Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Review Tour: Wake by K.Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn #Review #Giveaway




Buy Links: Pride Publishing (Early Download) | Amazon US | Amazon UK

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Length: 96,517 words

Blurb

Book one in the Tidal series

Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright room together as Harvard undergraduates. An immediate friendship forms, but as the years pass it deepens into something neither man understands. As attraction simmers under the surface, lines begin to blur. When they move back to Manhattan, they gradually slip into the lives their families have envisioned for them.

Both men marry, but in time, Riley realizes he’s ended up in a passionless relationship like his parents’ while his career takes center stage. Although he loves his wife, Carter misses the emotional and physical connection he shared with Riley.

The weight of Riley’s feelings and his growing discontentment with his life eventually push him to tell Carter the truth about how he feels. Shocked and unable to face his own feelings, Carter rejects Riley.

As each man comes to terms with the lies they’ve told themselves, each other and the people around them, they find their lives changing in ways they never imagined. They soon discover that the truths they’ve been longing to tell shake the foundations of their friendship.



Review

I have read Brigham Vaughn a number of times and truly loved her creativity and style. K. Evan Coles is new to me and shockingly, this is her debut. The fact you can't tell that by reading Wake speaks volumes of K. Evan's talent.

What I loved most about this book was watching Carter and Riley's relationship growth. It's so rare we see new relationships form into mature ones these days. I can probably count on one hand the number of books I've seen this in.  When a relationship begins I'm always curious about what happens next and we see this here. And, these two authors make us eager for more with that ending!

Brigham and K. Evan's put these boys through all the emotions and bring to the forefront the intolerance that still very much exists.

As a reader, each emotion is felt deeply. Sadness for Riley, frustration for Carter, Their friendship and the never ending love. Even secondary characters were written amazingly *cough* Dan *cough* He's brilliant and you won't be able to not love him.

 There's a great originality to this story and the writing is flawless. This is a huge win for me.





Author Bios



K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks.





Brigham Vaughn is starting the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga.  She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.


Email: brighamvaughn@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brigham.vaughn
Facebook Author Page:

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Monday, May 22, 2017

Release Day Review: The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn #Review #Giveaway


Author: Sydney Blackburn
Book: The Lure of Port Stephen
Publisher: NineStar Press
Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Publication date: May 22, 2017
Length: 113 pages

Reviewed by Erin


Synopsis

Robbie Wales is young and starting a new job in a new town, on his own. Coming from a split family, he was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents and came out as a teen without a lot of fuss, but his father, whom he only saw infrequently, has never known. As an adult, he’s found he’s got a lot in common with his father, and they’re finally getting to know each other. He fears coming out to his father may jeopardize that.

Then he meets Raj Williams, the attractive man in the trailer next to his father’s in a seasonal RV park. Raj is handsome, sophisticated, yet loves to fish and watch silly Disney movies.

Raj finds Robbie equally interesting. But Robbie’s still in the closet, at least in Port Stephen, and Raj’s ex used that as an excuse to treat him as nothing more than a friend with benefits. He’s not interested in a repeat experience.

Robbie finally finds the courage to come out to his father, but was it all just for a summer fling?



Buy Links




Review

If you're looking for a quick, sexy read that's probably a little different than what you're used to, look no further than The Lure of Port Stephen by Sydney Blackburn. A catchy (and oh so brilliant title) along with an eye catching cover put this on my radar as soon as I spied it. At a little under 100 pages, The Lure of Port Stephen was a really nice way to spend an hour or two and left me with a smile on my face. 

Set in picturesque Port Stephen, Robbie Wales spends his weekends getting reacquainted with his absentee father and new step mother. In his early twenties, Robbie knows he's gay but is afraid to come out to his dad for fear of upsetting their new relationship. They spend time fishing and camping, drinking beer around a firepit and talking. It's not a scintillating way to spend his weekends, but Robbie is happy with the way things are going and okay with letting everything happen in its own time ...until a Tall Dark and Handsome guy appears in the campsite right next to his dad's. Raj Williams is older than Robbie, sophisticated and sexy and intriguing and Robbie cant stop thinking about the man, or staring at him. Once these two meet, it's intense chemistry central. 

