My friends and I are readers. We enjoy books for the stories and the emotional draw, for the characters and their situations. We don't dig for editor's mistakes. We won't trash your book for missing punctuation or slightly misused grammar. We just want to enjoy the story. And we want all our friends to know just how awesome independent authors can be. This is the place where the little guy will always shine like a star!

Without further ado, please say hello to....

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Michele Montgomery


Book Title: Damit
Genre: M/M Contemporary / Light-DOM/SUB
Publisher: Seventh Window Publication
Links to purchase: 

Blurb: Escaping the past isn’t easy, especially when the scars left behind are a constant reminder that trust and love can hurt.

Michael McKnight knows what it means to be on the run from memories. Years ago, after fleeing an abusive relationship, he was brutally stabbed and left for dead. His only savior had been a compassionate stranger he’d only gotten a glimpse of before slipping into the blackness that claimed him.

For Michael, recovery was an arduous and hard fought return to some semblance of normalcy. He rebuilds his life, spending his waking hours buried in work and fighting to forget the past. And his life seems to be going well until he finds out that his cousin Wayne is being held captive in a mental asylum for being gay. So he buys a plane ticket and flies out to rescue his cousin.

But the weather is against Michael, keeping him grounded and talking to a man who claims that he’d once saved his life and is willing to help him rescue his cousin. Can this man be for real or is something more sinister in the works?

Review:
Reviewer:  Jaimie

I have always enjoyed mystery and suspense, whether on television or in a novel, I love to lose myself in the twists and turns of a plot.  "Dammit!" was no exception, with a fast-paced plot that kept my mind whirring, it had me anticipating the next twist.  I was unable to put the book down and though it was lengthy, I finished it in one sitting, ignoring everything as I lost myself in the world of Cash and Michael. 

The novel began with Michael waiting for a flight to Pittsburgh and during his wait, he met a few colorful characters.  The airport scene was one of my favorites in the entire book, and the characters just popped.  They were so vividly described, it felt as if I was an observer, watching the scene unfold.  The pace quickened as they arrived in Pittsburgh and it isn't long before the first plot twist is underway.  It was a rollercoaster of emotions as I read along and at parts, I admittedly wanted to smack a few of the characters- for their own benefit, of course.  But that is the beauty of "Dammit!" you become emotionally invested in the characters and the situation they have been thrown into.

After reading "Dammit!" I wanted more and could only hope to see a sequel someday featuring a few of the other secondary characters.  Particularly one featuring Bruce, who managed to steal a slice of my heart during the time he was featured.

I would highly recommend this book to readers of gay fiction, particularly readers that enjoy suspense novels.  Fans of other suspense writers, such as Josh Lanyon, would find themselves right at home in the world of Cash and Michael.  The plot will have you on the edge of your seat- or bed- and will have you hooked until the very end.  

Interview:

  1. Tell us a little bit about how “Dammit!” came to life. What inspired the story?
Dammit! Really was a story I started writing for me. I had a lot going on in my life, I had two other books I was working on and both of them were with “established” characters and I needed something I could do that was in no way related to anything but me. Sometimes I can get so involved in my characters and their lives, their thoughts and such that I can lose me. Well, I was at a crossroad on one of the Lethal Obsession stories with my editor, and the other Xbar, which will be available soon, with the characters themselves. I was trying to “connect” to real life people, who really do exist and mix elements that aren't always easy to mix. Fact/Fiction. So one day I began playing around with a character whose name is Michael. He is the male me, if that makes sense. I write a lot of angst, drama and the like that I needed to lighten something up for a bit, and Michael was my answer. The first chapter which is available to read over at ARE, pretty much gives you who and what Michael is about and what he's like. He's really an over-grown kid at heart with a lot of hurt in his life. So, in short, he came to me by way of me, to keep me balanced.

