Thursday, 22 September 2016

New Release: The WAG and The Scoundrel by Debbie McGowan

Title: The WAG and The Scoundrel (Gray Fisher #1)
Author: Debbie McGowan
Genre: Crime, Thrillers and Mystery, LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Contemporary Fiction
Published: 22nd September, 2016
Length: 87,000 words (310 pages) approx
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-071-5
eBook: 978-1-78645-072-2
ASIN: B01L7EZY8U
Formats: ebook (epub, mobi, PDF)
URL: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/?n1=publications&id=229

Three years after the death of his civil partner, DCI Gray Fisher is finally ready to make the break from the police. For too long, he has used his work as a means of survival; now, he's looking forward to a nice, quiet life in academia.

Investment banker Will Richards is a walking, talking contradiction. With his love of surfing and his farmhouse menagerie of rescue animals, he's far removed from Gray's idea of the perfect man, but that's 'not a problem'. Gray wants nothing more than friendship, and Will seems happy to accept that. After all, with his mum's illness and resigning from his job, he's got enough on his plate already.


Assuming, of course, he's telling the truth.


When former colleague, Rob Simpson-Stone, asks for Gray's help with a case of a destitute banker who faked his own death, Gray is understandably reluctant to get involved...until Rob reveals the identity of one of the suspects.


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Editor's Review
(Andrea Harding - she's my editor, and you can't have her. Just kidding, but I don't know what I'd do without her. If you'd like her to be your editor, too, you can find her at www.expresseditingsolutions.co.uk.)

If you're familiar with Beaten Track Publishing, and let's face it, if you're here or reading this you probably are, you absolutely must be familiar with Our Deb, the literary genius that is Ms. McGowan, and her longstanding series Hiding Behind the Couch.

You can imagine our delight when quite some time ago, upon finishing HBTC Season 6, Two by Two, that whisperings started about a novel revolving around the intriguing if somewhat elusive Gray Fisher. Now this examining of 'more peripheral' characters from 'The Circle' - the core group of characters in Hiding Behind the Couch - has been expertly navigated before, in Crying in the Rain, to mixed review. Like Crying in the Rain, The WAG and The Scoundrel does feature LGBTQ characters, but if you're expecting this to be some kind of M/M steamfest, you'll be sorely disappointed. If, however, your gratification lies in an experience of genuine characters portraying real people, you will adore this intimate audience with real men.

Gray Fisher has had more than his fair share of trauma and problems, but he's a strong, manly man; you'll find no 'softly', 'sighing' or 'simpering' here. He is hardened through past experience, and we bear witness a realistic demonstration of when the head and heart collide, and the blossoming of a friendship strays into something more.

Finding it hard to balance his expertise as a detective, and his feelings towards his friend Will, Gray struggles with a plethora of issues; he needs to learn to be alone, to deal with his prior addiction, and learn to open his heart, all whilst juggling with the idea of helping former colleague Rob Simpson-Stone with a very intriguing case. Our other protagonist, the aforementioned Rob, has his own issues to deal with, in his hopes of regrouping his little family, dealing with the death of his former lover, and trying to move on in a way that balances his professional and family life. The struggles that both men seem to go through are somewhat similar, but seeing the way they prioritise and grow in different ways is fascinating as it unfolds.

Ultimately, The WAG and The Scoundrel is a crime thriller; a detective story, if you will. However, like all of Debbie McGowan's books, this is character-driven fiction at its best. With a whole showcase of richly drawn detailed characters whom we get to know and understand, both human and animal alike, this is a delightful offering of people, both at their best and worst. I challenge anyone to remain unmoved by Will's furry family and ragtag bunch of accomplices, and to anticipate any of the twists and turns that befall our protagonists in their quest for the truth. Ultimately, I challenge you to go into this book with an open mind, and to enjoy the ride.


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About Debbie McGowan
Debbie McGowan is an author and publisher based in a semi-rural corner of Lancashire, England. She writes character-driven, realist fiction, celebrating life, love and relationships. A working class girl, she 'ran away' to London at seventeen, was homeless, unemployed and then homeless again, interspersed with animal rights activism (all legal, honest ;)) and volunteer work as a mental health advocate. At twenty-five, she went back to college to study social science - tough with two toddlers, but they had a 'stay at home' dad, so it worked itself out. These days, the toddlers are young women (much to their chagrin), and Debbie teaches undergraduate students, writes novels and runs an independent publishing company, occasionally grabbing an hour of sleep where she can.

