Friday, September 30, 2016

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Week of 9/24/16- 9/30/16

"In the Middle of Somewhere" by Roan Parrish- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!

"Out of Nowhere" by Roan Parrish- M/M, contemporary romance~ Price drop to $0.99!

"The Brokenhearted Necklace" by A.M. Snead- M/M, YA romance~ Price drop to FREE!

ARC Review: Making Waves (Wrench Wars 4)

Best friends since they were teenagers, Ward Kent and Dean Zimmerman work together at Reggie’s garage, where the reality show Wrench Wars is filmed. Outside of work, Dean is a notorious player, and as far as he’s concerned, Ward’s the best wingman ever. Little does he know, Ward is much more interested in the gentlemen than the ladies.

Then Dean’s younger brother, Ash, comes to work at the garage. Ash may be seven years younger, but he’s had a crush on Ward for years, and he’s not shy about going after what he wants.

Admitting his best friend and his brother are gay is one thing. Seeing them together? That’s a bit more than Dean can take, and he’s about to force Ward to make a decision: lose his best friend and his job, or give up Ash forever.

Dani's rating:

This is a lightly steamy, low-angst novella that ends with a HFN.

The story takes place at Reggie's garage (Wrenches, Regrets, & Reality Checks) where Chandler and Mark (Last Mechanic Standing) as well as Kasey and Brandon (Normal Enough) work. I like how the series came full circle, and we got to briefly visit with the couples form the first three books.

Making Waves focuses on Ward and Ash. Ash is Dean's younger brother, and Dean is Ward's best friend. Ash's arrival at the garage is Dean's "big surprise" to Ward. Ward hasn't seen Ash for years, and the awkward kid he remembers is now a man, and a damn good-looking one at that.

Ash flirts with Ward shamelessly, and Ward genuinely likes Ash. Ash is fun and easygoing, not at all like his controlling brother.

Blogtour: More Than Okay by Bru Baker

Please welcome Bru Baker and 

More Than Okay 

Release date: Sept. 28, 2016
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press 
Cover Artist: Bree Archer 
Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Length: 50 pages 
Tags: Gay; M/M


Something in Jake’s relationship with Connor is changing, and not for the better. The only thing that’s been growing between them recently is silence, and when Connor starts lying about where he’s been and slipping out of bed at night, Jake fears the worst. Jake gets the surprise of his life when he finds out what Connor has really been doing. It couldn’t be further from what he’d expected. Instead of ending the relationship, Connor has been building up to taking the next step together with a huge romantic surprise for Jake. The scare shows Jake what’s really important, and the ordeal might make them stronger and bring them closer together than ever before.

Hi, everyone! I'm here today to share an exclusive excerpt of my new release, More Than Okay. Jake and Connor have been together since college, and they've stayed together through cross-country moves and job changes. But now that Connor's job is becoming more demanding, Jake finds that he's spending more and more time alone. In the scene I'm about to share, they've just had a rare night out with their friends at a karaoke bar—something they used to do all the time before Connor started coming home from work late all the time.

More Than Okay

Blaire’s boyfriend, Cody, was waiting at the curb, and he gave Connor and Jake a wry smile as he stepped out and opened the back door. Tim and Grace piled inside as he helped a very drunk Blaire into the front.
“We could squeeze,” Grace offered, patting the seat next to her.
“I think it would be a tight fit,” Cody said, his tone apologetic. Blaire had obviously called and roused him from bed to come get her; he had a light jacket on over his pajamas.
“It’s okay. We’ll get a cab,” Jake said, shaking Cody’s hand when he came back around to close Grace’s door. He was a good guy, and Blaire was lucky to have him, Jake thought, watching the Honda’s taillights as the car drove off down the street. Even if she was an abominable shrew.
“Didn’t you bring the truck?”
Jake threw an arm around Connor’s shoulders, steering him toward the corner near the bus stop.
“I did, but I’m not in any shape to drive,” he said, releasing Connor when he squirmed uncomfortably. He could tell Connor wasn’t thrilled about the prospect of the bus, and Jake didn’t blame him. Connor had to ride it to and from work since Jake needed the truck to drive to jobsites, something Jake always felt guilty about. He sighed.
“It won’t break the bank too much to splurge on a cab just this once,” he said, smiling when Connor gave a victorious fist pump. “We have brunch with your parents tomorrow anyway. We can get your brother to drive us over to get it after. He’s picking us up, so it won’t be too much of a hassle.”
“And what if Chris refuses to do your bidding?”
Jake grinned as a cab pulled up. They both knew that wasn’t likely; Chris loved any excuse to drive—it was why he always volunteered to be the one to chauffeur them out for the weekly brunches. Connor glared at him for a moment before opening the door and scooting across the seat, giving the driver his address before laying his head back against the leather seat and closing his eyes.
Jake spent the short cab ride wondering what he should say to Connor once they were alone. Had he read too much into the way Connor had swayed into him during the chorus of the song they’d sung, or the way his own voice had hitched as he’d sung the last verse? They were both still a little drunk; maybe Jake should let it go until he was more levelheaded.
Connor was unnaturally quiet as they made their way up two flights of stairs to the apartment they shared with Gavin. Instead of slipping down the hall that lead to their bedroom as Jake had expected him to, though, Connor detoured into the kitchen.
“I have a little bit of work to get through before I can call it a night,” Connor said quietly, out of deference to Gavin, who was sacked out on the couch instead of his room, which wasn't all that uncommon on the weekend. He didn't have a TV in his room, so he often fell asleep in front of the communal one in the living room.
“It’s Friday night, Con. Come on.” Jake knew he was perilously close to sounding whiny, but he didn’t care. He just wanted Connor in bed with him, even if it was just to sleep.
“Just a few e-mails. I promise.” Connor was already immersed in something on his laptop, not even looking up when Jake sighed and gave up, retreating down the hallway.

It seemed like a shame to climb into the freshly made bed stinking of smoke from the club, so Jake shut the bedroom door so the sound wouldn’t wake Gavin and walked through to the bathroom, turned the shower taps on, and shirked out of his clothes. Leaving them in a pile on the floor never failed to get a rise out of Connor, and Jake felt a small zing of satisfaction at knowing the clothes would drive Connor crazy when he saw them. His contentedness from the club had definitely waned, and Jake felt himself falling straight back into the pit of low-level resentfulness and irritation he’d been wallowing in lately.

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Meet the author:

Review Tour: Chokehold (Guns & Boys #5) by K.A. Merikan

Review Tour & Giveaway

Guns n' Boys: Chokehold (Book #5) 

KA Merikan 

Release Date: August 27 2016

Buy Links: Amazon US  Amazon UK 

Length: 110,000 words

Series Links

Guns n' Boys: He is Poison (Book #1) Amazon US  Amazon UK
Guns n' Boys: He is Mine (Book #2) Amazon US  Amazon UK
Guns n' Boys: Paris (Book #2.1) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n' Boys: Homicidal Instinct (Book #3) Amazon US  Amazon UK 
Guns n' Boys: Swamp Blood (Book #4) Amazon US  Amazon UK 


The ugliest truths blossom into the prettiest lies. 

A year into the relationship with Domenico, Seth still wants him as desperately as ever. Nothing is better than being intoxicated with lust for his deadly man and feeling his steady hands all over. 

No matter the misunderstandings, the fights... The crash. The burn. 

Crossing the Mexican border has been a goal for Seth and Domenico for a few months, but the trip couldn’t have ended in more of a disaster. While Domenico is stuck at home, for Seth each passing day becomes more difficult. Desperate to keep his family afloat, he accepts a job offer from Los Sepultureros. The Gravediggers. 

When Domenico’s need for control starts eroding their trust, Seth is sure their love can conquer all. But when Domenico rips open the wound left after the violence at the beginning of their relationship, it gushes blood all over their cozy lies and this time, there may be no way to seal it. 


Karen's rating:

Sometimes love just ain't enough...

I'm sure that a lot of readers enjoy listening to some music while they read I know I do and sometimes the music just happens. That's what occurred for me this time around. 'Chokehold' is the 5th book in K.A. Merikan's Boys 'n Guns series and I have to admit this one started off a little slow for me. I'm not sure why but when I first started reading this book I was worried because I just didn't seem to be feeling that connection that I felt in the previous was actually kind of scary because I really, really like Seth and Dom. These two men are hot and sexy, they're fierce and intense and so far I've found it fairly easy to get wrapped up in their story so just for a bit there at the beginning I was worried that maybe for whatever reason I'd fallen out of love with them. I mean honestly I couldn't imagine it but hey, sometimes these things happen...sometimes...but thankfully, not this time...

It may have taken me a bit to get back into the feel of things but sure enough I did and right about the time that I fell back into this story I realized that my brain was on a continuous loop of an old song by Don Henley and Patty Smyth called  "Sometimes Love Just Ain't Enough" (you can check it out on YouTube if you're not familiar with it) and after listening to it a few times I realized that for this book for me this was Dom and Seth's song.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

ARC Review: Raven's Rest by Stephen Osborne

From The Blurb:
Michael Cook has left his abusive lover and settled in the small town of Banning, Illinois. Having nowhere else to go, he checks into the Raven’s Rest Inn and soon learns that the haunted reputation of the hotel is well deserved. Michael gets a job at a local café, where he meets Trey Ramsey. Though Michael has misgivings about starting up a new relationship, Trey seems to be the complete opposite of Michael’s controlling ex, so he decides to give Trey a chance. 
Life at the Raven’s Rest becomes increasingly frightening when the ghost of Coleman Hollis appears in Michael’s room. Coleman seems to want something from Michael, and the mystery deepens when Michael discovers he’s the spitting image of Coleman’s lover from years ago. Together, Michael and Trey must discover why Coleman’s spirit is drawn to the Raven’s Rest—and to Michael.

Karen's rating:

I thought 'Raven's Rest' had the makings of a really good story. There's a spark of mystery here a chance for not one but 2 romance stories one set in the present, one tied to the mystery of the past, add in  a bit of starting over, a bit of comfort and emotional healing, a ghost or two or three and I'm thinking this has the makings of one incredibly good least it seemed to in the beginning.

Somehow what seemed to me like it would be a story filled with awesomeness turned out to be ok...yeah, that's what it was just ok. Sadly the mystery from the past was a little on the obvious side and I have liked for the author to make us work a little harder to figure things out.

Michael Cook has gone to the small town of Banning to start his life over and escape Kevin, his ex who is controlling and emotionally abusive. He checks into the Raven's Rest and within a day of being in Banning he finds out about Coleman Hollis who is a ghost that haunts the Raven's Rest looking for his lover who happens to look just like Michael.

Venturing out to explore his new surroundings Michael stops at the local coffee shop for breakfast where he meets Trey an attractive musician who also works at the coffee shop when he's not writing music, he also gets a job at said coffee shop which just happens to be owned by Trey's mother. Michael's having one busy day.

Blogtour: One Pulse Charity Anthology - Feature for Asking For Trouble by M.T. Aspen

Please say hello to M.T. Aspen who wrote 

Asking For Trouble 

for the Dreamspinner Press ONE PULSE Charity Anthology 

Monday June 13, 2016

Dear Authors, we are seeking positive stories that show how love triumphs over any obstacles.
All proceeds of the Love Wins Anthologies will benefit the victims and families of the Orlando shooting.
Dreamspinner Press

July 15, 2016

Dearest Dreamspinner,

Do please forgive my informal address, but I feel I already know you better than perhaps I strictly ought. Though we are formally acquainted through only a single short story, I already find myself so very in tune with your way of thinking. Your charitable efforts in regard to Orlando have recently captured all my attention. Truly, I would much rather type than nod through morning calls, or curl up with one of your volumes than dance away any given night.

Though it may give both of us cause to blush, you must allow me my plain speech. For in this, as in all the best relationships, we must stand true in one another’s eyes. Love demands no less.

I thank you with all my heart for favoring my story, Asking for Trouble. I am proud and humbled to add to the One Pulse anthology.

M.T. Aspen

September 29, 2016

Dear Everyone at, and Readers of, My Fiction Nook,

Thank you so much for featuring, and (hopefully) checking out, the One Pulse anthology. I’m feeling more than a little bit nervous at being asked to represent my peers here. (You should see the typos currently flying as I type because of this. That way lies hilarious entertainment for anyone who has ever glared or laughed at an auto-correct before in turn true-correct [ing] it.)

The anthology is, as it should be, diverse. We have family, we have friends turned lovers, we have angels and demons. We have weddings, tragedy, and communities pulling together. We have magic, long lost lovers, and cicadas (don’t ask, just read). We have pride parades, ranchers, and shifters. We have the most devoted of courtships, space opera, and even King Arthur.

I promise you that we in fact have even more than that, and I truly hope (and believe) that One Pulse will not only satisfy readers on many levels, but become a cherished reread for all of you as well.

The ménage à trois of lesbians who inhabit Asking for Trouble are here to stand for both impossible love and the children who would not exist, or would not grow up in loving homes, in the absence of that love.

Because love is about family. Whether you are a family of just two or of many. Whether you count yourself a member of one family or a dozen. No family comes into being, nor continues to exist, without love.

And for so long we have done not only ourselves but, much more gravely, also our children an injustice by teaching them to believe in the narrowest possible definition of family. Neither gender nor sexual orientation have anything to do with family. Family is about love.



Listen and you can hear it.



One Pulse.


Stories drive life. Sometimes life is good; sometimes life is bad. But it’s the nature of our community that in the aftermath of an act of hatred, we respond with love. Because darkness cannot exist in the presence of light. Cruelty cannot stand against compassion. Negativity will never overcome hope.

To show our support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we celebrate the triumph of love over every obstacle.

Asking for Trouble by M.T. Aspen

Dancers Mel and Bree are young when they fall in love, though time and tragedy pull them apart. When Mel finds new happiness with pop princess Annie, a link is also forged with Bree, because each of them loves Mel and is sure she can never have her. Finding a solution isn't simple, but family and love trump fear and hate every time.

Additional stories by:

Jon Keys—A Single Night
Alicia Nordwell—About Best Friends & Boyfriends
Mickie B. Ashling—Adíos
M.A. Church—Chasing Tyme
Caitlin Ricci—Coming Out
George Seaton—Cucurrucucú
Jayce Ellis—Dance
Bree Cariad—Everyday Miracles
Chrissy Munder—Everything I Need
Ellis Carrington—For the First Time
Felicitas Ivey—Get Me to the Church Town Hall on Time
John Amory—Happy Pride
Grace R. Duncan—Hope
John Goode—Let Them Eat Cake
J. C. Long—Magical Boys Just Wanna Have Fun
Elizabeth Noble—Magicicada
Renee Stevens—More Than a Pact
Troy Storm—One Big Happy… Bunch
Connie Bailey—One Heart at a Time
Dev Bentham—Perfection
Andrea Speed—Pride
Laura Lascarso—Pull
Lila Leigh Hunter—Raffled Kiss
Emery C. Walters—Ranch Dressing
C.C. Dado—Read My Lips
Sera Kane—The Stag's Bane
KC Burn—The Tithe
Vicktor Alexander—The Wooing of the Marqués de Sierra de Outes
Edmond Manning—They Danced

Excerpt from Asking for Trouble:

Bookblast: Beach Rental anthology

Beach Rental Banner

Title: Beach Rental, M/M Anthology
Authors: M.T. Aspen, Asta Idonea, Dale Cameron Lowry, Lynn Townsend, Jamie Lowe, & Rob Rosen
Publisher: Torquere Press
Release Date: September 24, 2016
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 32,000 Words
Genre: Romance, Contemporary Romance, Erotic-Romance

Add to Goodreads


In Drinks Over Sunset by M.T. Aspen, Vagabond Witt’s flight from his past is unexpectedly stalled by a gorgeous expat. But if Dean holds on too tightly, he’ll only inflict more pain on the man he loves.  
In Lick by Asta Idonea, Jay is unimpressed when his parents drag him on a seaside holiday to Bournemouth. However, the English summer heats up when he meets sexy ice cream seller Aland. 
In Pacific Rimming by Dale Cameron Lowry, turning forty makes Mike feel old, so his husband, Ken, helps him recapture his youth in a ménage a trois with a gorgeous younger man. Can what started as a one-night stand transform into a threesome that lasts?

In Sea Salt & Chocolate by Lynn Townsend, marriage is hard work, everyone knows that. Will a summer vacation lead to reigniting sparks between Eric and Temple, or will it tear their family apart? 
In Weekend Encounter by Jamie Lowe, Jackson may not be looking for romance during a weekend getaway with his friends, but that doesn’t mean romance isn’t looking for him. When Jackson encounters Logan, his plan to third wheel with his buddies is derailed in the best way possible. 
In Yin and Yang by Rob Rosen, an unexpected early morning encounter between a surfer and California newbie leads to much more than either ever expected along a deserted stretch of pristine beach. Love, it seems, is in the misty sea air!


Sea Salt & Chocolate

by Lynn Townsend

“The carpet’s stainproof,” Eric said, quiet under his breath as Temple stood over the spot while Miriam sobbed on the sofa. “We can just rag it up, not a big deal.”

“This is why we can’t have nice things,” Temple retorted, very quietly. The sentiment was entirely sincere, for that moment in time, but not something he really wanted Miriam to glom on to and drag out as ammunition later in life.

“Ya always did have an uptight streak a mile wide,” Eric said. He had already fetched a washcloth and was blotting up the stain. Astonishingly enough, the white carpet was reporting back clean.

Miriam took advantage of her parents cleaning the carpet to flee the scene. By the time Eric had finished blotting up chocolate milk and carefully drying the spot, she was back from a complete exploration of the house—excluding, of course, her brother’s room, he had locked it against her, and even then, Temple could hear her banging on the door and demanding to be let in, along with A.J.’s crackling baritone denials—and declared “I’m bored.”

“We’ve been here for—” Temple checked his watch “—twenty minutes. You have at least another forty minutes before you’re allowed to be bored.”

“There’s nothin’ to do, Dad,” she complained.

“What would you be doing if you were at home?”

Release Blitz: Morning My Angel by Sue Brown

Release Blitz

Morning My Angel by Sue Brown

Release Date: September 29 2016

Length: 265 pages


Josh Cooper, top US security field agent, is sent on an inter-agency assignment to London, when a partner in his firm goes missing in suspicious circumstances. Used to working in sole charge of his well-honed team, he clashes heads with the handsome, but pompous Cal, his UK co-operator and superior. Josh’s gut tells him something is wrong. He’s being kept out of the loop and Cal’s agenda is running on a different path. 

He also has a personal issue to deal with. He’s involved in a cyber-relationship with “Charlie”, an unknown man who connected with Josh by accident. Their banter has led to deeper respect and a sexual interest, but now Josh is faced with a growing attraction to Cal. Between this conflict and the tension of the mission, Josh’s heart and head are overworked and confused. Things can’t get much worse. 

Then Josh discovers the enemies he’s seeking have a new target: him.

Author Bio

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

ARC Review: Making Waves (Wrench Wars, #4) by Marie Sexton

A Wrench Wars Story

Best friends since they were teenagers, Ward Kent and Dean Zimmerman work together at Reggie’s garage, where the reality show Wrench Wars is filmed. Outside of work, Dean is a notorious player, and as far as he’s concerned, Ward’s the best wingman ever. Little does he know, Ward is much more interested in the gentlemen than the ladies.

Then Dean’s younger brother, Ash, comes to work at the garage. Ash may be seven years younger, but he’s had a crush on Ward for years, and he’s not shy about going after what he wants.

Admitting his best friend and his brother are gay is one thing. Seeing them together? That’s a bit more than Dean can take, and he’s about to force Ward to make a decision: lose his best friend and his job, or give up Ash forever.

Jewel's rating:

Making Waves is the 4th book in the Wrench Wars series. All of the books work fine as stand alone, though, so if you haven't read the others, you should still be fine. There is come character crossover, but no plot crossover, so have at it!

Wrench Wars is a TV "reality" show about mechanics being divas. Dean Zimmerman, apparently is the head diva, but unfortunately for everyone, Dean does not keep all his drama on the set. There was exactly one thing I didn't like about Making Waves, and that would be Dean. He was a childish, selfish prick who never listened to anyone. Nope, he assumed if he thought something was cool or fun then everybody else would feel the same. And even when presented with evidence, time and again, that it isn't the case, Dean just goes on his merry way being a childish, selfish prick steamrolling over everyone.

Ward Kent and Dean have been friends for fifteen years. Dean is the closest thing Ward has to family and when they were growing up, Dean was the one who kept him sane and made him feel like he had any family at all. So, Ward feels a fair amount of loyalty toward Dean and has pretty much always let Dean get his way. The always letting Dean get his way is something he comes to regret just a bit when Dean throws the temper tantrum to end all temper tantrums at the thought of Dean and Ash being in a relationship. Keep in mind that Dean and Ward are around 28. Yep, 28 and Dean is still throwing fits. Someone needs a timeout.

Blogtour: Kinky Sprinkles by L.A. Witt

Please say hello to L.A. Witt and 

Kinky Sprinkles 


Joel has finally walked away from his abusive ex and is ready to meet new people. But that isn’t easy for a guy who’s shy, self-conscious, and struggling with his body image.

Andre has wanted Joel since the first time he laid eyes on him, and finally Joel is single. But Andre is a Dom and a sadist, and Joel is unapologetically vanilla. There’s no happy medium—either Andre reins in the kinky side that took him years to accept, or Joel grits his teeth and subjects himself to kinks that aren’t his thing. No matter who bends, someone’s going to be unhappy.

They agree to walk away, but they keep circling back to each other. Though their kinks might not line up, the chemistry between them sizzles and the emotional connection keeps getting deeper. But none of that will get them anywhere if they can’t find some kind of middle ground in the bedroom.

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Blogtour: Baby In The Woodshop by Ashlyn Kane/Claudia Mayrant/CJ Burke

Please welcome Ashlyn Kane, Claudia Mayrant, and CJ Burke with 

Babe In The Woodshop 

Hi, Sandra and My Fiction Nook readers! It’s nice to meet you. We’re Ashlyn Kane, CJ Burke, and Claudia Mayrant, here to introduce an exclusive scene not included in our new release Babe in the Woodshop.

So what’s the book about?


When long hours and crushing stress push Bellamy Alexander to his breaking point, he walks away from his consulting job and drives until he runs out of gas. Fortune deposits him in front of Antonio’s, a place with decent pizza and an opening for a delivery boy. Even better, he finds an apartment right across the street from his new job. And best of all, Chris McGregor, the property manager who runs the custom furniture shop below Bell’s new digs, is super hot—and super into Bell.
It seems too good to be true—and maybe it is. Things aren’t exactly going smoothly. Bell avoids telling his mother the truth about his new job because he doesn’t want to hear how he should go back to the corporate world. On the other hand, he doesn’t think he wants to deliver pizza forever either. He’d like to think about settling down, but Chris runs hot and cold. Between Bell’s uncertainty and the hang-ups Chris refuses to talk about, they have their work cut out for them. Fortune may have caused their paths to dovetail, but it will take more than wood glue to hold them together.

The story is told entirely from Bell’s point of view, and it takes him some time to puzzle Chris out. Watching Bell work it out is half the fun, but we thought we’d give readers a little hint into what’s going on in Chris’s head. Here’s Chris’s take on the first time he met Bell—slightly abbreviated so those of you who’ve read the excerpt on Dreamspinner’s site don’t get too much deja vu.

Chris was just finishing up a piece of trim for a cabinet when the bells in the storefront chimed, meaning Fred had arrived with his dinner. Usually he’d take a break, but he didn’t feel up to a chat, so he just shouted out, “Sorry! Hands are a bit full, but you can leave it on the counter, Fred. Money’s under the ashtray.”
It wasn’t like Fred was exactly a thrilling conversationalist. He was all business when it came to pizza. And besides, he was—
“But what if I’m not Fred?”
The unexpected voice surprised Chris into knocking a finial from the worktop onto the floor.
“You okay?”
Chris turned away from his work and took a step toward the front of the shop. "Fine," he said, wondering why he couldn’t place the voice. But his confusion disappeared when he saw the man waiting with his lunch, because he’d never seen the guy before. Chris definitely would have remembered him: tall, blond, blue-eyed. Sort of sunny-looking. 
Chris remembered all at once that he was filthy. It was an occupational hazard he didn’t usually think about, but, well, first impressions. He wiped his hands on a towel. “Sanding makes dust,” he excused. Not the most scintillating opening line, but all he could come up with on short notice. “Where’s Fred?”

Blogtour: Calling And Cull by August Li

Please welcome August Li and 

Calling And Cull 

Blessed Epoch #5


Whose hand will orchestrate the change in the world?

The decade-long war with Johmatra is over, but peace hangs by a thread in Garith’s kingdom. Yarrow, isolated in his island realm, refuses to abide by the treaty or to follow the dictates of the priestesses. Others—Octavian Rose among them—are uneasy with the growing military power of the temples, and the mage island of Espero remains a tenuous ally. Garith knows his people cannot weather another conflict, and that infighting will leave their lands vulnerable to further invasion. The arrival of a Johmatran ambassador with his own agenda calls everyone’s loyalties into question.

Sides will be chosen, and the consequences of those choices will have repercussions no one can foresee. Even among the turmoil, Yarrow is determined to have his vengeance against the thirteen goddesses and heal the world’s magic. But how far will he go, and what lines is he willing to cross? As unlikely alliances are forged and enemies are revealed, Prince Thane seems to be the key to forgotten knowledge that will shape the future—and some will do whatever it takes to control him.

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Fashion in the Blessed Epoch

My series, The Blessed Epoch, deals with some weighty subjects like religion, politics, xenophobia, and complex philosophical questions. I’m going to set them aside for today and focus on a lighter, more fun aspect of world building. Even though I don’t adhere to it myself, I’ve always been interested in fashion, especially historical fashion, when people’s garments had to serve several functions along with expressing personal style and status. I’ve put a lot of thought into the clothing worn in The Blessed Epoch, and I hope you’ll enjoy reading about a few of them.

Fashions by kingdom and region

Selindria and Gaeltheon

These two kingdoms were, until very recently, the majority of the known world. It has only been around a decade since the marriage of Garith of Selindria to Cothryn of Gaeltheon joined the two great nations and ushered in the Blessed Epoch. Both countries are vast and stretch from cold, snowy, and mountainous regions in the north to semitropical areas to the south. Regional differences aside, clothing is fairly similar throughout the kingdom.

Though industrialization is creeping in, the society is mainly agrarian. Clothing for farm workers is simple: trousers and shirts for men with possibly a vest or doublet overtop. Women generally wear a chemise or underdress with a heavier robe or shift overtop. Footwear is simple and sturdy, and decoration is rare and often considered frivolous. In colder weather, cloaks and furs are worn for extra warmth.

The clothing worn by nobles and the wealthy is surprisingly similar to that of the peasants. Often the only difference is the quality of the fabric—velvet instead of coarse wool for a man’s doublet—or decoration—beading or embroidery on a woman’s gown.


These volcanic islands to the southeast of Gaeltheon are the traditional homeland to the Esperon mages. An older civilization than those on the mainland, it also considers itself more enlightened, educated, and progressive. This attitude, combined with the heat, has led to a distinctive style of dress that is a combination of comfort and luxury. Billowy trousers in light, sometimes even see-through, fabrics are worn by both men and women. Sleeveless tunics and cropped vests are popular, as Esperons have no restrictions against revealing the arms or torso. Footwear is sandals from simple to elaborate. One common article of clothing in a sash worn around the waist and allowed to hang down between the legs. These accessories are often covered in intricate beadwork and adorned with tassels and other trimming.

Both genders tend to wear the hair long, and though clips and bands are used to manage it, extreme styles are rare. Likewise, jewelry is common on the wealthy island, but tasteful pieces of high quality are preferred over gaudy displays. Esperons might like for others to believe they are above caring about their appearances, but this couldn’t be further from the truth.

The Twenty-Nine

The archipelago at the mouth of the Kanda River fell under the protection of Yarroway L’Estrella when the mage claimed it as his reward for deciding the Battle of the Starlight Bridge. Before that time, it was inhabited solely by the Emiri race, a seafaring people with a culture vastly different from those living in the kingdom. The people of Selindria and Gaeltheon consider the Emiri corrupt, decadent pirates. Until Yarrow claimed the islands of the Twenty-Nine, the monarchy’s goal was to drive the Emiri from the kingdom.

The Emiri are a people with little regard for rules or restrictions. They have no qualms whatsoever about nudity, and in the semitropical heat of their homeland, they often enjoy going without clothing. While the Emiri place little value on material possessions, they are fond of beautiful things, including brightly colored cloth printed with sea flora and fauna. Of course, the Emiri are even more at home on their ships than on their islands, and when sailing, the opt for functional garments, usually of sturdy leather, that gain a distinct appearance and style by the way the sailors patch and repair the garments. Other uniquely Emiri traits are their long ropes of hair adorned with beads and shells and the permanent ink, called “paint” that covers much of the face and body in swirling, organic patterns.


More than anywhere else in the known world, the elites of the city-states of Johmatra use clothing and jewelry to reflect wealth and power. The trends set forth by the aristocrats trickle down into everyday society as average citizens attempt to emulate the extravagant styles worn in the palaces. Johmatra is a wealthy region, with some city-states richer than others. The desert provides crystals, gemstones, and precious metals used to make elaborate jewelry. The nomadic tribes in the north of the region weave cloth that is highly sought after for its lightness, durability, and the beautiful, intricate patterns it displays. These clans also provide minerals for cosmetics, which only slaves are ever seen in public without, as neglecting to wear makeup is considered uncivilized and in very poor taste.

The aristocracy’s attempts to preserve the bloodline of their illustrious ancestors, Fane—and the genetic deformities that have resulted—have also influenced Johmatran aesthetics. Since close breeding over centuries has left most nobles unable to grow hair, everyone else keeps their head clean-shaven. Hats and helmets mimic the conical shape of the aristocrats’ skulls, and gauntlets imitate the elongated fingers. Wealthy commoners ride in litters carried by slaves, in obvious imitation of the nobles, many of whom are too weak to walk on their own.

The final influence on the Johmatran appearance is, unsurprisingly, magic. Those descended from Fane, the only people permitted to practice sorcery, cut arcane symbols into their skin and coax them to scar, amplifying their power. The common people follow this trend and carve patterns into their skin, though without any enchantment behind them, they are only decorative.

The Future of Fashion

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

ARC Review: Frost of Cares by Amy Rae Durreson

A Frost of Cares
From the blurb:

Military historian Luke Alcott leaps at the chance to live in the seventeenth-century country mansion of Eelmoor Hall, home of the Royal Military School of Medicine, after being offered a job cataloging the school’s archives. Luke believes he chose the perfect place to start a new life and put his broken past behind him. But soon after settling into the old house, he hears strange noises—like footsteps—and he begins to suffer from terrible nightmares.

The only person Luke can turn to for help is the taciturn caretaker, Jay, a veteran of the Afghanistan war who carries an old battle wound. Together they try to understand Eelmoor Hall’s history and decipher what could be causing the haunting. As the weather grows colder and snow dusts the countryside, a child goes missing. Luke needs to deal with his own demons and learn to trust in love again if he hopes to face down the angry spirit and find the missing girl.

Heather's rating:

I was hesitant to read this book because I heard from a few people that it was spooky, and me and scary thing do. not. mix. I can't stomach anything more intense than Harry Potter, and even that pushed me to my limits, TBH. But I was TOTALLY fine reading this book, and I think all of my fellow wimps will be fine with it too.

This book is told in an interesting format, sort of like a diary entry. I liked that because all of the events in the story happened in the past, so I KNEW that everything was going to be okay with the paranormal elements. If I know the MCs survive, I can stomach a few spooky details.

Where this book really shines is in the romance. I often have issues with novellas because it isn't usually enough time to build intimacy between characters. That wasn't an issue here. The romance between Luke and Jay felt very organic, and I loved the little private snippets of conversation between the two of them told in the diary format. It made me feel like I was peeking in on their relationship, which helped me feel emotion in a novella-length story.

Blogtour: Rogue Soldier by Jamie Lynn Miller

Please say hello to Jamie Lynn Miller and 

Rogue Soldier 

Shadow Unit Book 2 


Shadow Unit may have overturned the illegal arms cartel in Kuala Lumpur, but the harrowing undercover op left emotional scars on Sergeants Shawn Weller and Connor Finley. Slowly, patiently, they piece their partnership back together, closer now than ever before.

But the arrival of Julian Montgomery, Shawn’s former CIA handler and lover, threatens to tear them apart. Julian knows all of Shawn's secrets as well as the past Shawn has kept hidden from Connor. Now the self-serving Julian wants Shawn back—with the CIA and with him. No one will get in his way. Including Connor.

When the joint Shadow Unit/CIA mission to stop the supplier of a deadly biological weapon goes sideways, Connor is captured, tortured, and used as a human test subject. It’s a race against time to save his life. But who can Shawn trust? And who has gone rogue?


Thirty minutes later Shawn walked down the hallway in the hotel to his room, having aimlessly wandered the streets of Srinagar on his way back, trying to organize the jumbled thoughts in his head, to figure out a way to start this conversation with Connor.
Closing the hotel room door behind him, Shawn tossed the keycard down onto the bedside table. He sighed deeply and sat down on the bed, rubbing his hands over his face.
"About time you got back."
Shawn's hands fell away from his face and he shot to his feet at the sound of the voice, heart pounding, fists clenched, every muscle tense and ready for a fight against the intruder. His eyes widened when he saw who stood before him, completely naked, and burning anger raced through him.
"Aren’t you a sight for sore eyes," Julian smirked, walking toward Shawn.
"What the fuck are you doing in here?" Shawn spat. "Get the fuck out! Now!"
Julian laughed. "Is that any way to treat an old friend?"
"You were never my friend."
Julian stepped up close, his green eyes darkening, voice low. He hooked a hand loosely around the back of Shawn’s neck. "No. We were a lot more than that…"
Then Julian’s mouth was on Shawn’s, kissing him hard, his other arm coming around Shawn’s waist to pull him flush against his naked body.
Furious, Shawn’s hands came up and gripped both of Julian’s biceps, intending to push him away when the door suddenly opened.
"Hey, it’s me…"
At the sound of Connor’s voice, Shawn pulled his head back almost violently, breaking the unwanted kiss. He watched as Connor took two steps into the room, saw the scene before him and came to an abrupt stop. Shawn saw the flurry of emotions cross his partner’s face – confusion, hurt, anger…and betrayal.
Shawn reached out to him. "Finn, wait…"

But Connor turned on his heel, the sound of the door slamming behind him gunshot loud.
Shawn shoved Julian away from him. "Get the fuck off me!"
Julian took two stutter steps back, his eyes hardening as Shawn saw realization cross his face.
"Fucking another partner, I see. Though I shouldn’t be surprised. That is your M.O., after all. But him?" Julian sneered. "You with the uptight, straight-as-an-arrow, company-man Brit?" He moved back toward Shawn, voice low. "You like it darker than that. I should know."
Shawn’s throat went dry as memories cascaded through his mind. "That’s not who I am anymore."
Julian barked out a harsh laugh. "You think you can run off and play patriotic soldier boy again to redeem yourself? Get yourself a wholesome boyfriend? Stand out in the light instead of the dark?" He pushed a finger into Shawn’s chest. "You’re a killer, Shawn. And a damn good one. Accept it." Julian paused, flattened his hand against Shawn’s chest. "Come back to the Agency. We were good together. We can be again."
Shawn knocked his hand away. "There was nothing good about us. Ever." He swallowed hard. "I’ll never work for the CIA again. Now get the fuck out of here."
Julian’s eyes narrowed. "You know I always get what I want, Shawn. Nothing," He glanced toward the closed door. "Or no one, will stand in my way."
Shawn felt his blood run cold at the veiled threat directed at Connor, followed by anger so fierce it nearly took his breath away. He got up in Julian’s face, his voice channeling that anger. "You do anything to him and I’ll remind you just how good of a killer I am."

Get the book:


Missed Shawn and Connor’s earlier adventures? Read BROKEN SOLDIER, available from your favorite retailer.

Author Interview:

Tell us about your new release, Rogue Soldier (Shadow Unit Book 2). What was your inspiration behind it?
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