  1. Who is your favorite character and what makes them so memorable to you?
Michael is for sure. He is because he is the character who kept me smiling and laughing through the other two books I was writing at the time. As I said, he is me...in the male form.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to write.
Well, I'm not too complicated, sort of boring really. Born and raised in Chicago, when I was eighteen I was hauled off to Tucson AZ and spent eighteen years there before moving to Colorado where I currently reside. I have three awesome kids and just about five grandkids and NO, I'm not OLD enough to be a granny that many times but my kids seem to think so. Truthfully, I am a whole lot more immature than they are. I began writing for fun when I was a kid, at 23 I started writing a story, “Behind Blue Eyes,” and that story and those characters helped me through a lot of rough spots in my life as a young mother. These characters are slowly being shown in the Lethal Obsession books. Behind Blue Eyes is the mother of those books and will become available in the next year or so. I started writing in the MM Genre on a dare from a friend. He said, write me a short MM story, let’s see what you got. That's when “Tony & Ryan,” came to life. They are both characters from Behind Blue Eyes. He said, write it with characters you already know so you’re comfortable at the start and there I went. It's a short and it will be undergoing a minor revision along with Lethal Obsession: Caged, and put into one print book especially for the retreat in October. I always have been a writer at heart and I'm very shy,a bit introverted and I find the best way for me to communicate is through writing.

  1. Any advice for aspiring authors?
This is a hard question for me because I feel I am still an aspiring writer. All I can say is stick to your guns, don't give up when you get stuck, find a couple beta readers who are painfully honest with you and never stop. If one story doesn't work for you, put it to the side and get another going and guess what will happen? You'll jump back to that other one and get it done. Drive yourself, let the characters lead you. Network your butt off while writing, keep positive, and put fingers to keyboard. And one more thing...be prepared to spend a lot of time by yourself with your characters. Writing is not something you can do while entertaining a houseful. Family members don't always understand. I still have issues with mine.

  1. Where is the best place to follow your work?
My website which is: www.michelelmontgomery.com  and I'm also on Facebook.

  1. Any additional comments?
I'd like to say that while it's important for your books to be reviewed, it's probably a better idea NOT to read those reviews and take everything that's said to heart. Remember, not all writers write the same. Their chosen Sub-Genre will make all the difference in the world for the readers. I don't consider myself a full romance writer. My stories have a darker side to them, more angst and such and there will be two or three HOT as hell D/s sex scenes in them with unique characters. So in saying that, a person who loves hot romance without any D/s action probably won't care for what I write.

Allison, thank you very much for having me.





Saturday, April 28, 2012

Cynthia MacGregor


Book Title: Lighter Than Air
Genre: Children’s Fiction
Publisher: XoXo Publishing
Links to purchase: 
2. Amazon

Blurb: Paige’s goofy Uncle Larry, an inventor, invents a cookie that makes anyone who eats it lighter than air, so that the person floats. But the only way to get back to the ground is with a different cookie with the opposite effect. Paige, her brother, and her friend find that floating in the air isn’t all fun…especially when there’s no way to get back down!

Review:
Reviewer: Jessa

Cynthia MacGregor's "Lighter than Air" is a story about the misadventures of a young girl who wants something special for her birthday party. With the help of her Uncle, the inventor, Paige discovers that flying is not always as much fun as it seems especially when cookies are involved. MacGregor's work was a lighthearted, well-paced young adult novel that draws the reader into Paige's world where birthday parties and having fun are what is important.  Along with Paige we discover that what is easy or fun is not always what is safe.  I would recommend this novel for young and old readers alike because, as an older reader it was entertaining to remember a time when my next birthday party was the most important thing in the world.  As young adult fiction goes, "Lighter than Air" was fairly good but in my opinion, could have used more detail to enhance the relationship with the main characters.

