Saturday, 31 December 2016

2016 Release: Glitter Gabe by Alex C. Clarke

Title: Glitter Gabe (English Edition) (Glitter Series Book One)
Author: Alex C. Clarke
Language: English
Published: 19th December, 2016
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 9781786450869
eBook ISBN: 9781786450876
ASIN: B01MU1JRG6
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Adult

BLURB:
Two lonely souls who grew apart are trying to make their lost love shine again.

Gabriel and Xabi first met when they were teenagers. Gabe was already openly gay whereas Xabi doubted he'd ever come out. Life isn't always simple at such a troubled age, especially when you have a strong personality.

Ten years after their first encounter, life offers them a second chance. Will Xabi manage to make his Glitter Gabe shine again? Will Gabriel give Xabi the opportunity to prove he's changed?

Discover their love story through the landscapes of the Basque countryside and Paris.

REVIEW:
Alex C. Clarke is an incredibly talented author. Not only did she write this book in its original French (her native language), but she also wrote the translation, and her English is excellent. It has a distinct French accent and not because of the characters and settings. There are descriptions and phrases that, when translated into English, create a wholly different feeling to the same words in the order native English speakers expect.

As editor, I endeavoured to keep those linguistic nuances. Well, if I'm honest, Gabriel gave me no choice. He's a strong character and his voice is distinct. I also enjoyed learning a little about Basque culture, of which I knew nothing at all.

It's difficult to say much more without spoiling the story (I try not to go beyond what the author offers in their blurb), but what I can say is Gabriel and Xabi won me over, even if, at times, I wanted to shake some sense into them both. That kind of characterisation, where I feel real emotions (even the negative ones), is for me the mark of an excellent story. Better still, there is a translation of book two, Fabulous Fabiola, already in progress.

Buy 'Glitter Gabe (English Edition) (Glitter Series Book One)': 

2016 Release: Take A Chance Anthology

Title: Take A Chance Anthology: A Collection of Gay Romance for New Adults
Author: Chase Potter, J.A. Rock, Jamie Deacon, Kelley York, Dee Aditya, Lynn Michaels, Eric Gober, Elinor Gray, Debbie McGowan, Kari Jo Spear, Melissa E Costa, Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Language: English
Published: 15th December, 2016
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78645-111-8
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78645-112-5
ASIN: B01MRT5FHZ
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Fantasy, Short Stories, Contemporary Fiction, New Adult

BLURB:
A single moment can change everything.

A university student preparing to confront the adolescent crush who betrayed him. A demon embroiled in a battle against his very nature. A soldier, mentally scarred after fighting in The Great War, torn between propriety and his heart. Though separated by time and distance, culture and reality, these young men all have one thing in common: they each stand at a crossroads in their life and face a choice that will alter the course of their future.

The twelve tales in this collection of gay romantic fiction range from sweet to erotic, contemporary to historical, paranormal to grittily realistic. Whether centred around the fear associated with coming out, the thorny issue of trust, or the struggle for survival, each story explores in its own way the courage needed to overcome personal obstacles and take a chance on love.

STORIES:
Reflections by Chase Potter
Stranger Than Stars by J.A. Rock
Another Story by Jamie Deacon
Howl by Kelley York
A Boy Named Khwahish by Dee Aditya
Want you Bad by Lynn Michaels
Far From Texas by Eric Gober
The Right Words by Elinor Gray
Class-A by Debbie McGowan
Lockdown by Kari Jo Spear
Dream Infected by Melissa E Costa
Cheese and Pickle by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

REVIEW:
The best thing about working on Take A Chance was that I didn't edit it! Hurrah! Don't misunderstand; I love my work, but the reason I'm a publisher is my love of books and reading. By the time I got to these stories, they were already well-polished, making for an experience akin to reading for pleasure.

Thus, I must congratulate Jamie Deacon, Sherri Jordan Asble and all of the authors for the excellent work they put in to writing and editing these stories. The result is twelve short reads that - whilst themed around 'taking a chance' - are all very different from one another. They are all wonderful!

Buy 'Take A Chance Anthology: A Collection of Gay Romance for New Adults': 

2016 Release: Common Sense by Hans M Hirschi

Title: Common Sense - In Business & Life
Author: Hans M Hirschi
Language: English
Published: 15th December, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-061-6
eBook: 978-1-78645-062-3
Category: Non-Fiction
Genre: Business

BLURB:
Common sense is like great music, mesmerizing art or funny jokes: difficult to pinpoint but we all recognize it when we see it. In this book, Hans M Hirschi explores the concept of common sense, through philosophy, reflection, and practice.

Using his thorough experience from business and management from all corners of the world, Hans demonstrates that 'common sense' is not as common as you might think. What is regarded as common sense in Sweden isn't necessarily true in China, Tunisia or Brazil. He uses clear examples to provide insight into cultural differences that affect the world of business as well as everyday life.

This second edition, completely re-edited and with a new chapter on Talent Management, will help you use your common sense all over the world - in business and in life.

REVIEW:
I can't really add to what it says in the blurb, because this book does exactly as it says. I enjoyed it more than I expected (I read fiction for fun, non-fiction for academic work), particularly as the few business books I've glanced over in the past have been full of buzz-BS about blue skies and flag poles and forward planning and so on, ad nauseam.

Common Sense - In Business & Life is nothing like that, with its relatively informal style, down-to-earth examples and research-based analysis. The academic part of me twitched a little at the author's decision to not include reference to his sources, but he does extend an open invitation to readers to engage him in discussion.

All in all, whilst this is not a book I would choose to read, I'm pleased I had the opportunity to do so and imagine middle managers in particular will find familiar scenarios and positive ideas for their own work situation.

Buy 'Common Sense - In Business & Life': 

2016 Release: Of The Bauble by Debbie McGowan

Title: Of The Bauble
Author: Debbie McGowan
Language: English
Published: 15th December, 2016
ISBN: eBook: 978 1 78645 106 4
Paperback: 978 1 78645 110 1
ASIN: B01N3KJIVH
Category: Fiction
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Humour, Romance and Relationships, Fantasy, Holidays and Celebrations

BLURB:
When nineteen-year-old Kieran O'Sullivan takes a trip to the attic for the Christmas decorations, it proves to be an illuminating experience.

Box includes:
- a hapless but not altogether helpless student
- a pedantic supernatural being (or two, or...well, quite a few)
- a funky older sister
- the coolest mum in the world
- a naughty rescue bunny and her easily led feline sidekick
- an insightful ex-girlfriend
- twinkle lights
- tinsel
- baubles

* Warning - may contain traces of magic and a smidgeon of social commentary (hey, it's a book by Debbie McGowan - did you expect anything else?) *

Of the Bauble is a young adult, biromantic/non-binary fantasy romance.

REVIEW:
(proofreader's review)
So I've just finished reading the book for the second time (one of the perks of being a proofreader), yet I'm still wishing there was more, because it's that good!
If nothing else is going to need my immediate intention, I'll happily read it a third time...

Yes, there's magic, and romance, and Christmassy things, yet there's so much more as well!
It's very clever for a start; I kept thinking 'how is Deb going to pull this one off?', knowing that she would do it brilliantly, but not quite seeing how she could.
It's that suspense that's one of the things that make the story stand out from the usual Christmas fare. Another aspect is the loveable and very real characters, including some non-human ones. It may also have made me shed a few tears along the way, but I'm not admitting that publicly...

And about the non-binary aspect: much as I love Alpha male/Alpha male stories, in this case having a GQ character only adds to the mystery aspect of the story.

So what else can I say? It's really hard to do the story justice without spoilers; words are poor... ;-)

Buy 'Of The Bauble': 

2016 Release: Hammer's Thief by Alexis Woods

Title: Hammer's Thief
Author: Alexis Woods
Language: English
Published: 1st December, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-100-2
eBook: 978-1-78645-101-9
ASIN: B01MPZYC2E
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Fantasy, Holidays and Celebrations

BLURB:
Eight nights to fall in love.

Running away from his foster home at eighteen, Locke struggles to survive the brutal winter streets in Atlantic City. Trust is a fickle thing, and Locke hasn't had much of it. He's worked hard for everything he has. When a helpful security guard takes him in during a Code Blue, Locke discovers that some things are more than they seem. His fantasy becomes reality, but sometimes reality is too good to be true.

Graced by God, Judah Maccabee has dwelt in Yahweh's kingdom for nigh on two thousand years, rising through His ranks to become a leader among the warrior angels. A blessing bestowed, Yahweh has found the one for him. Now Judah has only the eight nights of Chanukah to fall in love with the one who will complete him. The only catch - his other half must love him in return if he is to stay earthbound. But expecting Locke to fall just as hard and fast as he does rebounds in a devastating way.

When egos rule and demons lurk, can these two men pull together, trust in family and faith, and earn love? And can they do it in a single week?

REVIEW:
This is the second story that is part of Chosen Angels, the first being Lion's Hero, which is part of Boughs of Evergreen anthology. The stories are fully stand-alone, but of the same canon, and the characters from Lion's Hero appear in Hammer's Thief, so it would be worth reading Lion's Hero as well (and possibly before Hammer's Thief).

This is perhaps a little more 'typical MM romance' than I would normally read, but it is beautifully written, and the fantasy adventure than runs alongside the romance is great. I really liked Locke, and Judah to a lesser extent, but my favourite 'character' is Yahweh - portrayed as a truly loving father with a sense of humour.

Alexis Woods has a very smooth writing style and a great way with words, and having read pretty much every story she's written, to my mind, she excels at fantasy/romance.

Buy 'Hammer's Thief': 

2016 Release: Albion Calling by Stuart Ayris

Title: Albion Calling
Author: Stuart Ayris
Language: English
Published: 5th December, 2016
Publisher: Beaten Track/Stuart Ayris
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-102-6
Category: Fiction
Genre: Experimental / Surreal, Literary, Humour

BLURB:
Henry John Bateman is a hospital porter. He drinks too much alcohol, does too much cocaine and has been married too many times.