Website: DebbieMcGowan.co.uk / HidingBehindTheCouch.com
Blog: De-Blog
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Purchase Links:

Monday, 19 September 2016

Heir of Locksley – Cover Reveal

Beaten Track Publishing is delighted to officially reveal the stunning cover for N.B. Dixon’s debut novel, Heir of Locksley.



Cover designed by the always awesome Natasha Snow - you can see more of her covers/contact her via her website: natashasnow.com.

The first book in the Outlaw’s Legacy series, Heir of Locksley is the story of Robin Hood as you’ve never read it before.

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Blurb:

Robin of Locksley is a rebel, more comfortable roaming Sherwood Forest with his longbow and courting the village girls than learning how to run a manor.

An innocent flirtation with a peasant girl soon lands Robin in trouble, and worse, he finds himself inexplicably attracted to Will Scathelock, his best friend since childhood. Robin must decide whether to follow the rules of society or his own conscience.

Meanwhile, his neighbour, Guy of Gisborne, is anxious to get his hands on the Locksley estate and he will do anything to make it happen - even murder.

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

New Releases: Once in May and Happy Endings by Ofelia Gränd

Title: Once in May (Nortown #3)
Author: Ofelia Gränd
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Erotic, Adult, Holidays and Celebrations
Published: 1st September, 2016
Length: 41,000 words (160 pages) approx.
ISBN: 978 1 78645 078 4
ASIN: B01JSHVJKA
Formats: ebook (epub, mobi, PDF)
URL: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/?n1=publications&id=223

In an attempt to run from his past, John has spent the last few years building walls around himself. He knows the best way to stay safe is to keep people at arm's length or preferably out of sight. During weak moments, he might wish he had someone, but he's not ready. After all, it takes seven years for the body to replace all its cells. He has four years to go before he even can think about being around people.

Zachary is always on the move, always on his way to somewhere. He's going from job to job, from country to country. Contrary to what people might think, he wants nothing more than to find a place to call home, and he knows just where. This time, he is ready. This time, he will stay in Nortown. But when he arrives to buy the log cabin he thought would be his, he finds it inhabited. When he goes to talk to the new owner, he is met by the most beautiful green eyes followed by a door slammed in his face.

John should've known the peace he had found in Nortown wouldn't last. One day everything was fine, the next a mountain of a man starts showing up wherever he goes. All Zachary wants is to be close to the quiet man who has moved into his cabin. If following him around is the only way, then so be it. Sooner or later, John will get used to having him there...at least, if Zachary hangs around long enough.


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Title: Happy Endings (Nortown #3.5)
Author: Ofelia Gränd
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Erotic, Short Stories, Adult
Published: 1st September, 2016
Length: 8,000 words (36 pages) approx.
ISBN: 978 1 78645 079 1
ASIN: B01L7MTTIS
Formats: ebook (epub, mobi, PDF)
URL: http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/?n1=publications&id=222

Tristan knows something is wrong. Aiden is acting weird. He shies away from Tristan's touch, goes to bed early, and is obsessed with working long hours in his massage studio.

Aiden's back is killing him, but he can't let Tristan know. If Tristan knows, he'll insist on Aiden taking time off, and he can't. It's important to appear professional, and he needs the money. Tristan can't keep paying their bills forever.

Tristan will figure out what's bothering Aiden, but first, he's going to enjoy his weekly massage - unless, somehow, he can convince Aiden to switch places with him. Either way, he's going to enjoy it.


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Once in May and Happy Endings are the latest offerings from Ofelia Gränd and part of the Nortown series - stories about lumberjacks falling in love.

Some interesting facts about Nortown:
  • It's a small, fictional town, probably in some remote, heavily forested part of Sweden.
  • The population primarily consists of bearded lumberjacks who own acres of forest, live in really cold cabins and are more than likely gay.
  • In spite of the only businesses in town being a café and lumberjacking, someone thought it would be a great idea to set up a massage parlour there. That's not so bizarre, now I think about it. All that axe swinging and lumber lugging has gotta play havoc with the old shoulders and lower back.
I love the world Ofelia has created in the Nortown series. I don't care that the population is disproportionately male and gay. I don't care that in real life I'm none too fond of beardies. It doesn't matter that I've never been anywhere anything like Nortown.