Interview:

  1. Tell us a little bit about how Lighter Than Air came to life. What inspired the story?
Although Lighter Than Air is just now getting published, I wrote it back when the “Goosebumps” books were popular. It was written on assignment for a publisher who wanted to give the public more of what it so obviously wanted. Unfortunately that publisher abandoned his plans after assigning a multitude of mildly scary juvenile novels to proven writers, stranding three books of my own and rather a sizable number of books by other authors I know (as well as some authors I don’t know). None of them saw the light of print for many years, although XoXo Publishing has accepted both my three and fellow author (and friend) Deb McClatchey’s several books in this genre as well (also written for the abandoned project in question).

  1. Who is your favorite character and what makes them so memorable to you?
Now, you can’t ask me to play favorites! That’s like asking a mom which of her kids is her favorite!

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to write.
I am a full-time freelance writer/editor, who has lived in South Florida since 1984 and in New York City before that. I have been writing since I could spell “C-A-T” and can’t honestly say that anything “made me DECIDE” to write. There was no “decision” involved. I’ve just always been writing since age six. While the overwhelming bulk of my output is nonfiction, I never wanted to be a one-trick pony, so I do write fiction also for a change of pace. I have over 100 published books to my credit, not including books I ghostwrote for others. Many of my books are listed on my website, www.cynthiamacgregor.com, including most of the 54 books I had published conventionally and many of the over-50 e-books I’ve had published as well.  I’m so far from rich it isn’t funny, but I’m about as happy as a person can get. I often say there’s no one in the world I’d want to trade lives with…and I mean it!

  1. Any advice for aspiring authors?
1 – Don’t give up. 2 – Find your own unique voice and stick with it, rather than trying to sound like your favorite author or the best-selling author you can think of. 3 – Try your hand at different types and styles and genres and fields. Not only are there fiction and nonfiction, adult and juvenile, book-length and article/story-length, poetry and memoirs, there are also newspaper writing, press release writing, advertising copywriting, and a host of other types of writing apart from the ones that come to mind first. It’s still writing, y’know! If you love writing persuasive ad copy, that may be your niche. Mark Twain already wrote The Great American Novel—two of ’em, in fact. You might want to look elsewhere for your bliss.

  1. Where is the best place to follow your work?
I list all my new books on my website, www.cynthiamacgregor.com. I also announce them in the note from the publisher in my weekly eclectic ezine, EZine Does it, which is FREE to subscribe to, so you might want to check it out. If you want to subscribe—again, there’s NO COST—just send an email to ezinedoesit@cynthiamacgregor.com and put “SUBSCRIBE” in the Subject line. It goes out every Friday,

  1. Any additional comments?
Thank you for reviewing my book



Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Jeff Erno


Book Title: Bullied
Genre: Young Adult - LGBT
Publisher: Deamspinner Press
Links to purchase: 
2. Amazon

Blurb: Every day, all over the country, teenagers struggle with the realities of bullying. Tormented, ridiculed, and beaten—simply for being who they are—these teens face alienation, humiliation, and even the explicit assertion that they have somehow brought this upon themselves, that they should just blend in. Bullied is a series of short stories exploring the world of these teens from several different viewpoints: the victim, the bully, the gay bystander, the straight friend, the concerned parent.

Closeted Bryan wonders why Christian Michaelson doesn't just try to blend in if he hates being bullied so much. Star athlete David isn't a homophobe—after all, he's not afraid of anything. Jonathan, a Christian fundamentalist, must weigh the Bible against peer pressure and what he knows is right when he discovers his childhood friend is gay. Bully victim Chase Devereaux finds an unexpected ally in a brave fellow student. A single mom struggles to accept the reality that her only son is gay. Two tough gay teens are forced to confront their own inner demons when tragedy befalls a classmate they failed to help. And overweight Kirby finds the strength of character to make a friend, which leads to a lifestyle change and a chance at love. Each character grows as an individual as he or she comes to terms with what it means to be a gay teenager in America.

Review:
Reviewer: Allison

Anyone who knows me, knows I have an utter disdain for young adult books. It’s a sad fact, but it’s true. Even more so, I have an absolute intolerance bullying. So this book would’ve never caught my eye and screamed for me to read. But then I met Jeff Erno at the 2011 GRL.

