Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Blog Tour: One Step Further by Felice Stevens #Excerpt #Review #Giveaway

Title: One Step Further
 Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: June 29, 2015

Alex Stern has it all; good looks, charm, a job he loves and everyone calls him a friend. He lives life to the fullest at a breakneck pace, in the city that never sleeps. But Alex is also a master pretender; not even his best friend sees the pain that Alex hides so well. Alex himself isn’t sure who he is or what he’s searching for, he only knows that he hasn’t found it yet.

As a veterinarian, Rafe Hazelton loves each animal that crosses his path; they don’t care if he stutters a bit or that prefers men. Their love is unconditional, but his life is still empty; they can only give him so much. New friendships convince him it’s time to break the wall of loneliness he’s hidden behind since childhood and discover what he's been missing.

Alex and Rafe forge a friendship that turns physical, and they both swear that the relationship will last only as long as the fun does. But when old heartaches come to light and secrets hidden for years are revealed, Alex and Rafe discover if they accept what’s in their hearts and take it one step further, the greatest reward is waiting for them in the end.

Through his years of practice and experience, Rafe had learned to help and comfort, to step in when his expertise was needed, and step away when there was no hope left at all. What Alex didn’t know was that Rafe always held out hope for life, and though he might give the appearance of a man ruled by quiet and calm, in truth he was tenacious as a bulldog and refused to accept defeat.

So Rafe allowed Alex to sit in his moody silence until their beers came and they both took long, bracing swallows.

“Can I speak now?”

Alex shrugged. “Suit yourself.” That offhand comment led Rafe to believe Alex didn’t expect much from people or life in general. Perhaps he too had been disappointed by the people who should have always been there for him and weren’t.

“All my life I’ve been told I was different and that kids wouldn’t like me because of my stutter. When I realized I was gay, I knew my struggle only increased ten-fold. It made me retreat even more.”

Alex traced the lip of his beer bottle with his finger. “Yeah. I can understand that to an extent.”

“That’s my point. You can understand it to an extent, but not really. I’m not saying this in a spiteful way.” It was so important to Rafe to make Alex understand where he was coming from. “You’re a big, good-looking man with a great personality. Everywhere you go, you make friends so easily; people gravitate to you naturally. It’s a gift, if you think about it.”

“I have many gifts,” said Alex with a wink and smiled for the first time since they sat down. Rafe wasn’t fooled.

“You’re deflecting,” he stated, and like Rafe knew he would, Alex stopped smiling, his mouth thinning to a tight line. “Don’t get angry with me.”

“I’m not. I’m only wondering when you decided to appoint yourself as my therapist.”
Rafe pinned Alex with a stare and a raised brow. “When someone sticks their tongue down my throat, it’s a signal to me that maybe we’ve gone beyond a handshake and a ‘Hi, how are you.’”

Alex stared at him for a moment, then his eyes creased with amusement and he started to laugh. He didn’t stop, even when the waiter arrived with their food.

Rafe folded his arms and glared. “I’m not finished. You make friends easily but it’s all on the surface, isn’t it? I bet people don’t ever really get to know the real you, do they?”

Once again, Alex stopped laughing, only this time it seemed he’d had enough. “I don’t have to listen to this shit.” He looked around for the waiter. “I’ll get my food to go.”

“That’s what you always do, don’t you. Instead of talking about things, you make a joke or run away. It’s easier to run away.”

As Rafe spoke, Alex’s face grew dark with anger. Now that he’d started talking, Rafe couldn’t stop; the words spilled like water rushing from a dam.

“I know what it’s like. My reason is obvious. I spent almost my whole life hiding behind a wall of silence. But what reason do you have to play the class clown all the time? People would like you no matter what.”

For a moment Alex stared at him, then smiled a real smile, the first all night. It kindled a glow in his deep blue eyes.

“Do you realize something?” He leaned forward and Rafe swore he could feel the warmth radiating from Alex’s body across the table.

Caught up in the moment, Rafe couldn’t look away. The sounds of the pub faded in the background, including the music, which unfortunately had gone from ’80s retro to modern day rap. “Wha-what?” His mouth tasted dry even with the beer he’d drunk.

“You barely stuttered, not at all until now.”

Alex’s large warm palm slid over his own hand and gave it a squeeze. “That’s great isn’t it? You must be getting more comfortable with me.” A wide grin broke across his face. “Guess that tongue down the throat action worked for something.”

Felice always delivers and One Step Further is yet another success! I fell into this story, eyes wide open and heart ready to be broken and perfectly put back together.

Alex really made me ache. A master pretender, sad, broken, a beautiful disaster... with a smile. Never to let the world see his pain. Never to let anyone in.

Rafe is such a fighter. He really has overcome more than most and never let the world crush him. He is who he is because he's stronger than the demons.

2 men, life has been hard for them. They climbed out of the quicksand alone... till now. When Alex and Rafe are together it makes sense and I found myself mentally shaking them a few times. But, Felice always brings the story to an epic climax. One Step Further is a story about overcoming the odds. About showing the world love truly IS the strongest thing in this whole world. When you have it, you have everything.

This is a beautiful story. A heartwarming tale of finding love in the dark.

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending just around the corner. I started reading traditional historical romances when I was a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn’t until I picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth’s court that my interest in romance novels became renewed.

But somewhere along the way, my tastes shifted. While I still enjoys a juicy Historical romance, I began experimenting with newer, more cutting edge genres and discovered the world of Male/Male romance. Once I picked up her first, I became so enamored of the authors, the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion of the books, I knew I wanted to write my own.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Blog Tour: Devil's Food at Dusk by MJ O' Shea & Anna Martin #Excerpt #Review #Giveaway

TITLE: Devil's Food At Dusk

AUTHORS: M.J. O'Shea and Anna Martin

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press


LENGTH: 200 Pages

RELEASE DATE: June 22, 2015

BLURB: Joe Fitzgerald hates New Orleans, but he’s stuck there until he convinces one stubborn local family to sell Lumière, the crumbling French Quarter restaurant they’ve owned for generations. The place is a wreck, and it’s hemorrhaging money. Joe figures he's their best chance for survival.

Remy Babineaux despises Pineapple Joe’s and everything the chain stands for. He refuses to let Lumière become some tacky corporate tourist trap. Theme drinks and plastic beads in his restaurant? Yeah, right. Over his dead, rotting corpse. The last thing Remy wants is a meeting with the restaurant chain’s representative, but his father agreed to at least listen to the proposal. There’s nothing Remy can do about it.

Remy figures an anonymous hookup is exactly what he needs to decompress. When he ends up across the table from his fling the next morning, real sparks fly. Joe refuses to give up his prime location; Remy refuses to give up his legacy. It’s war, and they’re both determined to win at any cost. Neither of them counted on falling in love.

Dawn always seemed to come a little later in the French Quarter, molasses-sweet and slow, still soft but with hints of the sticky heat to come. It spread, languorous, over the weathered painted walls and wrought-iron railings, crooked cobbly streets, and leaded glass windows that had seen hundreds of years of people passing by. Morning was quiet. Peaceful. Mellow.
Remy Babineaux had lived in the city all his life, in the same house on the same street covered by the same winding, purple-flowered bougainvillea vines and creeping ivy, but still, sometimes, in the pink blush of an unhurried morning, he was struck with just how much he loved it. How much he never wanted to live anywhere else.

He pulled his tired body out of bed in the barely there brush of light and stretched. He hadn’t slept much the night before—five hours at most—and he felt every one of his very busy, thirty years in his creaky muscles and sore back. It had been easier to get up with the morning sun when he was nineteen. To a point. Truthfully, Remy hadn’t ever been a morning person. He’d always preferred sleeping in to experiencing the unusual stillness that came in the Babineaux household hours before brothers and sisters, mother and father, and one rather eccentric grandmother started shouting and laughing and singing—and usually all at once. But he had to admit the morning was beautiful. And even if it wasn’t, he had fish to buy.

Next time I’m making Andre go so I can sleep in.