I was going to say I've never met anyone remotely like Tristan, Tom or Zachary, but I only have to pop down the road to the Ringtail Industrial Estate to our 'female friendly' timber merchant (yes, they put it on a sign on the perimeter fence - I think I may have played a part in that, although that wasn't quite what I meant, lads, but anyway...) to find men just like them, whose seemingly sole mode of communication is grunting in various timbres, and who appear mystified by women. Who are these delicate creatures? What do they want? Why are they here?

Hm. Maybe Nortown's demography isn't skewed after all.

Perhaps I should explain why my tone is a little flippant, or, in fact, let the author explain. In the acknowledgements of Once in a Snowstorm (Nortown #1), she says:
"This story started out as a joke. I read a thread on Goodreads about tropes in M/M Romance and was laughing at all the things mentioned there. I told Amy Spector and Al Stewart about it and said that I would write a story including as many of them as I could possibly piece together. That was how it started, and though there is still a healthy dose of the clichés I often laugh at in this story, I started to care about my characters."
Never has that care for the characters been more apparent than in Once in May (Nortown #3), released today (September 1st, 2016), along with Happy Endings (Nortown #3.5).

I'm going to deal with Happy Endings first, because it's only a short story, and, it has to be said, Once in May is an absolute showstopper, so it deserves spotlights and fireworks and all that celebratory stuff.

So...

Happy Endings
This short (just under 8,000 words) continues the story of Tristan and Aiden, who are the stars of Once in a Snowstorm (Nortown #1), and who already experienced a brief reprise in The Empty Egg (Nortown #2.5 - 4,600 words of fudge and smut).

Of all the grunting beardies in Nortown, the prize has to go to Tristan (his dog is called Og), so it's not really surprising that a few months down the line (or years? or weeks? does time exist in Nortown?) Tristan and Aiden still haven't quite nailed communication. The outcome is a rather delicious session in a massage parlour, where Tristan puts his tender touch to good effect, and Aiden thanks his lucky star it wasn't eucalyptus oil in that bottle.

This is a fun, short steamy read, easy on the angst, heavy on the lavender-based lube.

Once in May
I honestly never thought I'd get tearful at a Nortown story. The first story was the trope slayer; the second...well, I loved Tom, but mostly I wanted to tell Jason to leave his dog and go back to the city. He grew on me, a little. However, I, like most readers of the series, was very interested in John - the shy, socially anxious guy who makes a few significant yet fleeting appearances in Once in a Forest (Nortown #2).

Once in May is John's story. It's also Zachary's story, and these two guys...well, they're not the grunting beardies we've met before. True, Zach's got the beard and checked shirt going on. He's big, muscular, and if he looks anything like the cover...phew! *fans face*

Actually, on that note, the covers are all designed by Ofelia and they're awesome! (IMHO. Not that humble. The covers rock, I don't care if you don't agree.)

Both John and Zachary have complex and difficult pasts, and these create some intense emotional scenes - a content warning here for PTSD, spousal abuse, homophobic parents and frighteningly clingy ex-boyfriends. The outcome of the story (given it's a romance) is a happy one, but there are moments in this book that knocked me sideways, and I read/write a lot of tough stuff.

I really can't do justice to this story without spoiling it, but this one short sentence - about Zach - is the key to what makes it special, even if Zach's methods are a bit heavy-handed, but hey, he's a grunting beardy lumberjack who wields an axe like the pro he is.
All he wanted was to see John smile.
These two additions bring the total word count for the Nortown series to 114,828 words!

And (sorry, but it has to be said) that's a lot of bang for your buck.

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About Ofelia Gränd
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes contemporary and paranormal, and dreams about one day writing a post-apocalyptic story—if that ever happens we'll see.

Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.

When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods. She's recently discovered the miracle of podcasts and spends her strolls listening to wise people talk.

Sign up for Ofelia's Mailing List to get a free short story, and updates on new releases and ongoing projects.

You may also find her on various social media.

Goodreads | Google+ | Facebook 1 | Facebook 2 | Pinterest | Twitter | Website

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Once in May Purchase Links:

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Happy Endings Purchase Links: