Thursday, 26 May 2016

Uber Release Day! New Stories from Claire Davis and Al Stewart, Ofelia Gränd, and Debbie McGowan

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace!
by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Published: 26th May, 2016
Length: 29,000 words (126 pages) approx.
Language: English
ISBN: 978 1 78645 055 5
Category: Fiction
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, LGBT, Humour, Romance and Relationships, Contemporary Fiction, New Adult

First love - coming of age - family - acceptance

When Charlie was eight years old, his mum bought him a microscope for his birthday. Since then, he's known how he wants to spend his life. There have been trials, and challenges, but now - finally - the day is here for him to start college with his lifelong friend Anthony Pace.

Anthony is a red-haired force of nature. He writes poetry about their enemies and eagerly participates in all Charlie's science experiments without understanding a word. Every morning, he waits at the end of their street so they can get the bus together.

But things are changing.

Families are important, and complex. Charlie's mum hasn't been well, and his relationship with Anthony begins to shine like a different star in the sky.

Can everything come together in this explosion of physics and chemicals that Charlie calls life? Will Anthony Pace ever share his poems with the world, and can the Chihuahua, Princess Arabella, ever learn to stop licking?

WARNING: includes moderately explicit scenes of intimacy between consenting young adult males.

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There are no words that will do justice to how good this story is.

But I'm going to try.

Shut Your Face, Anthony Pace! is a 'British' young/new adult romance about Charlie Woods and Anthony Pace - two young men who have been friends for most of their lives (red-car incidents aside). It's a novella - around the 29k mark - but my goodness, does it pack an emotional punch.

Funny, silly, sad, tragic, romantic, naïve, sweet, real...the narrative swoops and soars over and over again. I variously (and repeatedly) laughed, cried, took a moment to gather my thoughts - shook my head in wonder at how brilliant the writing is. It's stunning.

The characters are different. No, they're unique. A lot of authors endeavour to portray characters like Charlie and Anthony and get so bogged down in how those characters come across to other people, they don't adequately convey how the characters feel, live and experience the world. With this story, the connection is beyond sympathy or empathy with the characters; it's insight. It's breathing the dust particles, feeling the sunlight, seeing the freckles and the boing-boing hair.

I love every story written by Claire Davis and Al Stewart, but this one is special. Read it; you'll see.

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About Claire Davis and Al Stewart:
Website: Claire Davis and Al Stewart's Website

Al Stewart and Claire Davis write about people who are not perfect. Claire embraces the dark side, and Al the good side of the force. Their work is there for a fusion of both, mixed often with kink and humour.

Al Stewart on Goodreads
Claire Davis on Goodreads

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Purchase Links:

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Falling Through
by Ofelia Gränd

Language: English
Published: 26th May, 2016
Length: 12,690 words (50 pages) approx.  
ISBN: 978 1 78645 056 2
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Short Stories, Adult, Paranormal

Travis is running himself ragged. He's trying to keep two jobs just to pay his rent. If he has to flirt with some creepy old women at the pub to get a little extra tip money then so be it. One day, he'll have someone special waiting for him when he gets back home from work, or is that too much to ask? Right now isn't the best of times to get a boyfriend anyway since Travis is going mad, but one day... Every so often, Travis gets the feeling of not being alone, and sometimes, he sees things. But he tries to stay positive; maybe there's a strapping young fella waiting for him in the looney bin.

Larry's existence was dead boring until Travis moved in. Now he spends his time watching Travis, fantasising about touching him, kissing him... Their movie nights would be a bit cosier if Travis knew he was there, but sometimes, you have to settle for what you can get. As far as roommates go, Travis is the best Larry has ever had, and it isn't Travis's fault he can't see Larry - no one has been able to since the day he died.

When Travis loses one of his jobs, both he and Larry fear for their future. Larry can't imagine being without Travis, and Travis is desperate to find a way to pay his bills. While Travis searches for a solution to his money problems Larry has to decide if he's willing to risk existence as he knows it for a chance of a better life.

* * * * *

This is an Ofelia Gränd love story. It's paranormal, not too grim, with two lovely young chaps in it, one of whom is...well, dead. But never mind. Love has a habit of prevailing in such situations.