Remy knew that wasn’t true. He trusted his little brother with his life, but with the fish selection? Never. Nobody but him had had the coveted job of fish selection since he was a teenager. He pulled on a threadbare white henley and a pair of khakis that he didn’t mind getting fish juice on. Then Remy tugged his wavy hair into a thick, high bun, slipped into a pair of shoes, and was out the door. Time to greet the day with rack after rack of amazing, delicious, smelly fish.

Thursdays were usually the best day at the fish market. It was one of those things that had no logical explanation but a long history of somehow working out that way. The market was open three days a week, and he usually liked to make it to two of them, but Thursdays were for some unknown reason when the magic seemed to happen. He liked to get there early for the pick of the catfish, local trout, and sweet, tender gulf shrimp. Wandering through the fragrant stalls, which should be unpleasant but somehow smelled of home and happiness, was something of a Zen experience for him. One of the highlights of his week.

The market was crowded and loud, even in the bare light of early morning. Chefs and restaurant owners haggled with fishermen who’d become their friends over the years, laughed at well-worn jokes, argued the same arguments like a dance that had been practiced over time and perfected. The fish market was a tradition, and his city was nothing if not steeped in traditions.

Remy spent a few minutes soaking it all in, checking out what was new and interesting and delicious before he got down to business. It was important, he thought, to experience things, and not just go through his day completing tasks. His food was better if his feelings for the moment seeped into the dish. Made life better too if you asked him. His little sister, Grace, gave him shit for his “stop to smell the roses” way of looking at things. She was only fourteen, in a race to grow up and become something. Someday she’d understand that the becoming part was just as important as the getting there.

He stopped at a stand and stared down at piles of glossy pearly gray shrimp, barely touched with hints of blush pink. He’d steam them perhaps, on a base of pasta with clams and roasted vegetables, a little garlic, some cumin, cayenne, local butter, and a ton of French thyme. Remy could nearly taste the sauce exploding in his mouth—butter broth and seasonings and sweet, firm shrimp. Yes.

“Twenty pounds, Remy?”

“Hmm? Oh yes. Sure thing, Renee.” His favorite shrimp dealer knew him well. He could easily go through that much on a weeknight. Four times that on a busy weekend. Remy signed off on the purchase order. The shrimp would be delivered to his cafe, Lumiere, in a few hours with the rest of his purchases, just in time for him to start cooking.

Remy worked his way through the crawfish and catfish, the mussels and clams, smelling and sampling, weighing and ordering. It was his ritual. He never rushed it.

When Remy was nearly ready to call it a morning and head back home, his phone buzzed with a text from Andre, his little brother and one very pushy sous chef.

Don’t forget my halibut.

Remy made a face. The halibut at the fish market was good, but it was shipped all the way from the north Pacific on ice. He’d far rather use local catches to make his spin on traditional dishes, but sometimes Andre got his way. The halibut and chips was one of those times. Andre had tried it, fallen in love, and decided it should be a regular menu item at Lumiere, after a lot of protesting from Remy. It had become popular with the customers, much to Remy’s annoyance. He was even more annoyed by the fact that he liked it himself—especially with Andre’s signature tangy tartar sauce. Most of the time he pretended he didn’t, but Andre knew better and liked to flip him all sorts of shit for it.

I’m getting your damn halibut. Go back to bed.

All he got in return was a winky face and a string of fish emojis. Remy chuckled. Child.

I was hungry the entire time I read this. LOL. Books with food make me gain 10 pounds. That said this was a sweet and yummy book. Remy and his man bun had me fanning myself. When you have a tight knit family that live under the same roof... forever... literally, they are going to be close. Each member of Remy's family is passionate about something, food mostly and each other. Enter Joe, a corporate messenger of sorts. He wants Remy's restaurant and Remy. Of course this leads to anger, sex, rants of epic proportions, and of course that fantastic passion I was talking about. This is a fun, exciting book. Eat first though!!!

I’m Mj O’Shea :) I grew up, and still live, in sunny Washington state and while I love to visit other places, I can’t imagine calling anywhere else home.

