With Love by J. L. Langley.

withlove-jl-lanleyAll Devlin wants to do is find a good new home for his business and his pack. He’s not looking for any complications, but he finds something he never expected – a mate. A mate with a whole lot of energy who attracts trouble like a magnet.

Laine Campbell never means to get himself into hot water, but everything has a way of getting tangled up between his feet. He needs more than just a mate – he needs a savior.

This came out a wee while ago now, but it’s a book I’ve re read several times. The writing is fast paced, sexy and I liked the character of Laine tremendously. I was also rather partial to Devlin who was more of a buff, builder type and quite forbearing with Laine’s knack for getting into mischief.  

What I enjoyed most about the book was Laine’s fearless nature and willingness to stand by his man in spite of his lack of size or ability in a fight. He had a sweetness about him as well that I got a kick out of. Devlin is confident and comfortable being in charge, but helplessly enthralled with Laine. The two discover they’re mates pretty much from the get go, so the focus was more on their developing relationship, than the will they won’t they.

The story, while short, shows how good world building makes a story just that much better. They’re werewolves, there is a pack hierarchy and there is day to day business going on in the background, but the focus is on Devlin and Laine and their growing love. I think all of the With or Without series has this delft element of blending characters lives, the everyday and supernatural. Makes for some excellent reading and is definitely a series to consider picking up.

This sweet, short and sexy story is a delight and totally fogged my glasses.

Get it here from Samhain, All Romance eBooks and Barnes and Noble.

Weekend stuff, DIK and nude.

This week over at the DIK Blog there has been a vertible feast of authors; all doing wonderful interviews, sharing stuff including their top ten lists and blokes in leather chaps. This has been courtesy of Lisabea and the DIK!

Saturday – Interview from intrepid reporters Teddypig and LisaBea with reclusive and mysterious author Josh Lanyon.
Monday – the delightful author Ally Blue! Radiohead, mens and Lovecraft.
Tuesday – fab artist and author of my favorite boy band novels, Jet Mykles.
Wednesday – Laura Baumbach, author and cool kid who runs the amazing MLR Press.
Thursday –
James Buchanan, Harley rider, goth, author and Colton fan. ;p
Friday – J.L. Langley who writes the most smokin books. She is also an aspiring photographer (see chaps above) and Condom Animal Artist. She did a signing at A Different Light earlier this week. Lucky, lucky! Certain relatives who did not have time to stop there on their recent trip are still off the Christmas card list!

Also, a new t-shirt. It is pink and cool. You can get your own here at Threadless. Exterface has a new set of pictures called the Cosmo Show. Hot. But not for those who cannot cope with jockstraps. Here is a link to the best bits of No Heroics – new ITV show, laugh your ass off funny.

Finally, at Ismale’s blog, nude. He is wicked cool. Find the translate button, top right, and read! And, are you nude?

On Art – Interview with Laura Baumbach.

Laura Baumbach, who started MLR Press, let me borrow her lovely words when I was working on my Mikemen interview the other week. I was really interested to see she that she liked Mike’s work and wondered what other works she liked and starting the press…

What was it like to start MLR Press?

The decision to starting MLR Press was brought about by dissatisfaction. I started my writing career in print and moved to ebooks to have a wider source of publishers. I was unhappy with not being paid by my print publisher and thought I’d find a wider audience in e-publishing. And I did. But the more I e-published in the genre of gay erotic romance, the more I realized there was still an audience that wanted print and no one was making an effort to devote themselves to that format. Print is expensive and risky, but it is possible to be successful at it.

When I finally made the decision to start the company it was supposed to be very small. Just a few authors and myself and one artist to get our books out to our established and loyal readership. But the author list grew and the fascinating and wonderful stories kept coming to us, amazing experience editing staff came out way, readers found us, and distributors approached us and suddenly we were on our way to being a very active small press. Everyday is a learning experience, even two years later. The business is complex, full of time-consuming hard work and sometimes tedious detail, but very exciting. I have to admit, we’ve enjoyed a marvelous start up. I’ve found I’m probably better suited for management/promoting that writing but I’m not going to stop creating my stories.

What sort have growth have you seen in the m/m ebook industry over the last few years and GLBT fiction?

I’m told that two years ago one out of every eight releases was M/M. Now that same company releases four out of very eight as M/M stories. The growth in the genre is huge and very stable. M/M erotic romance has been around on the Net for forty years with amateur slash fiction and it’s not going anywhere.

You’ve just presented the first RWA panel on The Romance in Alternative Lifestyles in San Francisco. How was it and what sort of response did you get from people?

We had a terrific response! The room was full–over 40 attendees. Considering we were scheduled at the end of the day and during one of the awards events, that was most unexpected. I thought there would be a good chance we would be talking to an empty room. There were lots of questions that continued long after the panel was over. The panel went well as panels go and I was pleased with it. Our moderator was awesome, too.

I know the following might sound like an odd question but when I am reading I don’t really have a definite image of a character. I usually have a composite image, if that makes any sense. When I read your book Out There In The Night I imagined Adam as a little bit of Eric Schweig, Kevin Smith and Oded Fehr. When you’re writing do you have a picture in your head of how your characters look or do you have photos or images you use for inspiration?

I do. I always cast an actor in the roles. I cut out pictures of them and hang by my computer to look at while I write. Johnny Depp and Antonio Banderas are there right now. I cast them in the lead roles of Gabriel and Antonio in my latest manuscript Mexican Heat. I’m co-authoring it with Josh Lanyon and it’s the first in a new series called the Crimes& Cocktails. It’s a Romantic Crime Series. The first one is a crime story and the next two have a bit of a mystery in them. I’m really excited about the series. It’s a first time collaboration for both of us.

For Details of the Hunt I cast The Rock as Talos, my 26th century time-traveling alien bounty hunter and, you guessed it, Johnny Depp as his 18th century kidnapped pirate bounty. I thought it would be nice for a change if the pirate was the treasure in a story. I’m writing the sequel to this book now, Genetic Snare.

I was interested to hear you had enjoyed Mike’s work. What other artists work you enjoy?

Michael Breyette, Deana Jamroz, and Lorraine Brevig are three of my favorites. I’m a watercolor fan myself, but I love the work each of these artists do. Michael does marvelous pastels, Deana, head of the art department at MLR press, is a witch with professional photo manipulations and cover and ad design, and Lorraine does amazing oils. All of them have works that have become cover art for books at MLR Press.

Do you have some favorite pieces in particular and what draws you to them?

That’s hard. I have a number of original pieces of art. I love each of them for different reasons. Some for the colors, some for the composition or subject, and some for the power of the image. If I had to pick one, it would be the painting that was done for my book Details of the Hunt. Deana come up with the orginal look and Lorraine translated it onto canvas. Then Deana made it into a cover. Best of both worlds! The book is a sci-fi so it was very important to me that readers grasped what I imagined the main characters to be like and these two artists captured them completely.

Do you have a particular favorite style of art work? Painted, digital, comic...

Outside of watercolors, no. I enjoy all the mediums and styles. Sometimes I’m not crazy about the subject matter but the artist skill and vision is always appreciated. Every from has its strengths.

What do you and MLR Press look for in material for your novel covers?

The back blurb may get a reader to buy a book but the cover art has to entice them to pick it up in the first place. Cover art is very important. In the genre of gay erotic romance we look for a seductive, sexy but classy quality to the artwork. Provocative without being trashy. But the artwork can’t be so overwhelming that the text is lost. Our mysteries usually get a more subtle look. You can never go wrong with a n attractive nude male torso and a phallic symbol of some kind.

What are you looking for in particular right now?

There are never enough romantic male couples pieces out there. I don’t mean sexual poses, I mean romantic poses. They can be nude but the look should be holding, cuddling, laying together, spooning back to front, chest to chest, or any other romantic pose that comes to mind. I’ll also admit, I’m a whore for Big guy/Smaller guy dynamics. You can tell that by my writing. <g>

You have a photography competition at Man Love Romance Press running at the moment. What does this involve and how do you enter?

We wanted to give readers a chance to see their own creativity featured in MLR titles. MLR’s artists need photographs from which they can develop cover or promotional art for our books, or institutional ads. Et voilà, we have a recipe for interactivity. All the details are here! We’ve gotten some nice responses. Photo or original artwork is always good.

Contest Link.

What things should we keep our eye out for in the 2nd half of the year at MLR Press?

More mystery. Some dark fantasy. More anthologies. A couple of special projects –one on gay literature from WWII to 1979 and one beautiful original artwork collection. Our goal is to release a mystery a month every month eventually. We love series, too. I get hooked on a character and want more than one book.

What are you reading at the moment?

Reading? The rewrites on my current manuscript. I rarely get to read for sheer pleasure. It’s always a submission or my own rewrites. If I did grab something for fun, it would be a mystery.

Is there anything else you’d like to share Laura?

It would be wonderful to get feedback on the artwork we use. Come check us out at MLR Press.
Tell us what you like, what you’d like to see on covers. What ones work for you, what ones don’t. We love to hear from readers about every aspect of our work.

Email info.

And thank you, Sarah, for chatting with me. I really enjoyed the interview. I rarely get the chance to discuss artwork in interviews and it’s a very important element in our books. You’ve been wonderful.

Thanks Laura! I cannot wait to read the new book Mexican Heat it sounds like it is going to be a fab read. I think what you’re doing is wonderful and you have some amazing talent at MLR Press. Many of my favorite authors and there looks like there is lots more to save my pennies for. Thanks for taking the time to talk. 😀

You can check out the following links for Laura and MLR Press.
MLR Press.
Laura’s Website.
Laura’s Blog.
Link to excerpt for Mexican Heat. 
Laura and a certain Lisabea at the Eagle in San Francisco. An adventure at RWA!

Weekend smexin in the rain.

I have descended into utter slothfulness and still have jammies on. In fact I may leave them on all day.

I came across a really interesting article about stereotyping at The Macaronis, by author Charlie Cochrane who writes for Linden Bay Romance. I especially liked the John Barrowman quote. An article here about John and I so think he is hot. The Macaronis blog is engaging, thought provoking and well worth a nosey. 

See Ming Lee - Flickr
See Ming Lee - Flickr

Kissing in public is still a problem for some it would seem?? Check it out here at Gay Times UK, and they have the noicest wallpaper

I loved the latest Englor Affair excerpt. Freaking hot and JL Langley is such a tease leaving us at the words …sit up… so damm hot! Leave me hanging, much! Merow. 

Funny for the day?? Imagining how James Buchanan explained the ring in the roof? heh.

I cannot wait for the new Hellboy movie to come out. You can check out the coolest trailers here. Seems Chuck and Hellboy also have a thing for lunch boxes… just like certain other devotees??? 

Finding that perfect book.

A blog entry over at Nose in a book by lisabea about grading books has got me thinking. How do I choose an ebook? What makes me pick one book over another and does the cover, excerpt or blurb play a role in my choice? Made me think about the process I go through, especially when it comes to trying new authors.

So back to where I started… (imagine flashback scene music)

I read my first book with gay characters years ago in the early 90’s. It is a dark, gothic horror called Lost Souls by Poppy Z. Brite. It’s beautiful, and in the midst of my then huge Anne Rice glom a welcome change. I went on to read her short story book Swamp Foetus and another one edited by her called Love in Vein. By far my favorite book by her is Drawing Blood. When I read her comments on this book about it being a very “druggy book” and how the “bong was never far from her desk” I cracked up. heh. It is lush, scary, angsty, dark and sexy and even though she has moved away from writing the smex in her books, she is an excellent read and incredibly talented. (OK, so I like sex in my books!!!) She is also responsible for us drinking a lot of Chartreuse during this time! I can still feel the burn… The two leads in this book, Trevor and Zachary, are among some of my favorite characters. Check out this link to the last chapter of the book here, er…not particularly wk sf.

I spent a lot of time re watching Maurice written by E.M. Forster and directed by James Ivory. I had this great anthology called His edited by Robert Drake and Terry Wolverton. It was lovely and sexy but had some really depressing elements and I really like my m/m with plenty of candy coated goodness. There is quite enough crap to have to deal with in life without having to pour over it in a book. My GLTB collection was quite wee.

I have pretty much stuck to het romance since then as there was just no m/m romance to be found where I live. Honestly, our book shops blow much. I also think that there is a bit of a difference in what I consider m/m romance and gay fiction which I often got out of the local library. Josh Lanyon discusses the differences here, which is very interesting. Although, I am not sure I totally agree with the sex for sex sakes comment. In a recent Emma Holly book, All u can eat, there is a scene, with the heroine and the hunk of spunk kitchen aproned bloke, that is incredibly hot and so not about romance. To me it was more about fulfilling a need. I guess you could call it promiscuous but I did not connect with the character any less because of this. The aproned kitchen guy was not the hero and I did not consider the encounter at all romantic, it was more about people connecting physically. But, I like this more human touch to a book it made it more real and I was really ok with it. Might be an interesting discussion to have! 

With the advent of the internets at our house and online shopping I discovered ebooks and online bookstores that order lovely smexy goodness in from overseas. The credit card has not been the same since. I first read Crash Course by Juliet Hastings which had a menage scene. I then read Emma Holly’s book Menage which had a m/m partnership in it and from there started trawling Amazon for similar reads. I saw  Hard Candy advertised somewhere and managed to get it in pb form. It was bloody marvelous and I got a serious jones for Morgan Hawke’s books from this first short story of hers. She is a good writer and I just adore her Interstellar Service & Discipline series, which you can check out here. They are totally hot and it all kind of opened up from there. I got into buying some loose id books, and found JL Langley, which was one of the first strictly m/m romances I read in ebook form and she is absolutely one of my favorites. 

I found some sites that had reviews and now I always check them out before I buy anything as I have brought a few lemons. I am such a tightwad and books are incredibly expensive to get in. If it costs 10 in the US you need to add on another 3$ for exchange rate then then postage which is exorbitant. So, I usually check out librarything.com. I have a few libraries on my favorites page that I have found to have similar tastes to mine own and they often have new authors I have not tried. Also, ebooks are generally cheaper! I regularly read The Naughty Bits, not only to find good books but because teddypig cracks me up with that occasional acerbic wit. I am so missing the pig at the moment! Lisabea at Nose in a book is a daily stop. She not only has reviews but new authors on there I may not have read before, like James Buchanan, my current squee. There are a couple of other sites I have found that have similar tastes to moi and also have graded books how I would have, so I often trawl through them. When I read an review online, I look less at a review grade and more at what the reviewer has said about the book and the feel I get from their words. You can tell if its hit a nerve by the tone of the review and any gushing or tellingly absent gushing.

I am not at all that keen on readying excerpts unless I have actually read an authors work already. I am more inclined to pick a book up due to a review, book cover (shallow I know) or the synopsis will appeal to me. They only time I really get into reading an excerpt is usually for a favorite authors new book. My latest fav is The Englor Affair excerpt by J.L. Langley. I find reading an except cold without having read other work a bit meh. I have no knowledge of the authors voice and no feeling of connection, god that sounds overwrought and emotional!! but it is true. When I like an author I am just that much more inclined to pick up another one of their books if I’ve enjoyed the 1st one.

I feel kinda lucky to have discovered some wonderful authors in the past year or so that feed my reading addiction so well. J.L. Langley, Josh Lanyon, Jet Mykles, Morgan Hawke, Emma Holly, James Buchanan and a whole load more.  I am so impatient though, they can never write fast enough, so am always on the look out for the next glom!

With Caution by J.L. Langley

A brother’s vow. A lover’s promise. Both could put them all at deadly risk.

Remington Lassiter is trying his best to stay out of trouble while he learns the ropes of being a werewolf. When his little brother turns up covered in bruises, he is driven to finally bring their abusive father to justice. To do it, he must face a past he hides behind his cocky, trouble-making attitude. A past so dark it haunts him only in dreams.

Jake Romero, a crack private investigator with a bad-boy biker image, realizes he has his work cut out for him when Remi asks for his help. From the first moment he turned Remi into a werewolf in order to save his life, Jake has been fighting to keep his inner demons at bay. He’s torn between the desire to tell Remi they are destined to be mates, and the need to first let Remi get used to the werewolf life.

Jake will do anything to protect Remi and help him break the cycle of abuse he has endured all his life, but his investigation is about to uncover something far more sinister and deadly than they ever imagined.

A past that could put all their lives at risk.

I love the warning on the Samhain Site … Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, violence, hot nekkid man-love.  What more could you want in some m/m fiction?

You first meet the somewhat unenlightened Remi in Without Reservations. He is angry and angsty and not at all impressed with his best friend Chay’s choice in partner. After being turned into a werewolf in this 1st book he is working on being the best were he can be and look out for his younger brother. The relationship between Remi and his brother Sterling is central to the book and a lot of Remi’s motivations and decisions revolve around being there for the younger sibling. He is such a great character always making sure Sterling has somewhere safe to go and be away from their abusive father. Under all that front is a sweet guy. There is also a mystery that unfolds involving Remi’s past. I think if I had read Without Reservations 1st I would have perhaps not warmed up to Remi as quick as I did. He is cocky and has this veneer of bravado but he is also very sweet and loving. One of my favourite characters.

Jake is just sex on a stick as far as I am concerned. He is hot, a PI and has a serious jones for Remi who is finding being a werewolf and attracted to another man all a bit confusing. Jake is protective, loving and super Alpha. He also has a motorbike AND a leather jacket. Which I kinda liked as I spent most of my 3rd year of high school drooling over the guy in front of me with the leather jacket. Merroow. Jake is a total top and there is just a wee bit of BDSM and much smex.

I really liked this book and also the others in the series. Probably a good idea to read them in order, or if you’re a rebel like me pay no attention to order whatsoever and be totally taken in by a nice cover! Very groovy reading from one of my favorite authors. You can get them all at the Samain site.  

PS Love the chaps, they are a total hot flush scene!

Desert Island Keepers and my new Tardis Handbag

Over at one of my fav blogs that I lurk around most days, Nose in a book, there is a Desert Island Keepers list. Made me think about what I would bring in my hastily packed, before jumping off ship, swimming through shark infested waters, in bikini erk!, nearly drowning, getting salt in my hair and split ends, tardis bag…

I would be very polite and perhaps ask if I could borrow the divine My Fair Captain, The Hell You Say, Lover Awakened (drool), Lord of Scoundrels, The Warlord, Demon Night (sigh) and The Spymasters Lady as I have not read it yet. Anything that is not nailed down my Josh Lanyon, (my name is Sarah and I am a Fanyon) I promise not to crease teh spines and be very careful! AND, what to take?

 

Continue reading “Desert Island Keepers and my new Tardis Handbag”