Honorary Blogger Isabelle Adler: Writing Fantasy Romance + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Writing Fantasy Romance

by Isabelle Adler

Hi, I’m Isabelle! I write LGBTQ romance in a variety of genres, including sci-fi, paranormal, fantasy, and contemporary. My newest release, The Wolf and the Sparrow, is what you may call a classic fantasy story, complete with its own unique world and magic system. Set in a pseudo-medieval world, it focuses on two heirs of noble families that enter an arranged marriage for political reasons and are initially less than impressed with each other. But as the plot progresses and the political situation around them threatens to escalate into a full-blown war, they team up, driven by the duty to protect their subjects. Together, they must face sea-raiders, hostile magic-wielders, and old enemies, but the hardest trial of all are the dark secrets from their past that might yet tear them apart.

Today I would like to talk about the inspiration and the challenges behind writing a fantasy romance novel. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by story of whimsy and imagination—from fairy tales to hard sci-fi and high fantasy. The Lord of the Rings was one of my favorite books growing up, and had had a huge influence on me, both as a person and as a writer. However, it wasn’t until much later that I discovered the combination of fantasy and the romance genre, and, specifically, queer romance in fantasy. These stories (such as Lynn Flewelling’s amazing Nightrunner series) had opened a world of new and exciting possibilities of representing characters that don’t often feature in mainstream fantasy and speculative fiction.

For me, the most challenging thing is definitely finding the right balance between interesting worldbuilding, an engaging plot, and a romance that would satisfy the reader looking for that exciting emotional rollercoaster that culminates in a sweet Happy-Ever-After. I tend to focus on the plot when I’m planning the story, but ultimately, it’s all about the characters and their journey. In a fantasy setting, the stakes can be quite high (in The Wolf and the Sparrow, the fates of entire realms hang in the balance), but the emotional obstacles the main characters have to overcome must feel just as important. The external conflict must intertwine with the transformation each character undergoes inside—and just as the case is with perils and adventures, the heroes have to look for each other for help and support. It’s not enough to rescue each other and save each other’s lives—it’s all about opening up to each other to let love take root and blossom amidst the adversity.

Hopefully, I’ve managed to hit just the right level of excitement and romance in The Wolf and the Sparrow and create characters that the readers could relate to. This book had been a labor of love, and I hope people will have as much fun reading the story as I had writing it! Continue reading

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Book Review: Santa’s Last Gift by Sandine Tomas

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Santa’s Last Gift
Author: Sandine Tomas
Series: Dreamspun Desires # 95
Heroes: Seb & Matty
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 231 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: The greatest gift might be what they already have.

After years away building his career, event planner Sebastian Chesnut returns to his small hometown of Fir Falls to reconnect with his mother, sister, and young nieces before his job takes him to London.

He doesn’t expect to find his high school boyfriend, Matty, has become a virtual member of Seb’s family. Back then, Matty only offered a casual relationship, but Seb fell hard, and history is soon repeating itself. Seb’s afraid to hope for a second chance, no matter how much they’ve grown and despite the family they share. Instead, he focuses on creating a last perfect holiday, which won’t be easy with his sister’s ex planning to take the girls over Christmas.

Seb and Matty might not know what to do about their feelings for each other, but one thing’s for sure—it won’t be Christmas without the kids. Can these star-crossed lovers pull off a holiday miracle? Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: Santa’s Last Gift by Sandine Tomas + Giveaway!

Santa’s Last Gift by Sandine Tomas

The greatest gift might be what they already have.

After years away building his career, event planner Sebastian Chesnut returns to his small hometown of Fir Falls to reconnect with his mother, sister, and young nieces before his job takes him to London.

He doesn’t expect to find his high school boyfriend, Matty, has become a virtual member of Seb’s family. Back then, Matty only offered a casual relationship, but Seb fell hard, and history is soon repeating itself. Seb’s afraid to hope for a second chance, no matter how much they’ve grown and despite the family they share. Instead, he focuses on creating a last perfect holiday, which won’t be easy with his sister’s ex planning to take the girls over Christmas.

Seb and Matty might not know what to do about their feelings for each other, but one thing’s for sure—it won’t be Christmas without the kids. Can these star-crossed lovers pull off a holiday miracle?

Available at: Amazon

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Caregiver by Rick R. Reed: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Exclusive Excerpt from Caregiver

by Rick R. Reed

The next day, Dan drove north on Florida State Route 75, heading up to Raiford. The day was cloudless, the sun baking the flat lands stretching out on either side of the road. Every once in a while, Dan would spy an armadillo scurrying along the side of the road. Slash pines, palms, and cypress trees lined the highway, stalwart sentinels against the heat. Every once in a while, a billboard interrupted the tropical foliage and broad expanses of rough grass. He passed exits for towns with names like Wesley Chapel, Ocala, and Gainesville. Strip malls, motels, and fast-food joints dotted the landscape here and there.

The humid, hot air tousled Dan’s hair as he drove, all four windows down, making him feel like he was in some sort of oversized convection oven.

He was not listening to music. He was not counting the bugs splattering on his windshield. He was not recalling his boss’s dismayed reaction when he had called in sick this morning.

He was not thinking.

He knew from his calculations that the drive would take approximately three hours, which was a lot of time to think, to worry, to cry. He didn’t want to do any of those things. He wanted to be strong, confident, calm, and compassionate.

Adam deserved that much.

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A Broken Winter by Kale Night: Exclusive Deleted Scene & Giveaway!

Blogger_Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Deleted Scene from A Broken Winter

by Kale Night

I’m sharing an exclusive deleted scene from A Broken Winter. There’s certain scenes that are painful to cut and this was one of them. It occurs right after a character is bitten by a snake. The snake’s powerful venom triggers a memory from a past life. I cut this in favour of the memory that appears in the novel, because the other scene ties things together a little better. But I wish I’d been able to include more of Kai and Nika together, but I’ll be making up for it in book two.

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“You shouldn’t eat that in bed. You’re going to make everything sticky,” scolded Kai.

“Everything’s already sticky.” Dark eyes regarded him with playful defiance. Nika sank his teeth into a pulpy yellow thornfruit and juice trickled down his chin. He laid languidly on the bed, blessedly naked. The man’s toned muscles formed exquisite lines in his bare skin—smooth, flawless taupe. Nika chewed slowly, squeezing more juice from the pulpy flesh, and trickled fragrant nectar over Kai’s bare chest.

“Aah … Nika …” The liquid tingled on contact. Kai’s fingers caught in the strands of Nika’s long, black hair, tugging gently as the younger male licked and sucked.

An urgent rapping at the door wrenched his mind into high-alert and he was on his feet, scrambling into an indigo colored tunic left discarded at the foot of the bed. “Kai’den! Kaaai!”

“I’m coming, I’m coming.”

“These aren’t the circumstances under which I wanted to hear you say that,” grumbled Nika, crawling beneath the covers.

Kai tugged the door open. Prince Anowki stood in the hall, panting heavily, pale and distraught. “You have to get Nika out of here. The plague is spreading. My father has ordered the execution of every slave, even the ones in the palace.”

Nika rolled out of bed, tugging a red skirt-like garment around his waist. “What about my parents?”

Anowki’s hazel eyes filled with tears. He shook his head and knelt on the cold stone floor, bowing his head, pressing his palms flat to the ground. “Nika. I couldn’t—” He choked back a sob. “I’m sorry.”

Nika walked over to the prince and yanked him to his feet, “Get up, you idiot. There’ll be plenty of time for us to cry about this later.” He tugged Anowki towards him and hugged him tightly. “It’s not your fault.”

Kai cinched a leather belt around his waist, cramming the attached coin purse full with as many valuable gems as it could carry, and retrieved a folded steel sword from his bedside, the handle wrapped in thick, ruddy sand shark hide, covered in tiny hard scales. He extinguished an olive oil lamp burning smokelessly in a corner of the room and closed the stone door.

They glided through dim tunnels, tongues dry and frozen in their mouths. The stale air was nauseatingly thick with the scent of fragrant oils, runewood and cloves. Closer and closer. Nearly there. A murky figure halted in the distance, appraising them from afar, then closed in.