It's a fun story, quite lighthearted - certainly with less of the supremely dark humour found in Deadly Sugar - but it does touch on some of the everyday troubles we all know (alas) along the way.

Larry...He's one cool dude. Quiff, leather jacket, struts his ghostly stuff like a pro.

Travis...He's a lovely guy, deserving of a touch of shivery-spooky-ghostly-voyeur happiness in his downtrodden life.

This is a wonderful short read with a solid 'happy for now' ending and definite scope for a sequel (which I'd very, very, very much like).

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About Ofelia Gränd

Ofelia Gränd lives on the southern west coast of Sweden with her husband and their three children. At the moment she's on parental leave. She could give up her glamorous life as a stay-at-home mom, and go back to her job as a teacher if she wanted to. But why not take advantage of the situation when she's living in a parental leave utopia? Enough about her being a parent, you think, and you're quite right. Ofelia is a No Poo practiser, a pescatarian who bakes her own bread and makes her own soap. Now you wished that we'd stuck to the children, don't you?

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Purchase Links:

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Those Jeffries Boys
by Debbie McGowan

Language: English
Published: 26th May, 2016
Length: 101k words (344 pages) approx.
ISBN: 978 1 78645 045 6
Category: Fiction
Genre: Romance and Relationships, Contemporary Fiction, General Fiction

Three brothers: doting dads, dealing with the everyday challenges of fatherhood.

Following the imprisonment of his ex-girlfriend, Mike Jeffries has one priority: his six-month-old daughter, Bethan. Between caring for her and being a self-employed painter and decorator, he's already got enough on his plate, without his sisters-in-law insisting he's ready to date again. Now Bethan's grandmother intends to fight him for custody, and Mike's not sure he can rise to it.

Always up for an adventure, Andy Jeffries has finally found the perfect challenge: keeping the woman he loves satisfied and raising their twin daughters, Rosie and Sorsha. The problem is everyone else thinks he needs more, and dealing with his brothers' trials and tribulations means he's getting it, whether he wants it or not.

Dan Jeffries is about to become a father for the second time, and he's terrified, not that he's the kind of man to admit it. But after the premature birth of his daughter, Shu, he's taking no chances until his son is safely delivered into this world, which means putting a hold on his hunt for the perfect family home. However, the house he wants comes with a very big price tag, and not of the monetary kind.

Those Jeffries Boys is a novel-length character special. Part of Hiding Behind The Couch series. This story follows chronologically from Two By Two (Season Six) and continues in Reunions (Season Seven).

WARNING: this story contains intimate (moderately explicit) scenes between consenting opposite sex (F/M) adults.

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About Debbie McGowan
Blog: De-blog

I am an author, publisher and a social scientist. My academic specialism is gender and sexual politics and identity, so you can expect this to crop up now and then in my writing too! Not in an "in your face" kind of way - subtlety wins hearts and minds.

I write character-based/driven fiction - mostly general/contemporary, some (M/M and F/M) romance and a bit of sci-fi fantasy (light). Basically, I write about life. I've written a few stand alone novels and short stories, but my main work is the Hiding Behind The Couch series, which these days I'm referring to as a literary soap opera.

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Purchase Links:

Saturday, 30 April 2016




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Thursday, 28 April 2016

New Release: Spin Play by Alexis Woods

Title: Spin Play
Author: Alexis Woods
Genre: Contemporary MM Romance
Published: 30th April, 2016
Length: 14,000 words (58 pages) approx.

Now in his midthirties, college professor Ben, is tired of playing around. He's more than ready to stop with the hide-and-seek and start with the manhunt. The fantasy of his perfect mate becomes reality when the tables are turned during an evening out to celebrate his birthday. The music is cranked up loud, and the startlingly flexible Sawyer tempts Ben with his seductive moves. Ben's willing to play Sawyer's game, taking a chance on the adventure with all its twists and turns, and hoping his decision will be the winning move that will last a lifetime.

* * * * *

Southern Jersey Shores is a great series of short stories from Alexis Woods, the common themes running through them being the setting, of course (the clue's in the series name), and that they're MM romances.

What I love about a series like this is that each story focuses on different main characters, whilst also featuring cameo appearances by the characters from the other stories - there's something rather fun about recognising the characters behaving in familiar ways and pausing to think 'yep, that sounds like something Dare would do'.

What's also great is the subtle, everyday almost-snarky humour that lightens some fairly intense moments, and there are plenty of those throughout the series, perhaps more so in Ultimate Summer (SJS #3) than any of the other stories.

Spin Play is the story of Ben, a college professor who is single and comes across as being quite serious and responsible. His best friends, on the other hand, are not, and make what can only be described as irresponsible mistakes, always with the best of intentions. Ben is, without a doubt, the grown-up in this story, and in some ways is wise beyond his years.

What follows, therefore, is quite an interesting juxtaposition as the rather sedate Ben and 'startlingly flexible' Sawyer engage in a sexy courtship that had the Blondie song 'One Way or Another' stuck in my head the entire time I was editing.

As with the previous Southern Jersey Shores stories, Spin Play is a short story, complete in its own right and entirely stand-alone, but readers of the series will enjoy catching glimpses of characters from the previous stories.

Spin Play is Book 4 in the Southern Jersey Shores series.

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About the Author:
Always an avid reader and colorful dreamer, it was only a matter of time before taking pen to paper, oftentimes literally. I sing under my breath, tap my toes and swing my hips, much to the delight of my coworkers and friends. I’m a firm believer in every song tells a story and every story has a song, so each story I write has a song or theme, oftentimes both, behind it. I freely admit that becoming a romance author is the best mid-life crisis a girl could ever have.

Friday, 8 April 2016

New Release: Mission Accomplished by Sheila Kendall

Title: Mission Accomplished
Author: Sheila Kendall
Genre: contemporary/historical/romance/paranormal
Published: 8th April, 2016
Length: 65,800 words (230 pages) approx.
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-039-5 / eBook: 978-1-78645-040-1
Formats: paperback, ebook (epub, mobi, PDF)

When government cutbacks leave RAF pilot Steve Wilson without a job, he decides to invest his redundancy money in a family-run museum.

But Steve has an ulterior motive: a mission that leads him to a remote Yorkshire Dales village to fulfil a lifelong ambition, unaware of the repercussions his actions will have on the villagers and his own family...

...once long-buried secrets come to the surface. 

* * * * *

A novel that crosses genres, Mission Accomplished is the kind of story that's got a bit of everything - mystery, supernatural and romance, both historical and contemporary - indeed, the threads of past and present are entwined from the outset, although it is only as the mystery unfolds just how deeply entwined they are.

The setting is a village in the Yorkshire dales, with just the kinds of people you'd expect to find there, and what is particularly wonderful is that, aside from the main protagonists, most of the characters are older people, which is how it should be, because it is a story across two generations (grandparents/grandchildren).

Saying more would be tricky without giving away spoilers. Suffice to say, digging up the past is always bound to unearth a few unexpected surprises, often the kind that are better left undisturbed.

A great read, well-written, intriguing and with a touching conclusion.

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About Sheila Kendall
I was born and bred in Yorkshire, close to the Dales, and now live in Leeds. I am married and have two sons and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law.

I've been writing for most of my life. It's what keeps me sane, although I have to admit it isn't always easy, helped as I invariably am by our two gangster cats, aptly named Bonnie and Clyde.

Most of my inspiration comes from life, although not necessarily mine. I'm well past the heroine stage now! Like many other writers, one of my favourite pastimes is people watching, so, if you ever see a strange woman sitting scribbling in a café, beware! It could be me...

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Purchase Links:

Thursday, 31 March 2016

New Release: Jonathan's Promise by Hans M Hirschi

Jonathan's Promise is the latest release from Hans M Hirschi, aka The Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings.

It's a title I bestowed upon him as I staggered, battered, to the end of The Fallen Angels of Karnataka - Hans' fourth novel. No two ways about it, a Hirschi novel is an emotional ride, but it's one with a resolution, most often of the 'this is the only happy ending there can be' variety.

By that point, I'd already read and reviewed his first four novels, one of which was Jonathan's Hope, at the time, a stand-alone story. We discussed publishing his future works through Beaten Track and decided to forge ahead; Willem of the Tafel was the first Hirschi title published by Beaten Track last May. Jonathan's Promise is the fourth. Yes, once this author starts writing, he simply cannot stop!

I'll say I've 'enjoyed' all of Hans' stories, because I have, although sobbing on a train is not my idea of fun. They are extraordinary, unique stories. Whilst not romances as such (inasmuch as the plot is not primarily driven by an evolving romantic relationship), there are always a few spoonfuls of fairy-tale romance mixed in with the oodles of gut-wrenching realism. Even Willem of the Tafel, which is near-future dystopian sci-fi, offers a moving portrayal of love, because it's part of life, like family, births, marriages, deaths...

Today is release day for Jonathan's Promise, and anyone who read  Jonathan's Hope might be wondering, as I did when Hans told me he was writing it, 'how can there be a sequel?' After all, the end of Jonathan's Hope is - short of doing a Dynasty special - pretty final.'s not. Life goes on.

Now, I know the author, when he wrote Jonathan's Promise, earned enough Kleenex loyalty points to keep him in tissues for the rest of his days, but I didn't find it quite as emotionally tough as the first book, and that's because we each, as readers, connect with different characters. For me, book one was Dan's story, and I felt his love and his loss. I saw both Sean and Jonathan through Dan's eyes, and in many ways, his life is more tragic than Jonathan's, his happiness much harder earned. I loved Dan immensely, which was why the end of book one was so hard for me.

Book two is Jonathan's story, and it's wonderful through and through, laced with strong relationships, family bonds, the scent of love in the air...a tragedy or two. I've got to say, for me, those kinds of moments weren't quite so tough to cope with as in book one, in part because I was warned what to expect. After all, I was editing rather than reading for pleasure, which meant I needed to know what was coming up later in the story. It's the one of the few disadvantages of being an editor; I never get to 'read for fun' anymore, although I do still get to read. A lot.

And I get to read books like Jonathan's Promise - a worthy sequel to Jonathan's Hope and book two in the Jonathan Trilogy.

Read the author's release day post (which is a letter to Jonathan and Dan, and quite lovely) here:

Follow the Jonathan's Promise Blog Tour (giveaway, reviews, excerpts, interviews) from here:

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Purchase Links:

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Jonathan Trilogy: Book Two
by Hans M Hirschi

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Length: 63,000 words / 214 Pages (approx.)
Published: 31st March, 2016
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Jonathan made Dan a promise - a promise that will affect the remainder of his life. But what does he have left to live for?

When their grandson Parker and his fiancé Cody move in with him, the three of them embark on a journey to shed light on Dan’s roots.

A heart-warming sequel to Jonathan's Hope, Jonathan's Promise deals with aging and the ultimate consequences of wedding vows. Are we entitled to a second shot at happiness? When is 'for worse' too much to handle?
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In this trilogy:
Jonathan's Hope (Book 1)

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Paperback Release: Merzougaville, Baby by Stuart Ayris

I think it every time I read Stuart Ayris's latest offering: this is my favourite. But I think really this time, it is my favourite. There is something so...impossible to explain about Merzougaville, Baby, and, in fact, when I saw Stu in Derby last year and asked him, "What's the novel about?" his answer was, "It's Merzougaville, baby."

Stu writes with a kind of comforting mania. He's a beat writer out of time; he doesn't tell a story, he pours it. It's like wine that could be cheap, could be the dusty vintage from the back of some posh cellar, but when you're halfway down the glass, grimacing and laughing and crying with your mates, no matter the vintage. It's all just wine.
It’s all just words anyhow. It is what it is.
Words, rhythms, Stu-logisms...I'm a fan, I cannot lie.
Down below to my left there were valleys of orange and green, blue streams flecked with splashwhite and burble, shacks and specks and rocklined fields, dotpeople and flowers, all breathing and alive in this gaping glory between our mountain and all the others; all just a painting on the ground and no more, dropped from the high of the sky and unfurled into the world at the feet of these snow-topped cragwonder giants.
It's Merzougaville, baby.

Purchase Links:
Beaten Track [Paperback]
Amazon UK [Kindle Edition]
Amazon US [Kindle Edition]

About Stuart Ayris:
Stuart was born in the summer of 1969. He wrote his first novel, A Cleansing Of Souls, when he was twenty-two years old and then wrote nothing for many years. He then began writing The FRUGALITY Trilogy and published Tollesbury Time Forever in January 2012, The Bird That Nobody Sees in June 2012 and I Woke Up This Morning in April 2013. A novella, The Buddhas of Borneo, and his fifth full-length novel, The Magical Tragical Life of Edward Jarvis Huggins, followed in 2014.

Over the years Stuart has set up stalls in Romford market, spent two years working as a road sweeper and some time as a council gardener. He has been a psychiatric nurse since October 1997 and currently lives in Tollesbury, Essex, England.

He is married to Rebecca and has three children, Matthew, Daniel and James.

By Stuart Ayris:
A Cleansing of Souls
Bighugs, Love and Beer

Frugality (Trilogy)
Tollesbury Time Forever
I Woke Up This Morning
The Bird That Nobody Sees

The Buddhas of Borneo
The Magical Tragical Life of Edward Jarvis Huggins
Elysian Wonderland
Merzougaville, Baby

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

New Release: Turnabout by Jonathan Penn

Jonathan Penn is a very talented author who doesn't write anywhere near as much as he should. These days he's mostly too busy editing to 'put pen to paper'. Nonetheless, to date, he has five published stories, and whilst it was only a few days ago he told me, "If I never read Raising Cade again, it will be far too soon," I will state here, without reservation, I've loved all of his stories, Raising Cade included.

I should probably also mention that I was involved, in one way or another, in the publishing of four of those stories—all five, with the release of Turnabout (2nd ed.). I beta-read Raising Cade; I edited and published Homme for the Holidays and Aloha? Oy! I also edited Forbidden Broadway (MM Romance Group, 2015).

That only one of these stories earns Jonathan royalties (Aloha? Oy!) says much about his generosity. Both Raising Cade and Forbidden Broadway were written for the "Don't Read in the Closet" event organised by the MM Romance Group on Goodreads. The event matches readers with authors via a prompt-claiming system, and the stories are written and published for free.

Homme for the Holidays (an excellent festive sequel to Raising Cade) is part of Boughs of Evergreen anthology, published by Beaten Track in November 2014, royalties from which go to The Trevor Project.

And then there is Turnabout.

Originally published in 2014 as part of the Kickass Anthology (Mugen Press), Turnabout is a short story about self-belief and how the love of another is often the route to finally believing in ourselves. It's the story of Bobby and Cam, whose lives are violently interrupted by a homophobic thug, prompting Bobby to bravery.

Being a short story doesn't mean it packs less of an emotional punch. Jonathan writes scenes that are emotionally intense; they alternately set my heart racing in fear and make me melt in a puddle of tearful sadness/happiness/goo. However, short stories are difficult to review in detail without giving too much away.

The important point here (or one of two important points) is that Turnabout is a wonderful short story that is well worth the 99c cover price - see below for purchase links.

The other important point is that all net proceeds from the sale of Turnabout go to Eric Arvin's medical fund. You can read more about that here:

Purchase Links:
Beaten Track [ebook - multiple formats]
Smashwords [ebook - multiple formats]
Amazon UK [Kindle Edition] [Kindle Edition]
All Romance eBooks [ebook - multiple formats]

Kickass Anthology:
Amazon [ebook/paperback]

About Jonathan Penn:
Jonathan grew up in the South. While relatively new to the world of writing, he has been inventing tales for at least fifty-one years. He was probably also making stuff up during the two years prior to that, but as this was his pre-verbal period, there’s no evidence one way or the other. An armchair linguist, he has taught himself to ask, “Where is the bathroom?” in seven languages. He enjoys gardening, He gardens, and enjoys red wines, cooking, singing, theatre, and of course, writing. Jonathan reminds himself every day how fortunate he is to have shared the best and worst of the last thirty-five years with the man of his dreams.

Email Address:
Twitter: @jpennwrites
Beaten Track:

By Jonathan Penn:
Raising Cade
Homme for the Holidays
Aloha? Oy!
Forbidden Broadway