I spent my childhood writing stories. Sometime in my early teens, the stories turned to romance. Most of those were about me, my friends, and our favorite movie and pop stars. Hopefully, I’ve come a long way since then.

When I’m not writing, I love to play the piano, dance, cook, paint pictures, and of course read! I like sparkly girly girl things, own at least twenty different colored headbands, and I have two little dogs who sit with me when I write. Sometimes they comes up with ideas for me too…when they’re not busy napping.

Newsletter --


Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south west of England. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, she is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theatre (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), travelling, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Although her most recent work is in the LGBT romance genre, in the past Anna has worked on a variety of different projects including short stories, drabbles, flash fiction, fan fiction, plays for both children and adults, and poetry. She has written novels in the Teen or Young Adult genre, Romance and Fantasy novels.

Anna is, by her own admission, almost unhealthily obsessed with books. The library she has amassed is both large and diverse; "My favourite books," she says, "are 'The Moonstone' by Wilkie Collins, 'To Kill a Mockingbird' by Harper Lee and 'Oryx and Crake' by Margaret Atwood." She also owns multiple copies of Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park books and re-reads the Harry Potter novels with almost startling regularity.

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/annamartinficti/

Winner’s Prize: $20 Amazon Gift Card.

2 Runners up win: An e-copy from either MJ O’Shea’s or Anna Martin’s Backlist.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Feed An Author... Literally!

Feed An Author…. Literally!!

I posted on Facebook a while back. The post read:
So, I had an idea. I know a lot of authors either forget to eat while they are deep into their next masterpiece, or they just can't be bothered with more than a PB&J. *Side eyes a bunch of you* Here's my idea. What meal ideas can you awesome people come up with? Quick, easy, for the "can't be bothered mind." Think "I'M A WRITER AND CAN'T DEAL WITH THE MAKING AND THE EATING" It's a challenge! Whatcha got?

I actually got a lot of responses. Some are recipes that are easy for the busy peoples. Leftovers are key!!!
Other people suggested easy alternatives. Simple things, even snacks. I am not giving the names of the people who submitted since I didn’t get everyone’s responses if it was all right. But it’s the food… the sustenance!!!! Here you go:

One pot pasta does me. Empty the fridge of any likely ingredients (tomatoes, onions, chorizo, and garlic always go in mine), fry them up for a couple of minutes, then throw in boiling water, a chicken stock cube, a tin of chopped tomatoes, a few herbs, and fill that baby up with pasta. leave to simmer for half an hour or so and it will all reduce into a lovely pasta in thick tomato sauce nommy.

Every now and then I'll make a big meal of wild rice with cranberries, some beans or peas, and baked balsamic chicken. Good separate, but really good all mixed together (chopping the chicken in small bites). And good as leftovers that last a few meals.

Yogurt with granola is my favorite thing

((In between all these snacks and recipes were a bunch of “I don’t eat when I write.” “I have a husband who cooks.” “Food, what’s that.” And the occasional. “I never forget to eat.”))

I make 3-5 days worth of smoothies, overnight oats, and yogurt with fruit (topped with granola before eating) for breakfasts and snacks

On shopping day get enough hamburger to go ahead and make up burgers and a couple of meat loaves ... you throw them in the freezer raw and they're ready to go when you need something quick. Mr can throw the burgers on the grill or you slide the loaf in the oven to bake.

Soup. Whatever veggies you want cooked up in stock and pureed. Freeze it in portions then when hungry you can defrost quickly in a microwave. Mini pasta pieces can be added when heating up to be eaten, or a bread roll (which can also be frozen and only takes a few minutes in an oven to defrost and heat up). Sprinkle in a little grated cheese or stir in a spoonful of yogurt to serve if you want to.

Cereal with fruit. Yogurt with fruit and oats and protein shakes

Chicken Breast or pork chops seasoned to taste (I love Montreal steak or roasted garlic & herb by McCormick) then broiled on low for 10 mins for thin chicken breast or 15-20 for pork chops. Add a tossed salad or steamed broccoli (from the freezer section which microwaves for 5 mins) and the meat can all be frozen already seasoned so all you have to do is put on the pan.

Crockpot meals. Throw things in as I pass through the kitchen in the morning, and it miraculously turns into dinner in the evening.

1.   cranberry, green apple, pecan spinach, grilled chicken salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing. 2.risotto (its like pasta) but cooked with chicken stock/broth, chopped onions, salt and white pepper and Parmesan/ Gruyere cheeses- takes 30 minutes tops). 3. pasta with marinara sauce. I always make a bunch of pasta sauce and freeze it. therefore all i have to do is thaw it when i need some and the pasta will cook in 10-13 minutes tops. 4. you can always roast a chicken one day and use the left over meat for soups, salads, sandwiches etc. 5. thin pork chops on the bone cooked in honey with salt and pepper, with russet steamed potatoes (clean, wrap in foil cook in oven at 375 for 50 mins, about when there is ten minutes left on potatoes cook pork chops, cook frozen peas or green beans in boiling water for 5 minutes and bam you have a meal. while potatoes cooking you can continue writing (put a timer on)

I freeze portions of stuff I've made for family dinners so I can defrost them for lunch. Various types of chilli are my favourite. And I cook extra rice so I can freeze that too.

I eat a lot of cheese, crackers, and meat I'm unwilling to share details about. I have a few bites and go back to writing.

I adore this tahini dressing they make at a local health food chain. I dip peppers and cauliflower in it, add a piece of cheese and some raw nuts and call it a meal. I also recommend the already made turkey and mashed potatoes, and chicken piccata at Trader Joes. Delicious! We even serve it to company! LOL

One of the easiest one pot dishes I make is cheeseburger pasta. Sounds weird, I know, but it's so good. Everyone I've made it for loves it.
Ingredients for four people:
-Pound of ground turkey
- one chopped onion
-One cup of ketchup
-two Cans of Campbell's cheddar cheese soup (reduced fat)
-beef stock
-box of pasta (I use bow tie but whatever floats your boat, lol)
-Adobo (Latin mix of seasonings:garlic, salt,pepper, and oregano)
-cup of frozen veggies (I've used kale, broccoli, butternut squash etc..)

1-Season ground turkey with adobo and brown in large pot. Add onions, whatever veggies you're using, mix, and heat for a couple minutes until onions are softened.
2- add ketchup, cheddar cheese soup, box of pasta, and enough stock to cover everything.
3- cover and cook on medium heat, stirring frequently so the bottom doesn't burn, for twenty minutes.

The liquid will reduce and you'll end up with a cheese sauce coating the meat/veggie/pasta dish.

I don't know about a main course but here's one for a salad/dessert(I just made some for tomorrow): 16oz. cottage cheese, 8oz tub of cool whip, and jello of your choosing. Mix all 3, let sit overnight, and serve. Oh, and just use the jello powder don't make the jello before mixing it in. Today I used raspberry jello but I've used peach, strawberry, black cherry, any flavor works. It's light but filling, works great for salad or dessert.

Get four chicken quarters. Boil with your chosen spices for a hour. Pull chicken set aside to cool.

Using the water that you boiled the chicken in add two pounds of rice. Cook until done. Drain.

Shred chicken add to rice, add one large can of cream of chicken soup. Mix well.
You can eat straight from the pot or place in casserole dish adding French onions to top.


I make a box of mac-n-cheese and throw some tuna in it. it taste just like the tuna cheese helper. I'm also a fan of ham and cheese on rye, lol.

Get two boxes of your favorite type of stuffing mix, and some boneless pork chops. Mix stuffing according to directions and put in casserole dish. Place pork chops on top of the stuffing and pop into the oven for twenty minutes.

Dinner is served

Instant pudding is easy and good, pre made sandwich

I do all the cooking the weekend, so I have just to reheat all along the week. I have no time to cook the week with my job


Twenty-one ideas. So, don’t starve sweet authors. Or anyone who has a busy job and can’t be bothered. Your fellow people are here to guide you.
Bon Appetit!