The plot of The Lure of Port Stephen is predictable and the conflict between Robbie and his dad even more so, but I found Robbie and Raj rather sweet. For such a short book, we got to know a lot about these two guys and their friends and family. There was WAY too much sex, so much so I skimmed most of those parts, but the attraction and chemistry between the two felt real and genuine. I really can't get over how perfect the title is for the book, and when I realized the link between the story and the title, I smiled like a fool. The book is well written, the plot doesn't get bogged down even though it was predictable. I liked how fishing played a part in both Robbie's relationship with his dad as well as his with Raj. The secondary characters were interesting and fun (well, there was one or two who were annoying, but that's good in its own way). All in all, this was a lovely book and I'll be looking for more from this author.



Giveaway

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Contest ends May 31st!
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Cover Reveal: The Ties That Bind by S. Davidson #Excerpt

Title: The Ties that Bind
Author: S. Davidson
Genre: M/M Fiction
Release Date: June 1, 2017 Cover Art: Rue Volley Editor: EAL Editing Service Publisher: Encompass Ink Publishing
Flashback 1990's - Rollerblades, bungee jumping, the laptop, cellular phones the size of bricks, and AIDS - the gay men's cancer This is a story about love, friendship, and family. It is a story about growing up, about trying to change the past and the realization that no matter how fast, or how far we run, that The Ties That Bind us as children, many times come back to haunt us as adults. We become part of the life of a young counselor, Morgan, who specializes working with homeless, male hustlers. He seems like an angel from heaven to many. He cares deeply for every one of his boys and would literally die to save them from harm. He deprives himself of life's basic needs in order to reach just one more, but why? Morgan has his own agenda to work out, his own demons to exorcise. While avoiding his own past, he meets a particular young man, Greg, who is able to see through this well-crafted, public image. Greg sees Morgan's pain and denial. It is in this discovery, this role reversal that Greg, a life-long hustler begins to heal himself. He helps Morgan come to terms with his own violent past. Greg becomes his strength, the knife to cut the rope and release the guilt Morgan has denied for years. Just as they both begin to heal, Greg discovers the truth. The Ties That Bind can sometimes be very restricting but many times we find that The Ties That Bind can also provide our strength. The Ties That Bind are necessary for the sustenance of life.
“I do have something else to tell you about. Don't yell at me, okay? He, um, turned nineteen a few weeks ago,” Brice said quickly.

“Nineteen!” Morgan blew, swerving to avoid hitting the car in front of him. “Nineteen? What are you trying to do to me, Brice? Put me out of business? First, you tell me he needs to be watched. Then you tell me he is going to stay with you, in your one-bedroom apartment. Then you tell me he's at least two years older than any of the kids we take! If I didn't know better, I would think you wanted a playmate! These kids are hustlers, Brice. They have one thing on their minds! If this kid is even left in a room alone with any of the other boys, I've got to deal with a 'contributing to the delinquency of a minor' charge or he's hit with a statutory rape charge! When it involves two boys under my roof, I'm out of work and in jail as fast as City Hall can do it. Don't you realize they are always looking for a way to shut me down as it is? I bet you made a promise to Carol that I would take him, too! What in the hell were you thinking about, Brice?”

“I read your file on him.” Brice remained perfectly calm. “Morgan, you taught me to never give up on a kid, no matter how hard it was. You've got pages written on him. Your last entry was over six months ago. Morgan, its Gregory Wescott,” Brice said.
Shelly always had a goal to get a book in print. Well, that goal has been met. Another coming June 1, 2017, and one more still in the works. Always finding writing to be a way to escape into another world, M/M fiction is her passion and causing her beautiful boys a bit of agony is just what she does. None of her characters are flawless and most are pretty damn messed up! But they always persist, always try to be the best men they can be and hopefully find a kindred spirit along the way. Shelly is a mother, grandmother, and has a Bachelor’s in Social Services. Come on over to her Facebook page for current and upcoming release info. While she doesn't post about what she's having for dinner or what movie she's watching, she will give you info on her writing when there is news to share. Just remember, no matter who you are or what beliefs you practice, love is love and we all deserve to love.
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Blog Tour: The Wrong Woman by Cass Lennox ~ Guest Post #Giveaway




Author: Cass Lennox
Book: The Wrong Woman
Series: Toronto Collection
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Cover artist: LC Chase
Publication date: May 22, 2017
Length: 283 pages


Synopsis

As an independent filmmaker, Katie Cherry is used to difficult shoots—but a band’s music video in a tiny lesbian bar is proving worse than most. Stress-busting, expectation-free sex with Zay, the calm, gorgeous bartender, seems just the ticket. But then she and Zay discover the band’s lead singer beaten into a coma in the bar bathroom. They need an alibi, but playing girlfriends is a role Katie’s never excelled at, so she can't see this ending well.

Zay Fayed-Smith is finally getting her life back together after her junkie ex broke it apart. She’s working part-time while pursuing her dream of being a lawyer, and definitely keeping things chill on the girls front. Of course, that’s when a crime happens in her bar and her ex shows up wanting to try again. “Dating” Katie seems like the best way for Zay to keep her head down and teach her ex a lesson.

Except pretty soon, the charade begins to feel less and less like acting. And when the attacker turns his attentions toward Katie, they have to cut through the lies to discover what’s real.


 Buy Links





10 Little Known Things about the TC series

Lots of fun stuff happens in the course of researching, writing and editing a novel. Here’s a collection of stuff from across the entire Toronto Connections series.

1. In Blank Spaces, Vaughn tries to watch a Bruins vs Leafs game during the toga party. That game is based on the Wednesday 30 November 2011 game, in which the Leafs lost to the Bruins 3-6. (Bad, but not as bad as the infamous overtime game 7 loss on 13 May 2013 – I’m not that cruel.)

2. The Dam, the fictional bar in The Wrong Woman, was inspired by this excellent establishment in Queen Street West: http://www.thebeavertoronto.com/events/ I had a cup of tea and cake there entirely on a whim while in Toronto. I recommend it!

3. My editor burned through two wood-scented candles while editing Growing Pains. We thought that was appropriate, given the book’s setting in NATURE. (I had a pumpkin and vanilla candle.)

4. There's a scene in Blank Spaces where a reporter gets wrestled to the ground by a burly caterer. Despite these two being entirely background characters I, um, totally ship them. In my head. As it were. *embarrassed mumble*



5. I originally planned to include lyrics from “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” by Jet in Finding Your Feet. I decided against it, as permissions requests can stack up and be expensive.

6. The scenes involving Brock's family in Growing Pains were very difficult to write. It turns out I'm bad at putting my characters through negative experiences - my editor really had to push me to up the ante where tension and fear were concerned.

7. This Pride and Prejudice joke happened during Blank Spaces edits.



8. The Wrong Woman was actually the second book I completed for this series. The writing order, submission order, original running order and eventual running order are all different. It helped to connect the characters and keep them consistent, and to work in running jokes across all four books, but honestly, it was a tough way to write a series. I’m sure there are details I’ve messed up.

9. Most of the touristy things Evie does during Finding Your Feet are touristy things I did while in Toronto. (Excluding the dance competition. There was no competition. There were performers at Toronto Pride though.) I definitely recommend visiting the city, it’s a pretty amazing place.

10. I ate more pizza during the year I wrote and edited these novels than I've ever eaten before. Fact.






About the Toronto Connections Universe

The winters might be cold, but hearts are warm in Toronto. Canada’s largest city is home to a big lake, a big tower, and a big queer community. People here are trying to get by like everyone else: pay the bills, deal with life in the city, and maybe find some happiness along the way with someone who’s sweeter than maple candy and more constant than a Canadian’s love for Timmie’s coffee.

For some, falling in love is a real challenge. For others, falling is the easy part—it’s the happy ever after that proves a little more difficult. But in the end, love is worth every complication, misunderstanding, and occasional swear word.






About Cass Lennox

Cass Lennox is a permanent expat who has lived in more countries than she cares to admit to and suffers from a chronic case of wanderlust as a result. She started writing stories at the tender age of eleven, but would be the first to say that the early years are best left forgotten and unread. A great believer in happy endings, she arrived at queer romance via fantasy, science fiction, literary fiction, and manga, and she can’t believe it took her that long. Her specialties are diverse characters, gooey happy ever afters, and brownies. She’s currently sequestered in a valley in southeast England.

Connect with Cass:




Giveaway

To celebrate the release of The Wrong Woman, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 27, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!















Sunday, May 21, 2017

Guest Post: Writing All Aspects Of Diversity ~ JM Dabney







I want to thank Meredith for having me on Diverse Reader today. I have several thoughts on representation, and this is my opinion, thoughts that pop into my head. When I started writing, I had a goal in mind, and I hope that I’ve fulfilled it, even as I continue to grow and expand with my writing and the types of characters I write. And when I started my current book, the thoughts I’ll express below became even more important to me. So, here I go.

Years ago, when I started writing even before I thought about being a published author I quickly learned my characters didn’t fit some spectrum of the norm. I’m a lesbian who loves her chubby chicks, and my F/F romance reflected that, but I didn’t see it as a form of representation. I wrote these beautiful curvy and sometimes rollie women that I found beautiful and worthy of their HEA. The ample curve of a belly or the sexy arches of hips. Those are the women I wrote for, the ones who didn’t see themselves on the covers of romance novels or painted in all their attractiveness on sheets of paper.

You’re probably wondering what this has to do with representation, well, here’s what it is, I wrote this post on my Author Page:


I'm currently working on Ghost, it's a romance between a Pansexual man and Harper a Transwoman. As my readers know, my characters are as diverse as I can make them. As a Lesbian, I believe representation of every kind whatever your sexuality or gender identity is about respect. I love the diversity of my characters, their eternal struggles with addiction, as survivors of domestic abuse or prejudice. There's nothing more I want to do with my stories than to show them the utmost respect and admiration. They struggle with the same insecurities as you or me. Yes, I write fiction, but my representation of my characters is done out of respect for silent ones. The readers that take the time to read my stories and see something of themselves that is important to me as a writer and human being.

And I believe what I wrote with everything that’s in me. When I started writing the Twirled World Ink series and one of the main characters, Zerk, had a belly, was hairy, for lack of a better word, a man’s man. Someone who wasn’t waxed or sculpted to perfection. Just as with my full-figured female characters he was just as deserving of love and an HEA without a before and after story. I wrote him as with all my characters to be flawed and as much outside the physical norm, and still treating him with the respect he deserved as a human being.

This is where representation is important, a writer’s job is essentially entertainment; giving their readers an escape, but we should also show our readers a bit of themselves.

No matter someone’s sexuality or gender identity, the beautiful hues of their skin, religion or lack thereof, age, disability, I could go on, but everyone should relate.

We weave these amazing stories of romance, we have a vision in our heads of how the characters look. We searched for inspiration pictures. I noticed a long time ago the lack of inspiration when it came to big men, one’s with bellies and hairy bodies. Sites are overrun with rippling abs and slick, hairless skin, and same with female images, these images reflect societal norms. Not a lot of body positivity. Thin and muscular doesn’t represent all, and beauty is subjective, what one finds attractive, someone else won’t.

So, I’ve dealt with size prejudice and the lack of presence of fat characters or the before and after aspect. Whatever floats your boat is your preference, I am a non-judgement zone. You do you and fuck the rest.

As a writer who believes firmly in diversity in all aspects, we deal with Bi-erasure, Trans* characters as fetishized objects, Asexuals discounted, and it could go on. You see as a Butch Lesbian, I will admit on my Butch, masculine days, I feel more confident and comfortable in my skin. It’s what it is, and I fought a long time to get to be me.

There’s always double standards, men, and women, and gender neutral persons feel pressure to conform to what it means to be whatever sexuality or gender identity that they may or may not be. Whether Femme or Masc or somewhere between, there’s a boy out there who’s Femme, who sees their peers and wonders why he can’t be like that, why he has to be an outsider. There’s a girl out there with a crush on a girl in her class and wonders what’s wrong with her. Then there’s the person out there who sees their peers fawning over a boy or a girl, and doesn’t understand it, worries about being abnormal.

Disabled members of our community are not non-sexual beings, they want love and relationships just as much as the rest of us. To be seen beyond arm crutches or wheelchairs, and even the disabilities that can’t be seen. We need these stories, we need them because they are these fantastic humans with stories to tell and lessons to teach us.

Labels shove you into these boxes, if you’re this, then you have to do a, b, c, or d, but never e. There’s not much we can do about it, we’re all influenced by our upbringings, the communities we belong to, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Again I’m non-judgmental, I can explain to someone my opinion, but in the end, we have Free Will. We’re going to think and feel what we want.

Persons of Color need to see themselves, especially POC in the LGBT community. To see they belong and are important, not presented as a minority within a minority. I’ve written Asian American, African American, and Latinx characters because they are an essential part of who we are today as a community. Persons of color were the pioneers of our movement for fundamental human rights and respect. Putting their bodies and lives on the line for the freedoms some of us take for granted today.
Younger generations don’t remember. I was in my early teens during the AIDS/HIV epidemic, I remember, and those memories shaped who and what I am. It took me a long time and decades in the closet to find myself and accept my differences weren’t punishable offenses but the person I was meant to be.

Culturally speaking communities are formed on the lessons of past generations.

With that being said, a majority of us write for adults, but I’m not na├»ve enough to think someone under the age of eighteen isn’t going to read one of my books. It goes the same with adults. So, I ask myself a few questions: Will this make them more comfortable in their skin? Will this show them that there is someone like them out there?

Representation and diversity need to be found in all genres, not just the LGBT stories. We need to step outside of our comfort zones, read about people who may not be like us, but who has a story that will enrich our lives—expand our understanding. Sometimes these tales we tell bring us Allies, through history Allies have stood beside us and in some cases in front of us when fists were thrown. Although, Allies are as human as everyone else, reading about us or loving someone in the community isn’t the same as being one of us. Sometimes they have their faults and make their mistakes, but need to understand that they are there for ALL of us.

The gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual, gender neutral, and especially the Trans* community,  all the rest need to be recognized, to be celebrated no matter our shade, race, or disability. To be seen as a person of worth.

You may be wondering why I wrote this post, why I took the time to type out over a thousand words, it’s because it needed to be said. In times such as these, we need to remember the ones who came before us and the ones still to come. The younger generation may in the future not have to worry about coming out, it would be as simple as bringing their partner home and offering simple introductions.

It is still not that day, we have children and adults in our community who still take their own lives. Put razor to flesh to bring a moment of pain. Find oblivion in drugs and alcohol, in sex with someone who makes them feel wanted, no matter how fleeting the belonging is. I believe we have a task that at times is more responsibility than we initially anticipated when we became storytellers and wrote that first line, paragraph, chapter, or book.

Storytellers have a great responsibility, a daunting task to show someone there is hope, and someone out there just like them. To offer them a chance to reach out and the greatest gift our readers can give us are those emails to say they loved our stories, to share a bit of their personal story with us. Those words that tell us that we made them laugh or cry, or cheer on the main character who was flawed just like them.

I can call myself a writer, an author, but when I sit down at my laptop, I’m a simple storyteller who just wants to show that all persons matter and deserve that sometimes fabled and seemingly unattainable HEA. Because on the screen of an e-reader or between the shiny covers of a book we paint hope and that is the greatest achievement a writer can ever attain.

Thank you for reading.