009, click on the covers for more information.

Interview – Eric Arvin.

subEric Arvin writes books that are engaging, thought provoking and sexy. I first came across his work in the anthology Mr Right Now with a story about a young man, Deacon, flying to Australia and struggling with his fear of the unknown and the thought of lost opportunities. It was sweet and I loved his internal struggle and fear of taking a chance.

I am a slavish follower of his blog Daventry Blue and was pretty excited when I saw that SubSurdity was soon to be re-released alongside his new novel Suburbilicious. Eric has kindly let me ask him a gazzilion few questions about writing and I hope you enjoy reading his replies as much as I did.

Would you care to share a few things about yourself? Favorite place, shoes, music, t-shirt..?

Let’s see. Favorites stay pretty constant with me. I’m very loyal. My favorite place on earth might be Lucca, Italy. I’ve only been there once, but I fell in love with the charm of the place. I’ve never been a big fan of shoes, so I’ve not spent much money on a pair. My favorite song is “Boots of Spanish Leather” by Martin Simpson. It’s a Bob Dylan cover, but one hell of a heartbreaker. My favorite song-writers are Aimee Mann and Mary Chapin Carpenter.

eric arvinWhat made your start writing?

I always knew I was going to be a writer, even as a wee lil’ thing. I just didn’t get the push I needed to actually go for the dream until I got sick in 2003. I had a lot of time on my hands and put it to use. I went through my old outlines and made something from them.

You’ve mentioned you were seriously ill, how did it happen and what effects has it had on your life and writing?

Well, I have a genetic condition called cavernous himangiomas – basically a cluster of blood vessels were wrapped around my medulla and had begun strangling it. My father had himangiomas as well, though elsewhere in the brain. I did not know I was afflicted with the condition until I took a fall a few years ago. I was pushed against the corner of a brick wall and the doctors think that may have caused the himangioma to act up. I’ve had most of it removed and the rehab is on-going.

It’s had a huge impact on all aspects of my life. The condition brings on imbalance and vertigo so crowded places are avoided. As far as my writing goes, it’s caused me to be much more empathetic with my characters. I find that I can delve deeper into their souls. My experience with the illness has shown up in bits and pieces in much of my writing. Actually, I would say all of my writing carries a scrap of my struggle. There’s always one character I identify with more than the others.

sub2What sets your writing apart?

I think what I’ve been through – my brain surgery and the struggles thereafter – have lent themselves to my writing well. I’m not afraid to be completely and painfully honest in my writing now. The great writer James Purdy said that when you write you should banish shame. Many of the stories I write about – the humiliations and losses – come from my own experience. Of course, the telling of those experiences changes according to what genre of literature I’m focusing on, whether it be comedy like SUBSURDITY or a more dramatic novel like THE REST IS ILLUSION. With books like ILLUSION I found, too, that the illness helped me instill my own spirituality in the pages. I’ve always been a mystical thinker.

rest is illusionIs there a piece of work you feel especially proud of?

I’m proud of THE REST IS ILLUSION because it was the first one published. Each published project after has its own special place in my heart as well. But if I had to choose, there is a 200,000 word epic I’ve sent to a publisher and I am waiting to hear back. Sometimes I read through it and I can’t believe it came out of me.

What sort of characters and settings are you drawn to writing about?

I’m drawn to the deeply scarred individuals. The ones who are struggling to lift themselves up out of something. The triumph of the story, of how they eventually find hope again through a personal journey, is appealing and familiar to me. Even my comedies like SUBSURDITY have this type of characters: Rick would be a prime example. Here’s a guy who’s had a rotten life, even losing an eye, but in the end he finds the love of his life and learns that he deserves to be happy.

2821_92056700567_610720567_2803913_2780772_nWhat sort of process do you go through when you’re working?

It starts with a simple idea or inspiration – a song lyric, a dream. Then, before I even begin an outline, I like to have a basic ending. I like to know where it is I’m going. The fun of writing for me is the getting there. How am I going to make all these pieces converge at the end. How will the ending change before I get there. It’s interesting to look back at my outlines and see who and what has changed from version to version. The editing process is a growing season.

eric arvin3
What are your thoughts on sensuality and/or versus sexuality in writing?

When writing a sensual scene or character I definitely impose my own ideas about what’s sexy on the character. A finger’s brush of the lip, a tug on the ear – those little things are sexy to me. Sensuality is all about “want”. I try to convey a feeling of desire, like humidity in the air.

I think people are more comfortable with expressing sexual desire more openly now. That’s a good thing. But as a writer, you have to understand that this also means the reader wants more than just pedestrian sex scenes in books now. Bring on the cock rings!…or maybe not?

How hard is it to write sex? Making it hot and sexy without it coming off as cheesy?

Sex, I just go nuts with. I just let it all out when I write a sex scene. There’s no point in writing one if you can’t bring something different to the table. Banish your personal shames and hangups, right? You’ve got to get rid of those embarrassing phrases like “heaving bosoms”, etc., and write how you would talk if you were in the situation…Unless it’s parody. Archaic phrases can work wonders in parody.

mr right nowI’m always impressed with what you’ve read and mention on your blog. Do you have a few favorite books or comics?

Oodles of them. For the most part I’m drawn to the epics and the heartbreakers, like Jamie O’Neill’s At Swim Two Boys, Maria McCann’s As Meat Loves Salt, Knowles’ A Separate Peace, or Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. But I also enjoy books that twist the norms a bit, like Goeff Ryman’s Lust: Or No Harm Done, Jeannette Winterson’s The Passion and anything by James Purdy. I’m not too terribly familiar with mainstream comics, even though I have written one (The Blackbeard Legacy). I do like Patrick Fillion’s worth, though – the naughty prince!

eric arvin 1I really like your new HvH cover, his work is super cool. Do you have any favorite artists and what is it that you like about their work?

Thanks! HvH is marvelous. We’ve done quite a few projects together. I think it’s my longest collaborative relationship. His work, as sweet and sexy as it is, also has a menacing undercurrent which I think matches the Jasper Lane books very well. The idea of everything looking perfect on the surface, but underneath there’s some nastiness. Absolutbleu is another artist I’ve recently worked with. His stuff is much more innocent looking and he perfectly matches the Disney-Goes-Porno feel I was going for in the Kid Christmas stories.

More traditionally, I enjoy the sculptor Bernini’s work. His David, in the process of flinging the pebble at Goliath, enthralls me. The movement created is just astounding.

kid chirstmasWhat are you working on at the moment?

A lot. I’m getting the sequel to SUBSURDITY, titled SUBURBILICIOUS, ready for publication this fall, as well as working on the preliminary outline for the third in the series; Working on a graphic novel with HvH and writer Adam Gragg called Shadrack Island; Trying to find an ending for the Kid Christmas stories; Working on a manuscript called HOWLERS; And a bushel of short stories I hope to put into a collection. I also have four other manuscripts with various publishers. The Law of Averages says at least ONE of them has to get picked up, right?

Finally, because I just had to ask, what’s the criteria for Hot Shots?

For the Hot Shots, I look for pics that are different. There has to be something about them that strikes me and that I have never seen before, be that in the model’s pose, the costume, lighting, etc. But, admittedly, I also am a sucker for T&A. A guy with huge pecs (not flexing) might make it, but the big draw is what I believe in scientific circles is referred to as a ‘badonkadonk.’ 😉

slight details and random eventsThank you so much Eric for taking the time to answer my multitude of questions. You’re very kind to take the time and I cannot wait to see SUBURBILICIOUS.

Keep an eye out on the 20th for the re release of Subsurdity and to check out more of Eric’s work, go here to Amazon, Dreamspinner Press and you can buy direct from his very cool blog Daventry Blue. A warning, it’s a little addictive!

Dear Bookseller…

I saw the Expresso Book Machine in a news article here the other week on local news. I was pretty excited that with local media actually talking about electronic publishing, eReaders and the like, that we may actually see a real example in NZ. And, god forbid, taking ePublishing to its next iteration with the introduction of print on demand. The future (it’s not all just sheep doing the haka here).

Picture 1Living at the bottom of the world is certainly beautiful, but getting paperbacks and comics here for a reasonable price can be a bit of a joke. Because of transportation costs the lines carried here are a lot smaller than the US, UK and Australia. For goodnessake, we only got Charlaine Harris and Laurell. K Hamilton into shops here in the last 3-4 years! Before that most of what I’ve picked up has been imported from the US through Amazon. Incredibly costly I can assure you!! (see picture above O-o) Having the Expresso with access to a wide variety of publisher catalogues would be magic. And, of course a pricing structure that reflects the reduced cost of not having to import physical stock and keep books on shelves. Or maybe a price per page, so you pay based on manufacturing cost. I am getting just a bit excited just thinking about it. :p

Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate having eBooks and eComics more readily available now, but sometimes it is just nice to have a paperback and it also appeals to my bookshelf fetish. I like to see books on my shelves, especially those special ones that I re read. And,  I have GOOD shelves! Shelf porn. merow.

I think despite the problems facing some publishers, now is an incredibly exciting time for readers due to the technology that is maturing and becoming available with regards eBooks, eReaders and this wee gem of a POD machine. WANT NOW PLEASE!

Some other articles of note –
The Revolution Was Digitized. Teddy Pig.
All the world’s books to go online. Telegraph UK.
The book as work of art. Telegraph UK.
Book Fair Buzz Is Not Contained Between 2 Covers. NY Times.
AND my favorite link this week, Red-Hot and Filthy Library Smut. Rowrr.

Free Christmas Goodness.

gaychristmaskissI am a total geek for ebooks and have brought very few paperbacks this year at all. Now I just need an ereader, as my laptop is not the greatest reading device!

I have discovered some fantastic authors during 2007 and 2008 and to get in the Christmas spirit I am going to start this post off with links to free online stories, comics and art galleries to check out. 

So, if you’re strapped for cash and don’t want to spend your pennies on an author you’ve not read before, then try some free reads first. 

If you’re an author and have free stuff, then email me at rainonroof at gmail.com and I’ll add the links onto this post right up till the new year.

So, check back for more goodness and links!

my-fair-captain-jl-langleyThe one you MUST download is the 1st half of My Fair Captain. Incredibly hot and a guaranteed good read. Check out the free link here, make sure you scroll down.
Ally Blue – Hard Candy. Free pdf short story.
Ally Blue – Bo’s Halloween Treat. Online read.
Ally Blue – A Fireworks Fantasy. Online read.
Maia Strong – Wandering Home. Free pdf short story.
Matthew Haldeman-Time – Guys in College. Free pdf short stories. 
K.A. Mitchell – Prequel to Collision Course. Online read. 
K.A. Mitchell – Prequel to Regularly Scheduled Life. Online read.
K.A. Mitchell – More, prequel to Regularly Scheduled Life. Online read. 
JL Langley – A Regelence Christmas. Online read.
JL Langley – A Lot To Be Thankful For. Online read.

James Buchanan – 9 free stories to download.
Jet Mykles – Skirt. Online read.
Jet Mykles – Holiday nerves. Online read
Alex Beecroft – Insubordination. Free pdf short story. 
Willa Okat – Is This Seat Taken? Online read.
Maura Anderson – Bonds of Steel. Online read.  
Jourdan Lane – Various free reads. Online read. 
Amanda Young – Various free reads. Online read. 
Ginn Hale – Shy Hunter. Free pdf short story. 

Added story links.
Amy Lane – go to Amy’s writing and check out Yearning and Waiting, menu on left of blog. Online read. Thanks Lee!
Helen Madden – free online podcast, erotic flash fiction. All in mp3 format and a weekly podcast.
The Lovers Grim
– The Undiscovered Country
– The Unicorn and the Knight
Maura Anderson – prequels and flash fiction. Online read.
Jet Mykles – Wanna watch. Online read.
Jessica Freely – Free fiction. Online read
James Buchanan – link from blog post to PDF and other authors blog goodies.
Jules Jones – has added her whole series of ebooks called The Syndicate via her site. Woot! 

Online comics and art.
PL Nunn – Art Gallery Online. Much smex. Check out Clex and Silver. Merow!
Tina Anderson and MT Copyright – Whore of Turfan. Online comic.
Patrick Fillion – sexy boytoons and other works, beautiful art and clever he is!
Joe Phillips – gallery of gorgeous work.
Brian Andersen – preview pages of So Super Duper.
Steve MacIsaac – first 10 pages of Shirtlifter #3

Added art links.
Helen Madden – gallery, online and stick figure porn. hehe. 

The two comic pics above are both Joe Phillips work. Gorgeous!  

Sunday afternoon trawl on ebooks and nom de porn.

Whilst trawling through blogland I came across a really interesting article on ebook publishing here. One would think that publishers would be interested in ebooks and embrace not only the ebook but the paraphernalia that will go with it, perhaps not?

I am not sure format is such a bit deal either, pdf, lit or whatever, what is the problem? Maybe I am over simplifying but we’re already buying books that are different sizes and I don’t put on a new pair of hands when I read different sized books.  When reading an ebook at the moment I always read in pdf on my mac laptop. It is bulky but I like to surf the net as I read… I think I have the attention span of a gnat!

I’d like to get an ebook reader at some point but want to sit back for another year or so and see what comes out to face off against the kindle (are you listening Steve?). There is an interesting rumor and apple and ebook readers here.

My favorite trawl find today was an article here by Rupert Smith, whose nom de plume, or nom de porn as he puts it, is James Lear. I am rather looking forward to getting my book by him! He also wrote a piece here at Lust Bites. This one made me laugh at the description of a woman in the gay section of a bookshop, I thought it sounded just like me! Found the links originally from ManLove Ebooks

After my undie shopping trip on Friday I noticed this link, The Panty Parade(The line – Scary stomach-holding-in panties. Very popular with grannies the world over is running through my head). I also liked here, here and the last one here is for rugby player aficionados. As it so happens he is from a wee place down unda. 

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