Yet somehow, he discovers, beneath the staples of an old map, a small piece of land owned by no man, no lord, no council and no government, and he sets out for that land so that he may rest his weary head.

But it was never going to be that easy. Not for Henry John Bateman. Not once he meets Oh Emmylou. Not with that bakery girl he's left behind who might be alive or she might be dead. And certainly not when Albion comes calling...

REVIEW:
Stu Ayris is a truly unique author. I know of absolutely no other author who writes the way he does. His novels live on the genius/lunatic line, and at first glance, Albion Calling appears to have taken up camp in the land of lunacy.

But actually, the clue that this isn't all some mad rambling nonsense is in the chapter titles. You may well recognise what they are, because they all take this form: I I I I IV IV I I V IV I I. If you don't, no problem. It's explained in the book...eventually. ;)

The other point I would make here is that to get the best out of any Stuart Ayris story - and particularly this one - you should read them aloud. The language is lyrical and rhythmic - I dare say hypnotic - and the story follows stream of thought (Henry John Bateman's), not necessarily chronologically.

A bottle of wine might be an idea, too.

Buy 'Albion Calling': 

2016 Release: Heir of Locksley by N.B. Dixon

Title: Heir of Locksley (Outlaw's Legacy #1)
Author: N.B. Dixon
Language: English
Published: 1st December, 2016
Publisher: Beaten Track
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78645-080-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78645-081-4
ASIN: B01LZ6Y88F
Category: Fiction
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, History, Romance and Relationships, Adventure

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.

REVIEW:
I hadn't realised until I read Heir of Locksley that I have a bit of a soft spot for historical semi-fiction. OK, I know Robin Hood is legend, and the research indicates there may have been a Robin of Locksley, but whether he robbed to the rich to give to the poor is arguable.

Whether Robin existed or not is by the by. What is true is that N.B. Dixon put a great deal of work into researching the legend in order to create this impressive retelling of Robin's story, and in so doing acknowledged that it is entirely plausible (and probable) Robin was not heterosexual.

Fair warning: this novel is NOT MM romance, but it is only book one of a four-part series and there will be developments between Robin and Will. I won't say more than that (the information is available on the author's website - nbdixonauthor.com - if you want to know more).

I've discussed the genre with the author, because to me, this is very much an older YA story, and it's the kind that I think will 'grow up' with its readers. The series follow Robin through his life, so it's one to read in order (for those who come across this review after the other books are published).

Buy 'Heir of Locksley (Outlaw's Legacy #1)': 

2016 Release: Fighting The Stars by J P Walker

Title: Fighting The Stars (Knights of The Sun Book Two)
Author: J P Walker
Language: English
Published: 1st December, 2016
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78645-016-6
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78645-017-3
ASIN: B01LZ7KWQW
Category: Fiction
Genre: Young Adult, Romance and Relationships, Fantasy, Adventure

BLURB:
The Guardians have fought their first battle against Vulgaar and won, but at what cost?

In this sequel to Knights of the Sun, we follow the Guardians and the Draxyl rebels in their quest to vanquish darkness. Could it be that looking up into the night sky and asking for help holds the key to saving them all?

Shye is now a Knight of the Sun, sworn to protect Sol and her realm of Aureia, but he has lost Dusk - the love of his life - in the process. He has been promised her return by Vulgaar, but what price will Shye have to pay? Will he pay it? And will it bring about what he hopes for?

Veil is living her life with Pete Standon, the man she once protected and has always loved. But her happiness seems short-lived, forcing Pete to make a decision that will change both their lives forever.

Emily is a little girl who is more special than anyone could ever know. When Kin saves her from a terrible accident, it soon becomes clear he must keep her from those who would use her gifts for their own sinister gain.

Since Lash left Stormcry, she and a small band of Draxyls have been travelling aimlessly, on the run from Vulgaar and his many eyes around the world. Powerful friends come to their aid.

Are they strong enough together to defeat Vulgaar and his ever-growing army of darkness?

In this series
Knights of The Sun
Fighting The Stars

REVIEW:
I said to J P Walker, "I've got a serious crush on Kin." She said, "Really? He's a bit of a dweeb." Or words to that effect. Whatever, I'll tell you now that I totally can't see Kin as anything less than a hero. Although...maybe he's more Castiel than Gabriel? Hmm...

Fighting The Stars is book two of Knights Of The Sun, and it would be a good idea to read the series in order. It's young adult - adult characters, but written for a young adult readership - fantasy with a bit of romance in book one. In book two, the romantic aspects take a back seat for the battle of good vs evil.

But good and evil are somewhat tenuous terms. Shye is a Knight of the Sun and a former Guardian - the epitome of good, one might think. Lash is a Draxyl, a dark being governed by the through-and-through evil Vulgaar. I can't wait for him to get his...I hope he gets his... :o Sol is a priestess, a being of light. However, I had my suspicions about her after what happened with Shye and Dusk in book one, so I'm reserving judgement.

The ending to this is the setup for book three. J P Walker needs to write faster, because I really need to know what happens!

Buy 'Fighting The Stars (Knights of The Sun Book Two)':

2016 Release: If I Should Stumble by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Title: If I Should Stumble (Tork and Adam #3)
Author: Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Language: English
Published: 1st December, 2016
ISBN: eBook: 9781786450913
ASIN: B01MDQFXN9
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Contemporary Fiction, New Adult

BLURB:
Book three in the Tork and Adam series

Love is sure and timeless and forever. It whispers over the morning coffee and the last thought before sleep. Love is beyond hope, and cruel as life.

Kaz has been in the UK for almost a year, but the days pass by in an endless round of alcohol and nothingness. He has a story but no words good or bad enough to tell it, until one day, he is assigned a new peer mentor who asks him to help train a sponsored running team. Something that was stretched as old parchment breaks inside, and memories begin to re-surface.

Zack is overjoyed when his friend Adam asks him to be part of the sponsored run team trying to make money for the local homeless shelter. All day he makes cakes to lighten people's load, but something is missing from his life. Then he meets the boy with eyes like the desert, and with every step he runs, Zack's light burns away the darkness in Kaz's heart.

As the race heats gets nearer, Tork, Adam, Zack and Jo realise that under Kaz's careful programme, they have a chance to qualify and set right some of the wrongs of this world.

This book features the characters Tork and Adam from The Invasion of Tork and The Invasion of Adam.

REVIEW:
This story...

You know when you're ill? I don't mean with a cold or a bug or whatever, but really ill. The kind of poorly where your insides feel ragged and raw and like they're on fire. Flu, or post-op pain - that kind of thing?

If I Should Stumble is the literary equivalent.

What I want to say in this editor's review, I can't, because it will spoil too much of the story, and I know how important it is to the authors (and therefore to me) that this story is approached with and open heart and mind. What I can say is the opening Prologue is one of the most devastating reads of my life, in part because it's real. By the time I reached Chapter One, I was hurting so much and compelled to read on because whether the happy ending came from reality or imagination, I desperately needed it.

The second Prologue floored me. Specifically, the lead up to the line from which the title of this story came is just...eegads. I can't tell you, but you owe it to yourself, and to the real Kaz and those like him, to read this story. It is brilliant. Bring tissues.

Buy 'If I Should Stumble (Tork and Adam #3)': 

2016 Release: Lunchtime Nibbles by Claire Davis and Al Stewart

Title: Lunchtime Nibbles (Volume One)
Author: Claire Davis and Al Stewart
Language: English
Published: 1st December, 2016
ISBN: eBook: 9781786450968
ASIN: B01MPXDBZH
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Humour, Romance and Relationships, Erotic, Short Stories, New Adult

BLURB:
Lunchtime Nibbles
Volume One

Two short, fiery stories with enough spice to satisfy the biggest carnal appetites.

* * * * *

Cheese and Pickle

Harvey and Greg work in the same office. Of course Harvey noticed Greg - who wouldn't notice the beardie hottie with muscles aplenty to silence even the noisiest team meeting? Then a home visit turns into a car-rocking tryst of spectacular proportions, and suddenly Tuesday lunchtimes become the highlight of Harvey's week.

But will a quickie with the recalcitrant Greg be enough, or will something more meaningful develop?

* * * * *

The Detonator

Featuring Tork and Adam from The Tork and Adam series

Adam is a sex god. At least, that's what he tells himself.

Tork is a green-haired mind-reader.

They haven't been together for long, but when Adam realises Tork's birthday is coming up, he knows he has to make this the best birthday ever. But what to buy someone like Tork? And how much to spend?

Every time Tork calls, Adam's knees turn to jelly, and he's not so much a sex god as a whimpering idiot.

Can Adam take control and make the birthday dinner perfect?

What happens when the kitchen sparks end up in the bedroom with Tork and Adam naked?

Cameo appearance by Dickens the cat.

REVIEW:
These two short stories are, I think, the closest Claire Davis and Al Stewart have come to writing throwaway romance. Of course, it would be an absolute crime to throw away anything that these authors write, But that's not what I mean. You see, I've been reading and editing Claire and Al's work for more than two years now, and they have a talent for writing the real, gut-wrenching stuff.

In this respect, The Detonator is somewhat misleading, because all the other stories in the Tork and Adam series are profoundly deep and deal with serious social issues, such as mental ill-health, homelessness, low self-esteem and PTSD. The Detonator, on the other hand, offers some resolution to the saga of Tork and Adam's ongoing relationship. In other words, this is one for the readers, and I do believe it was written because the readers requested it, which is nice. :D

Cheese and Pickle doesn't quite escape the deep stuff. It's also the kind of story that some might find hard to believe could happen in real life, and yet it does. I would wager there are a great many of us who have experienced, at some point in our lives, a relationship where the level of intimacy far exceeds the level of communication.

Whilst these two stories are great for a lunchtime nibble, they'll no doubt give people something to think/talk about for the rest of the afternoon.

"Did you see what Mavis was reading in the staffroom at lunchtime?"
"No? What?"
"Pure filth. It's shocking."
"Really?"
"Yeah. I must ask her for the title..."

Buy 'Lunchtime Nibbles (Volume One)': 

2016 Release: Sandy the Sea Turtle by Ashley Vallance

Title: Sandy the Sea Turtle
Author: Ashley Vallance
Language: English
Published: 11th November, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-107-1
eBook: 978-1-78645-108-8
ASIN: B01N3YO4XE
Category: Non-Fiction
Genre: Children's Fiction, Animals and Animal Care

BLURB:
Learning to swim can be a scary thing...especially if you are a small sea turtle called Sandy.

Sandy keeps missing out on all the fun on the beautiful beaches because he is afraid of the big blue ocean. Will he manage to muster the courage to dip his flipper into the waves?

With the help of his friends Dorris the Dolphin, William the Whale and Colin the Crab, Sandy may make it to the ocean...

REVIEW:
Another awesome children's story from Ashley Vallance, telling the tale of Sandy the baby sea turtle who's got cold feet about his first dip in the ocean.

The book has been written for younger children (under 4) who enjoy being read to, or for older children (5-10) to read independently. The story is illustrated with photographs of the animals that feature in the story.

Buy 'Sandy the Sea Turtle': 

2016 Release: Lead in the Veins by Imani M. Tafari-Ama

Title: Lead in the Veins: Poetic Reflections on Life...
Author: Imani M. Tafari-Ama
Language: English
Published: 28th November, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-113-2
eBook: 978-1-78645-114-9
ASIN: B01N6F3KGQ
Category: Non-Fiction
Genre: Poetry, Politics, Feminism, Colonialism

BLURB:
Lead in the Veins is Dr. Imani Tafari-Ama's critical synopsis of development concerns confronting Jamaica - including unresolved issues of colonialism and its aftermath; political complicity with violence, masculinity and the incorporation of some men into the prevailing discourse of violence. Passion, love and loss also take their place in this fast-paced text, while the final words are devoted to an exploration of philosophical and existential questions.

Dr. Imani Tafari-Ama, who holds a Ph.D. in Developmental Studies from the Institute of Social Studies and Erasmus University in The Hague, The Netherlands, has done extensive research and development work in the areas of gender, justice, violence, sexuality, poverty and political economy. She is also an expert in the use of development communication techniques including audiovisual documentation, workshops, drama, focus group discussions, face-to-face and telephone interviews and surveys as data-gathering instruments. Her Doctoral thesis, Blood, Bullets and Bodies: Sexual Politics Below Jamaica's Poverty Line (2006), now a published book, is a comprehensive case study of Southside, an inner-city community in Kingston, Jamaica, which explores historical and contemporary connections among bourgeois democracy, urban violence, political economy, sexuality and identity politics to show the complex contradictions that are inherent to the Northern Caribbean island.

A Pan-Afrikan visionary, Dr. Tafari-Ama also lectures on a wide range of topics including identity politics, violence, gender and embodiment, feminism/womanism, and Participating Action Research.

REVIEW:
A short collection of thought-provoking Jamaican feminist poetry, or perhaps 'womanist'. Knowing the author's academic interests, I anticipated these would be in keeping with radical feminist ideology, but I fell foul of my own cultural bias, because that would be radical feminism as conceptualised within white western democracies, which is akin to measuring water volume with a sieve.

The poetry is stunning, beautifully penned. The experience of reading it is like watching blood run from a wound.

Buy 'Lead in the Veins: Poetic Reflections on Life, Love and (In)justice': 

2016 Release: Just Your Average Guy by Paul Jason

Title: Just Your Average Guy
Author: Paul Jason
Language: English
Published: 27th October, 2016
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78645-069-2
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78645-070-8
ASIN: B01M05DFJD
Category: Non-Fiction
Genre: Memoir, Biography, LGBT, Health, Family and Lifestyle

BLURB:
I wrote this memoir with the intention of it appealing to as wide an audience as possible - women, wives and partners of cross-dressers, admirers and anyone with a general interest in gender crossover. The scenarios portrayed should therefore be as interesting to the straight reader, as indeed to the gay or trans.

Whilst many books are available by out-of-the-closet and actively on-scene members of the transgender community, I have approached this subject matter differently - from the perspective of a fearful, 9-5, family man, attempting to balance the straight with the trans and encountering a whole spectrum of emotions in between.

REVIEW:
I've been reading a book penned by another cross-dresser for the past couple of months, and I'm afraid to say Paul Jason spoiled me. His frank and at times devastating account of his in-the-closet life is articulate and insightful, blowing apart a great many assumptions that are made about those who cross-dress/identify as TV/trans.

The author takes us from his early formative experiences right through to his current day-to-day strategies for hiding/controlling this part of who he is, and I appreciate his honesty. One of the chapters is even titled 'Time for a little controversy', and whilst not everyone will agree with what he says, nor does he claim to speak for anyone but himself.

As the author says,  he wrote this book to appeal to a wide audience, and I have to agree with him (and other reviewers): this is a must-read book for everyone.

Buy 'Just Your Average Guy': 

2016 Release: Buried Desires 2 by Ofelia Gränd and Amy Spector

Title: Buried Desires 2
Author: Ofelia Gränd, Amy Spector
Language: English
Published: 27th October, 2016
Publisher: Beaten Track
ISBN: eBook: 978 1 78645 095 1
ASIN: B01MFBG0G2
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Horror, Romance and Relationships, Short Stories, Adult, Paranormal

BLURB:
BURIED DESIRES 2 - A Horror Double Feature
MORE UNIQUE STORIES OF LOVE AND OBSESSION

Continuing a new horror tradition, Buried Desires 2 presents another pairing of romance and terror in two brand new stories.

Follow the continuing tales of Christopher and Vic, and Jett and Josh in this new collection that's just perfect for the season.

From fun to frightening, Buried Desires 2 offers up a little something for every horror taste.

***Includes the special BONUS story Deadly Secrets - Deadly Sugar Book 1.5 and links for two Hidden Chapter short stories***

Deadly Lies - Deadly Sugar Book 2

After being betrayed by his husband in the most unimaginable way, Josh has only three things on his mind; grab his son, find help, and get out. When Josh can't get to his son the plan to save them both becomes a little more complicated.

But things are not always as they appear. A chance encounter gives Josh hope but it also raises a lot of questions. Can Josh get away from his husband with his son and sanity intact? The things revealed will change the future for everyone.

***Includes special link for BONUS Hidden Chapter short story Deadly First Dates (Deadly Sugar Book 2.5)***

Body of Work - Cold Fingers Book 2

Life with Vic isn't exactly what Christopher Minnick was expecting. His boyfriend has given him a new lease on life - literally - but he doesn't have a job, Jessie thinks he's a ghost, and there are only so many closets on hand for shoving Jonathan into. Now, with Lee back in the limelight, things just might become more than Christopher can handle.

Lee Hellstrom is hitting the big screen after more than three decades and, with the much younger Grant Cooper at his side on the red carpet, he plans to make a lasting impression. The only problem is that not all the attention Lee has drawn is good.

When Lee goes missing, it's up to Christopher, Vic and Grant to save the old man from a most horrible of fates.

Christopher's life may not have been perfect, but his death is a pain in the ass.

*** Includes special link for BONUS Hidden Chapter short story Dalton Sikes Finds a Body (Grant Cooper Book 2/Cold Fingers Book 2.5)***

REVIEW:
When the authors told me they were writing a second volume of Buried Desires, I won't say I was entirely delighted. I'm not a fan of horror. I avoid horror movies; I don't read horror. I have a way too vivid imagination, and the only way I got through the horror movies I have seen was to do something else at the same time and then not sleep for weeks!

For all of that, I love everything Ofelia Gränd and Amy Spector write - individually and together - and their horror stories are no exception. I love that they both have such distinct styles. Ofelia's is heavy on the psychological thriller elements and explores the sinister side of human nature; Amy's is more Hammer House with a great deal of dark humour.

As this is Buried Desires 2, we are treated to the continuation of Jett and Josh's story in Deadly Lies, and more of Christopher and Vic in Body of Work.

I've got to say, Deadly Lies is terrifying, and I spent much of it saying 'Nooooo! Don't do that!' because it has those wonderful illogical actions not only common to all horror stories, but to any moment in our lives when rationality goes flying out the window. The resolution is  utter perfection.

Body of Work is less terrifying, but there are still plenty of moments of suspense. I just love the droll humour and I could actually read about Christopher Minnick forever.

Better than that, there are two bonus stories attached to this volume, and they're brilliant, too.

Buy 'Buried Desires 2': 

2016 Release: 7 With 1 Blow by Caraway Carter

Title: 7 With 1 Blow
Author: Caraway Carter
Language: English
Published: 21st October, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-073-9
eBook: 978-1-78645-074-6
ASIN: B01IWVBL42
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Erotic, BDSM, Adult

BLURB:
When Taylor Little, who styles himself "Dom Seven," is unwillingly taken into custody by the Cadre, he is put between a rock and a hard place. Either he will go to jail for his abuses against the local BDSM community, or he will accept retraining from the bottom up, learning to be a slave before he ever lays a flogger on another human being again.

In this tale of redemption, Taylor must face his demons as he learns to accept his status with mouth, mind, and heart.

WARNING: This story contains scenes of sexual intimacy and BDSM.

REVIEW:
It's not often I read a story where I loathe the main protagonist from the moment he appears on page. I'm not a judgemental person, and I give characters the same chance to prove themselves as I do people in the real world, but when the Cadre took Taylor Little to task, for a while I hoped he'd come to an untimely end, ideally involving a bullwhip. Needless to say, it was going to take quite a significant turn of events for Taylor to redeem himself in my eyes, which also meant some very clever writing was required.

That's what I found in 7 With 1 Blow. It's one of those books where I get too caught up in reading to properly edit, so I had to go through it three times to make sure I'd done my job properly. First time through, I started to warm to Taylor/Boyd around the 75% mark. Second time through, I gave him the benefit of the doubt fairly quickly. Third time, I was psycho-analysing him from the very beginning, and I appreciate the depth of characterisation, which is flawless.

This is NOT a BDSM story, nor a love story. It is, absolutely, a story of redemption. I can't comment on how other readers will get along with the BDSM element; I know only enough to work with stories. But I do know about social interaction and the power of words, and when an author can floor me with three words delivered at exactly the right moment? I remember why I love my job so much.

Buy '7 With 1 Blow': 

2016 Release: Eagle Man and Mr Hawk by Dawn Sister

Title: Eagle Man and Mr Hawk
Author: Dawn Sister
Language: English
Published: 20th October, 2016
ISBN: Paperback: 978-1-78645-082-1
eBook: 978-1-78645-083-8
ASIN: B01MAYUEKV
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Humour, Romance and Relationships, Adult

BLURB:
Ethan isn't good at first impressions. His job often gets in the way. It's his dream job, one which suits Ethan's big heart to a tee. His chosen career isn't conducive to forming meaningful relationships, however, and it hasn't really bothered him until now.

Then Alex appears on the scene... Bookish, shy, but gorgeous Alex, who might be put off by bad first impressions, and who Ethan thinks is quite possibly the most beautiful man he's ever set eyes on.

Alex's first impression of Ethan is not a particularly good one. In fact, he thinks the man is a raving lunatic, and their second and third encounter does nothing to change his opinion.

Ethan has his work cut out for him, if he is to pursue any kind of meaningful relationship with the irresistible Alex.

REVIEW:
I read this story when it was published back in 2015 as part of the "Love is an Open Road" event by the MM Romance Group (the first edition is still available as a free download on their website), and I loved it.

The second edition is, by and large, the same story, with a few minor tweaks, because writing for the events is fun but a bit hairy, and there's little time to revisit, expand and polish.

My review from the first edition stands:

This is a brilliantly funny love story with Geordies!

And a zebra.

And a border collie and GSD <- totally sold

I don't do animal stories, because I am ultra-sensitive in this respect, so I guarantee if I can read this anyone can.

And it has a lovely ending.

It's smashing, pet.


Buy 'Eagle Man and Mr Hawk': 

2016 Release: Jonathan's Legacy by Hans M Hirschi

Title: Jonathan's Legacy
Author: Hans M Hirschi
Language: English
Published: 29th September, 2016
ISBN: Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78645-031-9
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78645-032-6
ASIN: B01HTZ8L3G
Category: Fiction
Genre: LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Contemporary Fiction, Adult

BLURB:
Jonathan's Legacy returns to the roots of the Jonathan Trilogy: the love for those weakest amongst us, children, particularly the undesired ones, street kids who find new homes and love, just as Jonathan and Dan once had, in their youth.

We follow the Jackson family, founded by Jonathan and Dan, as they grapple with the loss of their family patriarch. Parker and Cody set out to start a patchwork family of their own, while Marc comes to terms with his loss. And who is Kim Hwan?

This is the third and final book in this accidental trilogy, a book written out of the desperate search for answers, to bring hope where there was only despair, and to find much-needed closure. Anything but a happily ever after is unimaginable.

In this trilogy:
Jonathan's Hope (Book 1)
Jonathan's Promise (Book 2)
Jonathan's Legacy (Book 3)

REVIEW:
Insider information: this isn't a secret. I'm fairly sure the author has explained this in his Author's Cave video blog or on his written blog, and it's also there in the last line of the blurb: Jonathan's Legacy is 'a book written out of the desperate search for answers, to bring hope where there was only despair, and to find much-needed closure'.

I'm going to be contrary here (no surprise) and say I didn't need that closure, which is not the same as saying I didn't need book three of the trilogy. Truthfully, I could have walked away from book one, grieved, got over it, moved on. Granted, the future I'd imagined for Jonathan was nowhere near as optimistic as the one he was destined to have, so when I read book two, it felt very much like catching up with a mutual friend.

"How's Jonathan?"
"Oh, he's doing great. He met someone new."
"No way. Did he?"

Followed by:
"Hey, Deb. Sorry to call with bad news..."

Because Hans M Hirschi is a git.

Which was when the need for a book three became apparent. Yes, to closure, yes to seeing just what kind of promised happy-ever-after Jonathan and Dan's family - their legacy - was getting. Of course, with losing a couple of significant people along the way, it means meeting and getting to know new people. I must confess I don't know Adam as well as I'd like. He's the only main character I feel fairly ambivalent about, but that's the beauty of a book. The story is something different for every reader. We all have our favourite characters, best lines, most cherished moments. Rarely do they coincide.

What I love about this trilogy the most is... Sean, although there's a bit more to it than that. He's dead before the story begins, but like those in our own lives who have passed, he is omnipresent, and he's there for the happy ending. It is seeing Sean through Dan's eyes that endeared me to him, but to watch those memories filter through the developing relationships - from Dan to Jonathan to Marc to Adam - is the kind of subtle layer beneath the main plot of a story that I really love following.

For once, the Queen of Unconventional Happy Endings has delivered, as promised, the whole sunshine and rainbows fairy-tale happily ever after, which is unconventional for him, I suppose. But don't expect a trauma-free journey reach it.

Buy 'Jonathan's Legacy': 

2016 Release: Caught Inside by Jamie Deacon

Title: Caught Inside (Boys on the Brink #1)
Author: Jamie Deacon
Language: English
Published: 29th September, 2016
ISBN: Paperback ISBN:978-1-78645-035-7
eBook ISBN: 978-1-78645-036-4
ASIN: B01HTYPXSI
Genre: Young Adult, LGBT, Romance and Relationships, Travel and Holiday, Contemporary Fiction,

BLURB:
Luke believes he has his life figured out...and then he meets Theo.

It should have been simple - a summer spent with his girlfriend Zara at her family's holiday cottage in Cornwall. Seventeen-year-old Luke Savage jumps at the chance, envisioning endless hours of sunbathing on the private beach and riding the waves on his beloved surfboard. He isn't interested in love. Though his rugged good looks and lazy charm mean he can have his pick of girls, he has no intention of falling for anyone.

Nothing prepares Luke for his reaction to Theo, the sensitive Oxford undergraduate who is Zara's cousin and closest friend. All at once, he is plunged along a path of desire and discovery that has him questioning everything he thought he knew about himself. No one, especially Zara, must find out; what he and Theo have is too new, too fragile. But as the deceit spirals beyond their control, people are bound to get hurt, Luke most of all.

REVIEW:
It's rare for me to have a long lead-in to a book, but I did with Caught Inside. Thus, it's been some months since I edited this debut novel from Jamie Deacon, and whilst the words have faded somewhat from my memory, the story has remained as strong as ever. More than that, the feeling of being there, on that beach with Luke, is vivid and easily called to mind. OK, so, Cornwall does happen to be my favourite place in the real world, and I've visited enough times to add my own experiences to the imagery Jamie Deacon so beautifully paints with words, but the novel also evokes long-forgotten emotions that I'd buried along with my adolescence. I recall those summers when the weather was perfect, life was ticking along just fine, yet all of it was underwritten by the 'angst' of interpersonal relationships and our emerging identities, caught between childhood and adulthood, never quite sure who we are or what we're supposed to be doing.

Caught Inside captured those feelings so perfectly.

Whilst it won't be true for everyone, most of us during our teens flit back and forth between relationships, or shift from one to another without properly bringing matters to a close. It is the fickleness of youth, the fear of rejection, the avoidance of conflict. Often, those infidelities viewed through adult eyes take on more sinister overtones. However, this is young/new adult fiction, and should be enjoyed as such, by which I mean if you are no longer a young/new adult, take a moment to return to your youth and dip into this beautiful summer romance.

Buy 'Caught Inside (Boys on the Brink #1)':

Thursday, 29 December 2016

Where to buy our books

You can buy Beaten Track publications from a great number of places, but here's a list of some of the main retailers, with links specifically to Beaten Track titles (where available).

Amazon
co.uk: http://amzn.to/2iuleog
com: http://amzn.to/2ilH5AZ

iBooks
Search for Beaten Track Publishing (a general search, not specific to author)

Smashwords
https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/b10track

Barnes and Noble
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/b/?Ntt=Beaten+Track+Publishing&Ntk=Publisher

Kobo
https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/search?query=Beaten%20Track%20Publishing&fcsearchfield=Imprint

Scribd
https://www.scribd.com/publisher/268000883/Beaten-Track-Publishing

Overdrive
https://www.overdrive.com/publishers/beaten-track-publishing

PayHip
https://payhip.com/b10track

Beaten Track
Last but not least, you can purchase directly from our online store:
http://www.beatentrackpublishing.com/shop

Correct as of 29th December, 2016

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

All Romance eBooks Closure

Today, All Romance eBooks, LLC announced the closure of their site and services on 31st December, 2016.

If you have purchased any Beaten Track titles via All Romance eBooks and have been unable to download them, please forward your receipt to us (email store at beatentrackpublishing.com), along with the format of ebook you require (epub, mobi, PDF), and we will send your ebook.


Beaten Track Publishing titles are no longer available from All Romance eBooks.

Many thanks for your support.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Beaten Track Publishing - Award Winners

List of awards won by Beaten Track authors/books 
(updated December 2017)

 
Caught Inside
by Jamie Deacon

7 With 1 Blow
by Caraway Carter

Love Unlocked Anthology
by Claire Davis & Al Stewart, Victoria Milne, Dawn Sister, J P Walker, Caraway Carter, Ofelia Gränd, Debbie McGowan

  • 2016 Rainbow Awards: Best LGBT Anthology / Collection / Contemporary Romance & Fiction - Runner-up (third place)
Shorts – Stories from Beneath the Rainbow
by Hans M Hirschi

When Skies Have Fallen
by Debbie McGowan

The Fallen Angels of Karnataka
by Hans M Hirschi

It's Like This
by Anne O'Gleadra

  • 2014 Rainbow Awards: The Bobby Michaels Award for Best Gay Erotic Romance - Runner-up (third place)
Crying in the Rain
by Debbie McGowan

Damaged Angels
by Larry Benjamin

  • 2013 Rainbow Awards: Best Gay Contemporary General Fiction - Runner-up
Unbroken
by Larry Benjamin