Yvette. One of the palace guards. Like him, she was orphaned at an early age, her village burned to the ground by dragon fire. They’d both been recruited by the Balphagor—an elite group of dragon hunters. After hunting the beasts to the point of near extinction and working themselves out of a job, members of the Balphagor were recruited by the royal family, serving as their protectors.

“Evie …”

Her hand moved to her sword and hovered over the hilt. Her gaze shifted from him to Nika, staring hard. He’d once spent three weeks with her in a tiny scrubdeer tent after a 1,000-kilogram dragon rolled on her, cracking six of her ribs. They’d subsided primarily on lizards and scorpion cactus fruit. He still had tiny circular scars all over his fingertips from harvesting the succulent berries. Evie was quick with a blade. If she drew on him, he’d have no choice but to reciprocate. Her black eyes flickered in the torchlight, returning their focus to him. “I didn’t join the Crystal Guard to fight my brothers.” She punched his shoulder affectionately and stepped aside. “Good luck.”

Kai caught Evie’s hand as he walked past and squeezed it.

Prince Anowki bowed. “Thank you, Miss Evie.”

He proceeded down the narrow corridor. The Hall of Eidolon was brightly lit, with no discernable source of illumination. Colorful figures glowed in the eerie light, painted onto a thin layer of plaster covering limestone concrete walls. Var’het, the Goddess of rain, trampling an army of invading Stig warriors, spattering their blood across the sand, giving it the distinct ruddy hue which persisted to this day. The demon Lamashtu, cornered by Pious Parnicus following the abduction of his daughter, chewed the child’s fingers off, mocking her horrified father. Her flesh was jellyfish-like, translucent. Her hair a tangle of dark adders.

The High Priestess sat on her knees, lovingly scrubbing a statue of the Creator. The statue was neither male nor female, androgynous, a mixture of pigment and animal glue staining smooth skin a patchwork blend of blues, greens, and reds. The Priestess gazed at them, eyes like purple desert crocuses which sprouted in the rain.

Mother …

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Fall Through Spring by Amy Lane

Reviewed by Sadonna

Title: Fall Through Spring
Author: Amy Lane
Series: Winter Ball #3
Heroes: Dane Hayes and Clay Carpenter
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Length: 225 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: As far as Clay Carpenter is concerned, his abusive relationship with food is the best thing he’s got going. When a good friend starts kicking his ass into gear, Clay is forced to reexamine everything he learned about food and love—and that’s right when he meets troubled graduate student, Dane Hayes.

Dane Hayes doesn’t do the whole monogamy thing, but the minute he meets Clay Carpenter, he’s doing the friend thing in spades. The snarky, scruffy bastard not only gets Dane’s wacky sense of humor, he also accepts the things Dane can’t control—like the bipolar disorder Dane has been trying to manage for the past six years.

Dane is hoping for more than friendship, and Clay is looking at him with longing that isn’t platonic. They’re both positive they’re bad at relationships, but with the help of forbidden desserts and new medication regimens, they prove outstanding at being with each other. But can they turn their friendship into the love neither of them has dared to hope for? Continue reading

Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, Guest Reviewer, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Blitz: A Holiday Homecoming by Liv Rancourt!

A Holiday Homecoming by Liv Rancourt

Ten years ago, Jon’s passion for the piano took him across country to New York, where a demanding concert career consumed his life and left him no time to look back. His father’s stroke is the only thing that brings him home to Seattle. The sick room makes for a dreary holiday until Jon runs into Bo, whose inner light can make anything sparkle.

Bo loves the holidays; the food, the crafts, the glitter! A fling with an old school friend – who grew up to be his celebrity crush – makes a good thing better. The season turns sour, though, when Jon is offered a gig he can’t refuse. He wants Bo to share the moment, but Bo doesn’t fly. Anywhere. Ever. Is this good-bye, or will a handmade ornament bring Jon home to Bo?

Available at: Amazon

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Unfettered by Kate Hawthorne: Exclusive Excerpt & Giveaway!

Blogger_Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt from Unfettered

by Kate Hawthorne

“Fuck.”

“Is that a yes?” Beau gave him a rich and deep laugh as he unfurled the chain that stretched between the two clamps.

“Yes.”

“Good. Same as last night, but naked.” Beau tilted his head toward the chair across the room.

Heath stood and stripped, folding his clothes before lowering himself into the chair he’d jerked off in the night before. Beau let him sit there, let the time pass, until Heath’s cock had made itself ache from the anticipation. A bead of precum leaked from his crown, and Beau finally stood up, closing the small space between them. He held the clamps out and Heath plucked the chain into his hand.

“Put these on.”

His fingers shook as he looked down, his nipples already hardened buds in the cool air of the room. He took one of his nipples between his fingers and pulled it away from his body and it hardened further. He opened one of the clamps and closed it around his nipple, gasping in shock at the sensation.

He’d, of course, worn clamps before, but he’d never put them on himself, and something about causing his own pain made it different, made it new. These clamps were small, the pinch end broad and covered in rubber, and there were small wheels that could be turned to adjust the pressure.

“And the other,” Beau coaxed.

Heath repeated the steps on his other nipple.

“Now touch yourself. Fuck your fist until you’re ready to come.”

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Honorary Blogger Annabeth Albert: Russ & Esteban’s Guide to Hosting the Holidays + Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Russ & Esteban’s Guide to Hosting the Holidays

by Annabeth Albert

Hi! I’m so happy to be here today talking about MR. RIGHT NOW, my holiday romance release which is out now and also in KU. It’s a neighbors-to-lovers, fake boyfriend, opposites attract romance with all the flavors of a season I love so much.  I love list posts where the characters get a chance to take over the spotlight, so I thought I’d bring you Russ and Esteban’s tips for how (not) to host the holidays! 

  • Plan ahead! Holiday breakups have a way of throwing off ALL your careful plans, so be sure you love the one you’re with ahead of time!
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! That cute neighbor next door? Maybe he owns the pot you need AND might be just what YOU need too! 
  • Get inventive! Cocktails in juice glasses? Improvised Appetizers? Don’t be scared to try new things! 
  • Make extra! You never know when the perfect fake boyfriend will come along to be your new plus one. 
  • Decorate! Beige is not a holiday color scheme, my friends. Think color! 
  • Try new things! Foods, flavors, and traditions from other cultures can add something special to your holiday season. 
  • Find someone cute for cleanup duty! Be careful not to go falling for him though…
  • Be sure to snuggle up afterwards to celebrate your successful gathering! 
  • Eggnog flavored first kisses are the best! 

Want more Esteban and Russ? I hope you check out MR. RIGHT NOW! Thank you so much for having me stop by today! 

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Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, LGBT, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Mr. Right Now by Annabeth Albert

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Mr. Right Now
Author: Annabeth Albert
Heroes: Russ & Esteban
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 127 pages
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: November 14, 2019
Available at: Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: He’s Mr. Right Now, but for how long?

When Russ suffers a Thanksgiving disaster, his gorgeous neighbor Esteban is there to save the day. And after an innocent mix-up leads to the former Hollywood hottie playing the role of Russ’s date, Russ thinks scoring Esteban as his fake boyfriend is a huge win. The newly discharged marine is healing inside and out and could use some holiday cheer.

For his part, Esteban is intrigued by his big, bad neighbor. He likes how his matchmaking cat brings out an unexpected caring side of Russ. Desire flares as the reasons to continue their ruse pile up for both men.

And pretending feels so good. From chocolaty kisses to late night cuddles, their burgeoning friendship is getting cozier and cozier. But as the end date for their little deception looms, all the real feelings they’ve tried to ignore come tumbling in. Each must decide whether they have what it takes to ring in the New Year as a couple.

Mr. Right Now is a stand-alone holiday novella with sweet, low-angst feels, spicy love scenes, and foodie inspired, quirky Oregon romance with a military flavor. Happy ending guaranteed with no cliffhangers!
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Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2019 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment