Personal Demoms by James Buchanan

Hunting a notorious hit man, FBI Agent Chase Nozick and LAPD Det. Enrique Rios Ocha delve into the inner worlds of Santeria, Voodoo and Palo Mayumbe. A missing informant, her murdered brother and a ghost from Chase’s past send them on a hunt through mystics and psychic surgeons to find their witness before it’s too late. Can he rely on leads from a child possessed by Orishas? Do cards hold stronger clues than blood? Chase must conquer his own personal demons to bring the killer of his partner to justice and find the strength to take a chance on Enrique.
From MLR Press

James Buchanan’s vivid picture of LA has heat and dust seeping through the pages. The knowledge of police procedure and law is incredibly apparent and gives Personal Demons a rich and complex setting. Paranormal elements and voodoo, Santeria and Palo Mayumbe provided an added hook and made for kinda spooky reading.

Aside from solid world building what made this such a great read were the characters. Enrique was just so beautiful, inside and out. Charming, clever and his core of strength became more apparent the more I read. But, I was totally wrapped up in Chase’s journey and growth as he navigated his way through the thorny issues of being out as a gay man in his workplace and falling in love with his partner. His struggle with alcohol and maintaining an intimate relationship made for gripping reading.

Sex between the two protagonists was incredibly hot and luscious. James Buchanan writes sex that is realistic, erotic and definitely not cookie cutter romance novel fare.  It is something I particularly like about James’ style of writing and keeps me coming back for more.

This was such a beautiful read, definitely harder on the emotions than perhaps Inland Empire or Cheating Chance, but a great book to get totally wrapped up in and enjoy. Check it out here at ARe and Fictionwise.

Shorts.

Have been reading much in the last few days, weeks, months… but I think I might loose the will to live if I write a multitude of squillion word reviews. (so lazy!) So, in the interest of maintaining my aliveness I’ll keep it brief!

6772564Tabloid Star by T.A. Chase was a pretty good read. I am quite sure the authors description of Josh was not meant to conjure up visions of Samuel Colt, but it did for me. heh. So, with visions of my current crush Samuel in my head I read on with much glee and sweaty palms. While some parts of the book felt less well scripted than others and there was much angst and drama, I did enjoy this for the most part. All that muscled, man chest goodness is good. Get it here.

6782412Warriors Cross by by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux was a cool read, but I did have a few issues with the depth of the world building. At times it felt kinda two dimensional, which was a little frustrating. The character development however, was nicely done and is what kept me reading despite that lack of richness in the surrounding detail. Nice tension was built and it was a very satisfying read. I think these two writers work incredibly well together, their styles mesh beautifully. Get it here at ARe.

angelface1detail1Angelface by Benoît Prévot is one of the most beautiful comics I’ve read this year. The artwork is breathtaking and the attention to historical detail is magic . Gush much? The narrative was tight, clever and I so want more. English sometimes seems like such a coarse language and I would like to see it in French if I can get hold of it. Yes, I am aware I do not speak French. It’s a weird thing I have. I also want to save all my pocket money and buy original art for my bedroom. Think I’d have to eat carrots for a year to afford that! You can pick it up here at Class Comics and if you want a closer look, then go to the mini site. No it is not work safe and yes there is cock and it’s pretty!

mr bensonMr Benson by John Preston was possibly one of the most challenging books I’ve read in a while, but the depth of feeling, trust and sense of belonging was so worth the ride. I have to agree with a comment made to me about the latter parts of the book, which did end up a little bit like something out of Five Go Mad in Dorset. However, by the time I’d actually reached this point in the book I did not really give a rats as I was up at some ungodly hour reading it. I just wanted to see what happened. I think the final chapter was what really set me on my ear. Mr Benson is not BDSM lite, it is the full banana and then some. One of my top reads of the year. If you want to see an decent, in depth review, check out this one.

deadly victor banisThe Deadly series by Victor J. Banis has kept me well entertained in the last month or so. I’ve picked up all 4 books in the series now and I just plain old like Stanley. He’s just such a jerk sometimes and I like watching the development of his character. At times the narrative stalled a little, but  not to the point where I lost my way and ferreted off onto the internet. It felt very human and the last part of the 3rd book is a bit of a tear jerker, so be warned. 🙂 Check out the series here via ARe.

Partners in Crime 4 by Josh Lanyon and Jordan Castillo Price.

Lovers and Other Strangers by Josh Lanyon.
Recovering from a near fatal accident, artist Finn Barret returns to Seal Island in Maine to rest and recuperate. But Seal Island is haunted with memories, some sweet, some sad; three years ago Finn found his lover in the arms of Fitch, Finn’s twin brother. Since that day, Finn has seen neither Conlan nor Fitch. In fact, no one has seen Fitch. What happened to him? Did Fitch run away, as everyone believes? Or did he meet a more sinister fate? To put the past to rest – and see if there’s any chance of a future with Con – Finn must discover the truth. But the deeper he digs, the more reason he has to fear Con is the only one who knows what truly happened to Fitch…

Body Art by Jordan Castillo Price.
His lover has betrayed and swindled Ray Carlucci out of everything he valued, including a tattoo business. Hounded by creditors, weary of heart, he accepts the job of chauffeur and body man for the dying owner of a remote estate. The island, minus its wealthy summer colony, is colorless in winter and Ray thinks he understands why staff on the estate periodically desert. But, he’s baffled by, then drawn to, Anton, the eccentric artist who haunts the forest, bringing strange life to bizarre and disquieting sculptures amidst the ice and trees. When the body of a man who once held Ray’s job rises from the frosty earth, Ray wonders what part Anton’s wildness has in the escalating violence.
From MLR Press.

partners_in_crime4I was lucky enough to have this sent to me in paperback by LB at Nose in a Book. As a total bibliophile the book itself is nicely bound, has a pretty classy cover and looks damn fine on my shelf. Pats.

Lovers and Other Strangers was such a pleasure to read. I like the love rediscovered shtick and Finn and Conlan have a poignant story that was very readable. If anything it was a story of the two brothers that I found myself enjoying more than the romance. In his usual sparse style this sad tale of sibling rivalry and love was beautifully told by Lanyon and leaves you thinking. Which is fine unless you’re stuck being a bit snively  at all hours of the night.

Body Art is the first story by Jordan Castillo Price that I’ve picked up in a while. I am a big fan of her PsyCop series and did like this new story from her. I enjoyed Anton’s quirkiness, but did find the explanation behind his condition a little loose. Despite this it was an entertaining crime read and I do recommend her PsyCop series if you’re looking for more books from her.

You can get the paperback version here via MLR Press.

GayLife.com by Neil Plakcy.

gaylife_cover_200Living in the awesome gay candy store called South Beach, Brian Cohen laments his inability to score a great job or a sexy boyfriend–until he lands at the website GayLife.com, where his hunky boss may want more from him than just his management skills.

I’ve enjoyed reading the Mahu series by Neil Plakcy immensely, so was keen to read his latest book from MLR Press. While his other books focus more on the mystery and to a lesser degree Kimo’s coming out and love life, GayLife.com is firmly in the romance category.

Brian is such an honest character, complete with flaws and the odd annoying personality trait. As for his hunky boss I read less about him than I perhaps would have liked, which is unusual I guess in a romance novel where the central plot revolves around the two love birds and their merry trip off into connubial bliss. +sex. What the book did remind me of was not dissimilar to a chick lit romance complete with a cast of interesting extras, mush hieing around, a few disastrous attempts at love and a flatmate in a pear tree.

While I did enjoy the novel, the sexy boss could have done with a little more development and there was a lot of detail about the comings and goings of Brian and the website. I am a bit of a geek, but there was almost too much internets even for me in there! It had a sweet and satisfying ending though and much smooching. 😀

Definitely an entertaining and sexy read with a difference. Check it out here at Neil Plakcy’s Website or via MLR Press Website and All Romance eBooks. AND that cover rawks!

Mexican Heat by Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon

998SFPD detective Gabriel Sandalini might as well have put a gun to his own head. One red-hot sexual encounter in a bar’s back room has put two years of deep undercover work in jeopardy-two years of danger and deception as he worked his way into crime boss Ricco Botelli’s inner circle. Gabriel can’t afford emotional entanglements. Hell, he can’t afford emotions. But that was before he had a name to pin on that anonymous one-off-Miguel Ortega.

Miguel Ortega doesn’t trust anyone, but tough, street-smart Gabriel brings out the conquistador in his Spanish blood. But distractions are nothing short of deadly right now, not with his boss’s impending marriage to Botelli’s sister, which will ensure peace-and massive drug profits-for both families.

On a trip to Mexico to set up drug supply lines, a violent confrontation proves they’ve got each other’s backs-to a degree.

Then one savage act changes everything, testing not only their fragile bond, but Gabriel’s will to live.
From Samhain Publishing.

A total shoot em up action adventure novel complete with buff heroes, bad guys and tequila shots off butts. I was so just waiting for someone to chime in with, ‘say hello to my little friend.’ It certainly did require a certain suspension of disbelief, but for all that I did enjoy it a great deal. And, it was such a long book! 

The novel is in two parts. While the 1st hooked into my undercover cop fiend and fascination with men and big guns, it was the 2nd part that appealed more. The wounded soldier with life changing injuries shtick just floats my boat.

What drew me in was how well the characters fit together. Gabriel was feisty and fiery with Miguel being a perfect conterpoint with his smooth and charming nature. It also made me laugh several times when Miguel is trying to be somewhat romantic and admittedly getting just a little dribbly and Gabriel just scoffs at him. Towards the end Gabriel has the most classic line, “Jesus, the shit you talk, Antonio. Go on.” It was so perfect and had me sniggering. Such a heavy moment and yet it was this ability to poke fun that made me feel that the novel had a lighter side and did not take itself too seriously. I think, that had it lacked these moments of levity the characters would not have been as diverting as they were and I would have been a little more dubious about the premise. 

As the book ended in such an interesting place with the characters still in the early stages of a relationship, I’ll be very keen to see what the authors do next. I think Gabriel has a lot more developing to do as a character and I am eager to see  the next installment. 

Check out the book here via MLRP, or you can get it in ebook from Samhain.

Interview – LB Gregg

yukon_man1It is my pleasure to share an interview with you from author LB Gregg.
Clever, funny and a smarty after my own heart, this talented new author has the first Men of Smithfield book coming soon in ebook from Aspen Mountain Press and in March the paperback version with MLRP.
The MLRP series is called Smart Ass, the first is Close Quarters. The Men of Smithfield stories will be paired with Amber Green’s new series Turner & Turner.

I know you think this is an ass question, but would you care to share a few things about yourself? Favorite shoes, neck tie, body piercing… cake?

Favorite shoes? Black leather driving mocs. Worn to perfection (meaning I need to toss them) and comfortable in any weather. Also my black and orange ski boots.

Neckties? Surely you jest.

My favorite body piercing on someone else is a small gauge. Emphasis on small. I admit to an unnatural interest in the Prince Albert, but this is purely academic.

Cake? That’s one of my favorite bands!

beagle-trainingBeagles. Possibly the best dog IN the world? Your thoughts on this noble beast?

My dog ate a grease stick. MMmmmm….grease stick. It never ceases to amaze me what a beagle is willing to ingest. Chapstick, fruit snacks, a jar of peanut butter, a roll of paper towels, a bag of grapes, heck, they’ll lick chicken feed off the ground. I mean the list is as endless as it is impressive.

There is no sweeter dog, though.

What made you start writing?

I was strong armed into this, no question. I always wanted to write but I lacked the discipline. It was through the encouragement, and the daily, er, support of my blogging friends, and my writer pal, that I was able to get these novellas written. Those folks really kicked me (read: my ass) into gear. Also, M/M is the genre where I found both my voice and the stories I wanted to tell.

lb_gobsmacked_500x75021I think your books are fresh, funny and totally sexy, but what do you think sets them apart?

Thanks, Sarah. That’s so nice to hear. My stories are pretty short and the pace is fast, but it’s the setting that I think is atypical. New England. People say, write what you know. So I did. The folks here are practical, no-nonsense, and bit tricky to get to know. Each season brings a brand new set of expectations for our lives, from the kinds of weather we experience, to the clothes we wear, to our leisure activities, to the coffee we drink (iced or hot?). I’m sure that’s true elsewhere, but my experience has been predominantly here. I’m keen on it.

Where would you like to see the m/m medium go in the next few years?

I’d like to see m/m lose it’s ‘kink’ appeal and get into the broader market, for the genre to gain credibility and garner respect. Imagine a harlequin line of category glbt novels!

What do you think has been your most important piece of work to date and why?

Ha. Well I only have the one book out so I’ll say…that one! Gobsmacked. It’s important to me on many of levels. It’s my first book, my first time writing, and the fact that my friends and family supported my writing endears it to me. Please buy my book. heh.

The next book in the Men of Smithfield series, Happy Ending, is close to my heart.

I wanted to write a story that presented a positive family dynamic with a gay parent, but that’s not the focus of the book. Happy Ending is a love story. Seth and David are one lively pairing, phewie. I never knew what that David was going to do next or how Seth was going to react.

60382763What sort of characters are you drawn to writing about?

I ‘m drawn to everyday men who find themselves out of their comfort zones, who have to make decisions on the fly, and who wind up having the rug pulled out from under them by some inappropriate guy. In Gobsmacked, Marks entire life unravels in a series of fast, unexpected events and he’s scrambling to make sense of things…so Tony makes his move. I do like that Tony. Tony likes to take charge, and Mark is out of control. Gob is an old friends, alpha/beta, cop story. Tres. Hot.

In Happy Ending, the next in my Men of Smithfield series, the no-nonsense and stern Seth Weston meets his unlikely match in the funny, daring, and laid back David Cooke. It’s a fun story and, I have to admit, it’s a bit spicy.

How hard is it to write scenes with the smex? Making it hot and sexy without it coming off as cheesetastic?

It’s tough. I rewrite love scenes constantly trying to get them just so and …. I’m never satisfied. I’m working on the edits for the print version of Gobsmacked and I’m still tweaking. The Aspen e-book will be slightly different than the print. It’ll be interesting to see what readers think.

starving-writerAny suggestions for wannabe authors hoping to get published?

Well, this ain’t no War and Peace (thank god) but to get published in this genre, you have to write write write. Set daily goals and meet them, and when you don’t, cut yourself slack because tomorrow is a brand new day with no mistakes in it. Find someone you trust to read for you and ask for specific feed back. Never ever be afraid to toss stuff and rework it. That’s not failure; that’s the process. That sounds bossy, but the truth is, the books we read aren’t written on the first go, or the tenth, they are the culmination of a lot of work, rereads, and rewrites. And as a pal said to me last night, Books are built one word at a time.”

You’re a bit of a reader geek when you’re not writing. Are there any romance authors you’re particularly addicted to?

Well, Josh Lanyon, of course. He’s the king. I enjoy JL Langley very much. Victor Banis. Outside of m/m, I have some old favorites in the romance world, Lisa Kleypas, Suzanne Brockmann, Christina Dodd, Teresa Medeiros, and Joanna Lindsay and, well she’s not really romance, but I adore Charlaine Harris. My new favorite? The ever clever Meljean Brook. She’s fantastic. Oh and Kresley Cole. I’ll stop here because I could go on all day.

stevemcqueenAre there any story lines that suck you in as a reader more than others? Cops, desert island or perhaps intrepid book sellers?

I’m partial to intrepid book sellers, this is true. I also love tough navy seals, hard-nosed and closeted cops, and certain stern starship commanders…I like those big alphas…and I like them best when they are paired with a smart ass beta who keeps them on their toes. That contrast is delicious.

What are you working on currently?

I’m working on a story called Shelter, at least that’s what it’s called today. It’s not a Men of Smithfield story, but it is m/m and it’s one of my favorite romantic contrasts… May/December. Yum.

I have the rough of Men of Smithfield III waiting on my hard drive. It’s being…persnickety. I should finish that by the end of February.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer all my questions. ALL of them! heh. I really do appreciate it and it’s been super cool. Mwah!!

Thanks Sarah! Mwah back atcha!

picture-2As a special treat I am going to offer a free ebook copy of Gobsmacked to a lucky poster, just leave a comment saying hi and I’ll make a draw later next week.

postcard_myspace_jpegIn the meantime check out LB Gregg’s website here and the link to MLRP. The Smithfield Gazette is also a very worthy publication to sign up for and you can check it out here.

Artwork at the top of page is from Mikemen.

The Adrien English Mysteries by Josh Lanyon.

There are many of things I have enjoyed about this series. The clever dialog, interesting characters and always a murder to boot! I am a total mystery geek and adored watching the incomparable Joan Hickson play Miss Marple when I was younger. She is simply not to be missed! So clever and smart. I think that this series has that subtle wit too. For that more puerile part of me there is some seriously hot smex, judicious misuse of sunscreen, hot cops and one mans passion for Tab.

Adrien rocks with his bravery, strength of character and honesty. He cares for those around him, even his delightful mother and newly acquired family. I’ve sniggered away at Adrien’s snippy, clever comebacks and internal dialog. He is just so droll, I love it! Finally, his love for Jake. I know, Jake does not deserve him! But, I hold out hope that this love has not completely gone.

What has had me coming back for more in this series of books though, is Jake. If I am reading a book my favorite characters are often the ones that everyone else thinks is a bit of a shit. I guess I like that whole redemption thing and the broken hero. I also firmly believe that nothing worth having is easy, which is certainly the case for Jake. You should fight for what you want and it should be worth it and involve a bit of self discovery. Nothing wrong with a bit of navel gazing! For Jake, nothing about his whole life is easy. He is a closeted gay cop, a man used to being in charge and so sure of himself and where he is going. At times he seems rigid and uncompromising. But, how hard is it to go against the path you’ve always blindly just followed? When you know that if you do something unexpected, or away from that path that you’re going to probably loose people you love? It’s not easy and it would be ridiculous to think that in reality it ever would be. Hello, therapy! This is the heart of the series that gets me every time and invariably makes me think. Is love worth it? Or is it about more than that, more being true to who you really are and how difficult is that? His journey for me is compelling.

Jake’s feelings for Adrien are apparent from the start. Maybe it is just a strong attraction initially but there is caring there also. When he notices Adrien’s scraped knuckles after the murder of a friend, in that very first book, and he offers his coat to him to keep him warm. Or when he calls him baby, big sigh there.

Jake planted his hand on my shoulder. It was like having a brick dropped on my chest. 
My head dropped back on the spongy pillow, pain thudding in dizzy time with my pulse beat. 
“Simmer down, baby.” He traced my collarbone with his thumb. I couldn’t have moved if I had wanted to; I was too surprised to try. “Just relax.” 
The feel of his callused thumb on my sensitized skin was weirdly hypnotic.

Most of the time he is pretty crap at showing it, lets be honest the man can be a bear. But, there are those moments when he is so gruffly sweet, it just made me melt. He’s also a guy who does not seem to have had physical intimacy with another man. I know he’s fucked a lot of guys but there is a difference between fucking and intimacy.(not saying that the former isn’t a good thing!) It is intimacy that he shares with Adrien. Maybe one of the hardest and easiest things for Jake is loving Adrien? I don’t know.
The last book, I have just read, in the series was a heartbreaker. There is so much of Jake in this book that just made me wild but on the other hand I understood. If it had been any different I wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much or been put through the wringer. Isn’t that what good books do? Make you think, justify, decide, ponder and read into the small hours when all the other lights are out? And, Jake on that last page, it does mean something – I have to believe that.
I have throughly enjoyed all 4 books, they’re thoughtful, smart and excellent reading. See what you think and let me know, there are links below where you can check the them out. 
Plus, other reviews or non reviews you must read, because they’re super cool!
Book Utopia Mom on Josh Lanyon.
So not a review, no really. Nose in a book.
Josh Lanyon Website.
Buy the books-

Weekend and interviews and Lola.

In September I am anticipating the release of the latest Adrien English novel, Death of a Pirate King. I cannot wait! This series is beautifully written, engaging and when September comes you might just hear my squee from there. In the mean time check out a fab new *interview* with Adrien himself over at In Their Own Words. There are shoes and everything, Woot!

I saw the following youtube goodness after finishing Lola Dances by Victor J. Banis. It is such a sexy book and Victor certainly has a rather fantastic style. I was thrilled to see another copy of Longhorns in the local book shop today. Woot Victor! Anyway, Lola was a really different read for me. I was not sure I would be into it to begin with but I throughly enjoyed it and find that androgynous feel really quite smexin, and for goodness sake invest in a fan when you read it. Check out this seriously good review here for more details. 

Below is yet more strangely alluring androgyny… and don’t the lyrics from Blur come to mind? Girls who are boys, Who like boys to be girls, Who do boys like they’re girls, Who do girls like they’re boys, Always should be someone you really love… yep. Well, they did for me any way! Merow.

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!

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