Jeff put a copy of “Bullied” in my hand and he was such a joy at the convention, after things wound down I pulled out my copy out and cracked it open, figuring what the hell, I’ll give it a shot. Of all the books I’ve ever read, this one was the most rewarding, most heart-warming and most eye-opening read.

My favorite story in the book was about Jonathon, who was raised in a Christian household, who had always learned it was wrong to be gay. Then his best friend comes out of the closet to him and Jonathon turns his back to his friend. He struggled with that and the struggle felt as genuine as it comes. I won’t give away the ending of that particular story, but I was more than pleased.

Honestly, this should be more like a self-help book for parents of gay kids and gay kids who are being bullied. The stories all offer hope for the kids and maybe parents can take away a little better understanding of the things their "out" kids have to go through day in and day out.

Besides that, the stories are all beautifully told and I loved every character, even some of the bullies. I could see those same stories happening in my own high school so many years ago. Jeff, if I could give the book 10 stars, I think I would. I've never had so many "awww" moments in one read. BRAVO!!!

Interview:

  1. Tell us a little bit about how Bullied came to life. What inspired the story?
During the early months of 2011, there was a lot of media coverage about gay teen suicides that had resulted from bullying. I think we all know now that this is an epidemic that sadly has continued, even to this day. In spite of increased media attention, LGBT students continue to be at high risk for verbal, physical, and psychological assault. Several anti-bullying organizations emerged and efforts throughout the country were made to educate students, parents, and communities about the danger of bullying. Several big-name celebrities leant their voices to the cause.

Unfortunately, in spite of the effort to address this tragedy, the voices of reason were matched by those who wanted to blame the victims.  Many were quick to rationalize the behavior of the bullies, saying that it was a part of growing up. Some even went so far as to suggest that the issue itself was merely an attempt of the LGBT community to find new recruits.

I wanted to do something, to respond in some way. I’m not a public speaker. I’m not involved with any school system, and I’ve never been an educator or counselor or parent. But I have been the victim of bullying, and I know exactly how it feels. So I decided to write about it. Bullied is a collection of seven stories, highlighting seven different victims of high school bullying. Two of the stories are told from the perspective of the victim, one is in the voice of the victim’s friend, one is told from a bystander’s point of view, one through the eyes of a parent, and one in the words of the bully. There is also one story that is told in third person from multiple points of view.
Bullied was my attempt to do something.

  1. Who is your favorite character and what makes them so memorable to you?
I’m not sure that I could choose a favorite character, simply because this book is a compilation of seven different stories with seven different protagonists. I love all of the protags, and I relate to each of them on some level.

The last story in the book is titled “Kirby” and it is about a chubby teenage boy who has a crush on his best friend. Kirby is bullied more because he is overweight than due to his sexual orientation. I love Kirby for so many reasons. He is loyal. He is sincere and has such a pure heart. He’s very trusting, but in the end he demonstrates another characteristic which makes him extra special to me. He takes responsibility for himself and decides at last that he’s just not going to take it anymore. Not all victims are in a position to do this, but I loved presenting a story in which this sort of triumph was possible. In many ways, Kirby is a hero to me.

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to write.
When I was in grade school, I was writing stories. I always loved English grammar and literature classes, and I excelled in them. By the time I was in high school, I was writing more poetry than prose, and I still have a journal where all of my poems are stored.

My life took a different direction, and I never pursued my passion for writing. Instead I got my degree in business management and was a store manager for a retail operation. In the late 1990s I finally decided to write a novel. It was at a period of my life where I had undergone tremendous change. Several people that I loved had passed away within a short period of time. The writing was cathartic for me. I never really imagined at the time that any of my work would ever be published.

  1. Any advice for aspiring authors?
Wow. Maybe the best piece of advice I could offer is not to listen to any advice from me.  I guess I’d have to say, follow your passion. Don’t wait and allow yourself to be defined by the necessities of life. I did things that I thought I had to do, things that were expected of me.  As a result, I remained for twenty years in a profession that I detested.

And another thing I’d like to add is that no matter how many people love your work, there will be a percentage of readers who absolutely hate it. You might get feedback from hundreds of readers who shower you with praise and admiration, yet when your book becomes available on Amazon, there will be at least a couple of people who will feel the need to declare you are the worst writer on the planet. 

You have to believe in your own ability, and write because you love writing. If you are good at it, there will be an enormous number of readers who will appreciate it. Those are the voices that matter, not the mean people who enjoy tearing others down.

  1. Where is the best place to follow your work?
All of my titles are listed on Amazon and on Good Reads. I also maintain a website and blog at http://www.jefferno.com and I have a Facebook and Twitter account.

  1. Any additional comments?
Thank you for featuring my book and allowing me an opportunity to talk about myself and my work.



Monday, April 23, 2012

Bia Tanos


Book Title: Moonlit Destiny
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publisher: XoXo Publishing
Links to purchase:
1. Amazon

Blurb: As leader of The Executioners and founder of The Alliance, Quinn Stone is bound by duty to his race. Spending more time fighting than he does in a woman's presence, the warrior is one of eight vampires who have sworn to protect their people against an organization of scientists set out to capture them and clone their genetics for the advancement of humanity.

Dia Manaret is the owner of a ghost tour company and has always been inexplicably captivated by all things occult- especially vampires. When their paths collide on a sultry night in Miami Beach, they are irresistibly drawn to one another by the power of a prophecy. Yet as she delves deeper into his world, she becomes a target for his enemies.

Although Dia is familiar with the darkness of vampires, the evil side of her own species is something she knows nothing about. Now, Quinn's desire to protect his race is matched by his passion for Dia. In a battle to defend everything he loves, danger and romance ignite as his strength is put to the ultimate test.


Review:
Reviewer: Sarah

I love to read paranormal books and from reading the blurb, I knew that it fit what I like to read. From the beginning it grabbed my attention and dragged me in. The twists and turns were so well written it kept me locked to the screen, refusing to put it down for anything!! I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed reading Ms. Tanos’ work. I felt like I was almost hovering over the characters, literally pulled into the book, experiencing everything they did.

Without giving anything away, I love the detail that she put into the characters. You can literally see them jumping from the pages. I have read several big name authors, and some newer authors, and I was completely blown away at how well this book contends with some of the names you see popping up on the New York Times bestseller list.

She is an excellent author and I would highly recommend her books to all my friends. I hope she keeps the series going.

Interview:

  1. Tell us a little bit about how Moonlit Destiny came to life. What inspired the story?
Moonlit Destiny was originally a short story I had written a few years ago; to be used as a storyline for a role-playing group I had at the time. The theme wasn’t very cohesive for demons (what it was created for), so I altered it from demons to vampires. Of course, many additions and changes were made along the way. It wasn’t a romance story in the beginning.

  1. Who is your favorite character and what makes them so memorable to you?
My favorite character is Phoenix. His background is rooted in Gaelic mythology and demonology, which are two of my favorite subjects. That, and his personality is a well-balanced mix of suave womanizer with a killer sense of humor. Who doesn’t fall in love with that?

  1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to write.
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve written short stories and poetry. Some of them have been published in various school projects, and a few have won academic awards. My imagination runs wild, and it pours out on paper. Since writing is a form of catharsis for me, it’s rewarding to not only share my creativity, but to be able to express myself through the many characters and stories. Writing wasn’t so much a decision as it was a need.

  1. Any advice for aspiring authors?
I’m an aspiring author myself, so I’m sure that there are others out there who have a wealth of advice to share. Speaking solely from personal experience, I’d say to not give up. It’s a challenging industry to break into, and the road is paved with works that will never see the light of day. Just have faith in your writing and keep on keepin’ on.

  1. Where is the best place to follow your work?
Oh goodness, I’m everywhere. From Twitter to Goodreads and places in between. However, the two main sources are my Facebook page, www.facebook.com/Author.Bia.Tanos, or my blog, www.biatanos.com.

  1. Any additional comments?
Yes. I’d like to thank author Allison Cassatta for all of her support, encouragement and inspiration. Since meeting her, she’s been a constant source for all things positive. I can’t display enough gratitude for her, but I try, every chance I get. J



Thursday, April 19, 2012

Rick McGranahan


Book Title: Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy
Genre: Gay Literature / Memoir
Publisher: PublishAmerica
Link to purchase: www.rickmcg.webs.com

Blurb: You are invited into my Go-Go Boy/Stripper past. Over a period of seven years in the nightclub industry, go on a journey through memorable stories interwoven with documented journal entries, telling a true tale of how a Micro-celebrity alter ego stage name is created and then eventually put to death by self-destruction, eventually becoming a mere taunting ghost of the past. Encounter experiences of head exploding arrogance, defining friendships both shallow and deep, drug and alcohol addiction, traveling on naked money, struggling to find love under a DJ spotlight, and figuring out how to define the difference of being in love or in love with the idea of being in love. The nightclub industry wrapped its arms around me, swept me away in a whirlwind, but little did I know it would chew me up and spit me out. Come now, and visit my ghost with me


Review:
Reviewer: Allison

I think it’s incredibly important for me to preface this by saying I don’t like autobiographies because usually, they come off as pompous and boring, but this isn’t just any autobiography. Not by a damn sight and it’s anything but boring.

It starts off with this young boy who really isn’t comfortable with who or what he is and quickly explodes into a world of madness. Rick’s world pulled me in to the point I wanted to know the people (Some I admittedly stalk on Facebook.) I wanted to visit the club, which I’ve seen with my own two eyes.

I felt like I was actually reliving those days with him, the happiness and sadness, the excitement and fear, the good and the bad. It’s all there. You don’t miss ANYTHING. For God’s sake, I could hear the songs he danced to and I was shaking my booty right along with him as I read the words.

It takes a lot to pull me into a book and please don’t mistake this “memoir” as some bland story about someone’s uninteresting life, because I assure you, it’s far from it. Take Rick’s hand and let him show you the world of a young dancer from his stage. It’s WELL worth the view from up there. I highly… HIGHLY recommend this book.

Interview:

Tell us a little bit about how Visiting the Ghost of Puppyboy came to life. 
Puppyboy was a Dancer name christened to me by another Dancer.  A leather boy Stripper for show who became an addictive alter-ego personality in me. Pup's alter-ego image continued egging me on for years into a rise and fall of debauchery, drugs, a quest for love amongst broken hearts - mine and others.
He (Puppy)essentially became my reckless best friend as we both spiraled out of control inside one person - Me.
These days the memory of him still haunts me.  Hence the title 'Visiting the Ghost of"

What inspired the story?
A small stack of books sat with me years ago. They were tormenting journals that have been filled with haunting memories and outrageous stories of my days and nights while I was a dancer/ go-go boy/stripper.  The ins & outs of the nightlife industry had to be told through my eyes, to share the secrets with as many as would want to.  Isn't that what sweet taunting exhibitionism is all about?

Who is your favorite character and what makes them so memorable to you?
My Dominatrix Dance Manager from the nightclubs Club Fetish & The Chamber.  She gave me my stage & spotlight to begin with at t the beginning of it all.  To make a scene in front of hundreds at her command.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what made you decide to write.
Go to the book's website, www.rickmcg.webs.com , and click the 'About Me' tab.  It saves space on this page

Any advice for aspiring authors?
Don't let writer's block last more than a week, you'll end up repeating a Chapter you forgot you wrote!

Any additional comments?
Don’t regret things you've written, the words came from you for a reason… even if it’s only you understands what it means !

You can visit Rick at the links below: