Posts in the LGBT genre

Guest Post

Guest Post: Masks (Virtual and Otherwise) by Kris Ripper

Follow Me Into Darkness Kris Ripper J.R. Gray Santino Hassell J.C. Lillis Roan Parrish

Writing’s a funny sort of business. You sit in a room and tap on the keyboard for hours that stretch to days that stretch to weeks that stretch to months. Maybe you have a day job where you talk to other people—hell, maybe you even enjoy your day job—or maybe you have kids underfoot, and a dog or two.

Maybe you live in a tall apartment building from which you can look out the window and see buildings and cars and people for miles. Or maybe you live in a little cabin in the middle of a field of dry grass, with only a dirt road connecting you to the outside world. Maybe you’re in a suburb and the block party’s tonight and while you should be making your famous dry rub, you’re actually scribbling away at the sex scene you’ve been building up to for weeks.

“Where’s your dish for the pot luck?” one of the neighbors asks.

“So sorry,” you say. “I got completely caught up writing porn. You know how it is.”

No one knows how it is. No one. Except other writers.

I’ve never met any of the other writers in this anthology in person. We’ve never shaken hands. I’ve heard their voices, a few of them, through various audio readings (some under duress; peer pressure works well into adulthood!). But I could pass any of them on the street without recognizing them.

And yet in a different sense I feel closer to them than I did most of my coworkers throughout the years. Sure, we haven’t stood around an employee break room griping about our boss, or found a quiet corner in a retail store where we could gripe about our boss, or waited until our boss’s shift was over at the coffee shop so we could gripe about them in absentia—

Hang on. I’m sure I’ve bonded with coworkers over things other than terrible bosses. I just can’t think of any right now.


This is only the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to virtually hang out with my co-conspirators in the same anthology, and I gotta say, it’s better than any break room. I could whine to any one of them that I was slacking off on something important because I was in the middle of That Scene—you know That Scene—and they’d know exactly what I was talking about. (It’s not porn for everyone, of course. But let’s be honest: for me it’s usually a scene with vulnerability and emotion and intensity, and I love using sex as a medium to get to all those places.)

This is a collection of stories about masks in various forms, and I’d like you to join us by considering some of your own. Maybe you wear a mask to parent-teacher conferences, or to big meetings at work where you’re presenting a project you’ve been working on for weeks. Maybe your mask shields you from small talk at social gatherings, where you insert “mm hm” and “oh yes” at varying intervals to demonstrate you’re paying attention (when in actual fact you’re desperately trying to hear the ball game someone nearby is illicitly streaming just below your hearing range).

Your mask might be the perfect life you show on your Facebook feed when in actual fact it’s all fiction. Then again, late nights on Twitter might be the only time you can drop your mask and truly be yourself.

Join us in celebrating a little bit of carnival—put on a mask, if that makes you feel free, or rip your usual mask off. Whatever you do, take our hands and follow us into darkness.

Follow Me Into Darkness: Five Tales of Carnivale Romance

Carnivale is a time for decadence, for revelry, and for mischief. A time when we shed the figurative masks we wear in everyday life in favor of new ones… ones that allow us to be a little bolder, a little more adventurous, and perhaps a little truer to ourselves. Follow Me Into Darkness is a compilation of original tales of queer romance by five of the premier authors of contemporary romance.

Hurricane by Santino Hassell

Interesting things never happened to Zay. He was the wallflower everyone forgot about as soon as the booze began to flow, and Mardi Gras had never been an exception. But after a chance encounter with a devil-may-care grifter, this year’s celebration brings adventure and whirlwind romance.

If We Be Friends by J.C. Lillis

Seventeen-year-old Ven should be flying highhe’s playing the title role in a new TV drama about Hamlet’s teen years, and tonight they’re having a Mardi Gras cast party in a possibly-haunted castle. But Ven’s lost all his mirth since his boyfriend suggested they “take a break,” so he plans to skip the bash and brood in his trailer all night. Then the exasperating guy who plays Horatio challenges him to a Shakespearean soliloquy-off, and Ven knows his actorly honor is at stake. He says yes to the duel, trudges off to the the party to meet his fate–and finds that more awaits him onstage than a battle of wits and words.

Masked by J.R. Gray

Blistering heat and half-naked masked men as far as the eye can see, but Heath runs into the one face it’s taken him fifteen years to forget. Javier is plagued with a life of regret, but when a second chance confronts him, can he let go of his hang-ups and seize the moment?

The Queen’s Reflection by Kris Ripper

Isah plays the role everyone expects: malleable and cautious, a true queen. But what others see as a queen’s appropriate modesty is really just a disguise for what Isah has never told anyone, the thing no one can ever know.

This body, dressed in the queen’s gowns, is a lie.

Once a year, at carnival, Isah dons someone else’s clothes and becomes them for a night. A young cook in stained whites, or a stableboy in worn breeches. As long as no one gets too close the pretense holds.

Until two strangers look past all the characters and Isah finally exposes the person behind the mask.

Touched by Roan Parrish

Sometimes when he touches people Philippe Rondeau sees their future. It’s erratic and inconvenient, but mostly he’s learned to deal with it. Sure he hasn’t found true love yet, but he has friends and lovers, and is kept busy running his family’s jazz club in Prohibition-era New Orleans. But now it’s Mardi Gras and all bets are off. In the space of one night, Philippe falls under the spell of jazz musician Claude and learns a terrible secret about his powers. If Philippe is certain of anything it’s that the future can be tricky, but the chance at love makes it all seem worthwhile.

Kris Ripper lives in the great state of California and hails from the San Francisco Bay Area. Kris shares a converted garage with a toddler, can do two pull-ups in a row, and can write backwards. (No, really.) Kris is genderqueer and prefers the z-based pronouns because they’re freaking sweet. Ze has been writing fiction since ze learned how to write, and boring zir stuffed animals with stories long before that.

Kris can be found on Twitter, Goodreads, and


Guest Post

Guest Post: “One of These Things Is Not Like the Other” by Elisabeth Staab

By The Rules Elisabeth Staab

I love the way the landscape of publishing is changing. It’s definitely a fun, exciting time to be a writer.

When I released At the Stars, the first book in my Evergreen Grove series, my heroine landed unexpectedly in a tiny town with no plans. Her first friend in this strange place was a colorful hairdresser/motel handyman named AJ, who had a slightly sketchy past as a male escort. He was so much fun for me, but so “out there,” and as much as I loved him I hadn’t given much consideration to him as a future hero of his own story.

Read More

Deadly Rising Ad Gif
Guest Post

Guest Post: “Strangers to Lovers” by Harper Fox

Cold Fusion Harper Fox

I’m Harper Fox, and today I’ll be talking about the strangers-to-lovers theme in my latest release from Samhain Publishing, Cold Fusion.

I come to the strangers-to-lovers trope from a specialised point of view. I need to convince my readers that it can happen like a thunderbolt, but I don’t need to start by convincing myself. I first saw the love of my life across a crowded university hallway, and before I’d even found out her name, I knew she was the one. We just celebrated our thirtieth anniversary, so that was a pretty good call.

I know I’ve been ridiculously fortunate, but that’s why I can approach a book like Cold Fusion with the belief that two people who are made for each other can overcome the obstacles between them and find their own ever-after. In a relatively short space of time, too – thirteen days, in Mallory and Vivian’s case. In fact the trope is almost enemies-to-lovers – Mal is brusque, impatient, tactless, and bursts in upon Viv’s controlled scientific world like a hurricane. He’s exactly the wrong type of guy for Viv, whose life is shaped by Asperger Syndrome, and who copes by setting rigid controls on his environment.

Read More

Guest Post

Guest Post: “When I’m a Writer I’ll…” by Amy Lane

Lollipop by Amy Lane

Oh yes—we all have an image of that thing we want to be when we grow up, right? When I was getting my degree, I thought teaching would be me, elegant and coiffed, smiling benevolently as I dispersed the magic of the literary gods to the willing masses.

I had no idea I’d spend most of my career wearing jeans and a t-shirt, saying things like, “If you’re going to pass me a phony excuse note, dorkweed, try to hide the fresh hickey on your neck when you come in!”

But that’s okay—because the things I did get from teaching were infinitely better than the image I had of what it would be like.

But that doesn’t mean the image wasn’t fun.

So here’s a list of things we absolutely need to be good writers. Must haves. Can’t write without them. Everyone’s gottem.


Read More

Autumn Thorns Yasmine Galenorn
Guest Post

Guest Post: Kasia Bacon’s Dirty Dozen of 2015

Kasia Bacon's DD

I believe there is nothing wrong with occasionally making yourself the centre of the universe (#narcissist). So because I can, I decided to disregard publication dates on this occasion and make my literary Dirty Dozen – or my top twelve M/M books, about the most memorable novels I have read in 2015. Therefore, my finalists are not necessarily recent releases, or even ones published within the last 12 months. For reasons known precisely to no one, I missed some gems released in previous years, and clearly have been playing the catch-up game. So there you have it, in no particular order, a peculiar mix of new, and slightly older – twelve separate and varied categories, twelve superb books. All captivating reads, very much on point and highly recommended, even if I say so myself (#narcissist).

Scrap Metal by Harper FoxHARPER FOX, Scrap Metal

This book goes under my BEST BRITISH CONTEMPORARY NOVEL category. The most striking thing about it is the exquisite style of writing– elegant and refined, but intense all the same. Few authors in the M/M genre share this unique ability to dress their thoughts in the language so lyrical and poetic, yet crisp and clear.

Vividly emotional and angsty, this story is touchingly romantic. It features one of my most beloved secondary characters – the curmudgeonly, tough as nails, Gaelic speaking old devil, hiding a huge heart underneath his surly exterior. A subtle pinch of the supernatural adds flavour into the mix. A crime to miss it.

Harper Fox quote







In The Absense of Light Adrienne WilderADRIENNE WILDER, In the Absence of Light

Here goes my BEST AMERICAN CONTEMPORARY NOVEL award. This book is unusual, kooky and completely delightful. I loved every page of this fluidly written emotional journey. I found the setting of a small sleepy town utterly charming. The characters are bold, quirky and powerful; the relationship building tugged at my heart. The plot is intriguing, a little on the thriller side at times, and the humour – dry. Overall, it’s an uplifting, charming story with a lot of beauty and some shadows along the way, a tad of angst, finally concluded with a satisfying HEA.

Adrienne Wilder quote








Sutphin Boulevard Santino HassellSANTINO HASSELL, Sutphin Boulevard

This is, unquestionably, my HOTTEST BOOK OF THE YEAR. Steamy, passionate and damn sexy, it features some top-notch erotica. For me, its attractiveness also originates from the fact, that this novel peruses edgier, darker avenues, marred with difficult, real topics with some raw authenticity about them. The characters, despite messing up badly and being greatly flawed and damaged, exude seriously irresistible charm and possess ridiculously high likeability factor – and the dynamics between them, Lord Almighty! In addition, it’s a bromance. And the sex is scorching. Just making sure I’ve made my point about the fiery sex crystal clear.

Santino Hassell quote








Nightingale Aleksandr VoinovALEKSANDR VOINOV, Nightingale 

This book wins my BEST HISTORICAL QUEER NOVEL award easily. I’m a massive fan of the World War II time period in fiction. The historical detail is executed just right – there’s enough of it to create the ambiance, but not enough to overwhelm. What I most loved about this book, is its atmospheric feel – the fear, the anxiety, and anticipation of something dreadful about to happen any time soon, the suspenseful vibe keeping me on the edge. The emotions are flying high – it’s not really a romance, although there’s a love story there. The writing is brilliant – articulate and well-turned. To my mind, Aleksandr is pretty much a unique phenomenon within the M/M fiction; I’m convinced there isn’t a subgenre he couldn’t proficiently do.

Aleksandr Voinov quote







In the Middle of Somewhere Roan ParrishROAN PARRISH, In the Middle of Somewhere

This novel takes podium as the BEST DEBUT of the year. Although it contains a relatively angst free, sweet, and heart-warming story, it doesn’t come across as corny or overly saccharine. There are many interesting cinematic and culinary references within. The style is innovative and the language – imaginative with a fair portion of humour woven in between. And what an engaging pair of main characters! It is a book about a character’s growth and it’s just as endearing, as it is amusing.

Every household should come equipped with Rex.

Roan Parrish quote








Restless SpiritsJORDAN L. HAWK, Restless Spirits

This marvellous combination of a sexy historical romance and spooky supernatural tale tops my BEST URBAN FANTASY category. One could call it the Ghostbusters of the 1800s. I enjoyed the original concept and well developed plot. The world building thrills with its creativeness, the cast of characters is diverse, the writing witty and the editing – thorough.  This is an excellent introduction to the new paranormal series – eerie and creepy just enough, with a touch of heat.

Restless Spirits Quote








I’ve read tonnes of anthologies this year. This collection claims the BEST ANTHOLOGY title with no qualms whatsoever. Those ten highly entertaining stories about miscellaneous sympathetic monsters and magical abilities, written by a solid crew of my favourite M/M paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors, are an obligatory read for the fanciers of this subgenre. This anthology is as varied content and style wise, as it is homogeneous regarding the quality of writing, which is, frankly, outstanding. I guarantee that fun times will be had by all.


 All She Wrote Josh LanyonJOSH LANYON, All She Wrote (Holmes & Moriarity #2)

My Dirty Dozen would feel all wrong without a Lanyon in it. This novel gets the BEST MYSTERY title hands down. I loved the vintage whodunit feel about it, complete with the classic secluded manor setting and amateur sleuthing. My favourite trope – the lovers reunited theme – makes an appearance, giving this novel a surprisingly romantic vibe. The writing is precise and eloquent, as ever. Josh generously displays her trademark humour – the dry, ironic, and witty type, characterised by its deadpan and sarcastic delivery. A superb and refined read.

Josh Lanyon Quote







Ginn Hale quoteGINN HALE, Swift and the Black Dog

I’ve read a staggering amount of short stories this year, possibly more than over the previous three years combined. Many of them were simply fabulous, so the competition within this category was fierce, indeed. Ginn’s is, undoubtedly, the BEST SHORT STORY I’ve read not only this year, but in a long time. It features somewhat darker, dystopian undertones and an endearing romantic element. Fascinating characters, exquisite world building, smooth composition, compelling story telling – it bears the Ginn quality stamp all over it. This story practically screams for a follow-up or a prequel (seriously, I’ll take either or both, I’m not fussy in this case).

Shattered Glass Dani AlexanderDANI ALEXANDER, Shattered Glass
This book contains the BEST HUMOUR I’ve encountered in the M/M romances in 2015. Its hysterically funny lines had me in stiches, roaring with laughter like a loon several times, what resulted in receiving funny looks from alarmed co-commuters, while travelling on public transport. The story is fast-paced and presented in the most brilliantly executed first person narrative I’ve come across in ages. The whole thing is just one effortless, smooth and hilarious ride.  I’m virtually getting RSI in my finger, hovering over the one-click button, in a nervous anticipation of book two.

Dani Alexander quote








Damages Incurred J. R. GrayJ.R. GRAY, Damages Incurred (Bound #4)

I’ve read a heap of BDSM books this year, as it is my favourite subgenre. Sadly, I remained unimpressed by it to a large extend, due to its repetitiveness and playing to the stereotypes. This book decisively stands out for me, so awarding it the BEST BDSM ROMANCE title, truly is a no brainer. There’s nothing trite about it; it’s written with verve, the plot is gripping and the action quick moving. Having a range of well-developed characters – imperfect and broken, just as I like them – to follow increased the book’s attractiveness.  Not to mention that the sex is, fittingly, ass-whippingly good.

J.R. Gray quote







Channeling Morpheus Jordan Castillo PriceJORDAN CASTILLO PRICE, Channeling Morpheus for Bloody Mary

This choice, for once, was a piece of cake to make. I award this book the BEST AUDIOBOOK prize without even breaking a sweat. It is a complete masterpiece and has class coming out of its ears. The highly sensual combo of JCP’s writing & the velvety, sexy ooze of Gomez Pugh’s low voice should be made illegal. Whenever they come together, the magic happens and my insides quiver perilously. There’s nothing better than having your favourite, madly talented narrator reading one of your most beloved books, which features a character you have a ginormous crush on (#TeamWildBill4Eva).

Jodan Castillo Price quote







Stygian Santino HassellSANTINO HASSELL, Stygian

Cheekily rounding my collection up to a baker’s dozen, I’ve added the thirteenth book, which is my BEST PARANORMAL NOVEL of the year. This dark, suspenseful, eerie Southern Gothic fiction, featuring vampires, musicians, and complicated romance, hits just the right balance between creepy and hot. The storytelling carries inarguable cinematic quality and aesthetics about it and the character creation kicks major ass.

Santino Hassell quote 2







The M/M genre has experienced its fair share of difficulties this year, scandals and dramas included. Regardless of its assorted struggles and hiccups, I feel the genre has grown, in terms of both popularity and diversity, which is a promising factor for its future. As for literary value, 2015 was a very fruitful year, indeed. I’ve accumulated a sizable (or, well, unrealistic) to-be-read pile for the next year and discovered many exciting new authors. I need to mention at least one – J.C. Lillis, whose poignant and masterfully written short story entitled Memory Hills stunned me with its originality and left me teary-eyed. Choosing a dozen novels out of almost three hundred I’ve read in 2015 was an agonising and exhausting exercise. Frankly, I’m relieved I don’t need to repeat it for another twelve months.

Kasia BaconA bilingual Londoner Kasia Bacon is a literary/medical translator and a proofreader. An avid reader, reviewer and book blogger, she’s currently working on her debut M/M fantasy novel, filled with the shenanigans of assassins and sexy elves. She has a mild coffee and lemon tart addiction, coupled with a slight obsession of all things paranormal. She is a lover of MMA, nature and the great outdoors. She can be found on her website, Twitter, or on Goodreads.

Guest Post

Guest Post: “5 Side Characters Whose Story I Desperately Want to Read” by Ellie Reads

Usually I focus on the main couple in the romance I’m reading but sometimes there is a side character that steals the show or intrigues me just enough as to imagine what happens to them in the future. Sometimes the authors grant our wishes and we get a series of fabulous stories featuring side characters from the previous books. Other times, though, our beloved side characters remain just that, an added bonus to the story which makes the main couple shine even brighter.

Here is my list of 5 side characters that grabbed my attention and I hope the authors would look kindly upon my wishes and someday would write their stories.

I’m starting with Niall from Glitterland by Alexis Hall. He is Ash’s ex and is now in love with a bisexual friend of theirs who, in the course of the story, marries a woman from their circle of friends. Niall has a major role in Ash and Darrian’s story and while he made me want to punch him in the face more than once while reading Glitterland, I also felt deeply sympathetic to him. He seemed so hurt, lost and alone, unable to find his place in the changing world of his friends. Despite his mistakes I feel he is a good man and I want him to find his happiness. Most of all, I want to read his journey to a well-deserved HEA.

Read More

Reviews, Books

Review: A Look at Santino Hassell’s SUNSET PARK by Kasia BB

Sunset Park Santino Hassell

Unquestionably brilliantly written, Sunset Park is the second installment in the Five Boroughs story.  It has been the most anticipated autumn release for me.  The first book, Sutphin Boulevard, was deliciously angsty and featured darker themes.  In comparison, this novel constitutes a much lighter read, filled with sweeter, romantic undertones, repartee, and humor.  It also has more of a New Adult feel. Still, there’s an edge to it, and plenty of heat – of the Kindle melting variety.

Recently I wrote a post on the classic tropes I enjoy within the M/M genre.  Coincidentally, Sunset Park is cleverly woven around not one, not two, but three of my favorite themes, turning this book into something of my kryptonite.

Read More

Exclusive Excerpt

Exclusive Excerpt: TWOFER by Daisy Harris

Twofer Daisy Harris

Twofer by Daisy Harris is out today from Samhain Publishing and we’ve got an exclusive excerpt for you! We hope you enjoy! Be sure and get your copy of Twofer today!

When Frankie got home, Jeremy lay in bed with the covers pulled up to his chest and his laptop propped on the storage cube playing the same Titanic soundtrack he always listened to when he was depressed.

Read More


Q&A: Santino Hassell, Karen Stivali, and Damon Suede on Movies

3 book graphic with release dates - new - final

Today we have the second round of our Q&A with Santino Hassell, Karen Stivali, and Damon Suede. They are all on tour together for their newest releases, Sunset Park, Moment of Silence, and Pent Up respectively! Enjoy their answers, and be sure and pick up their books today too!

What are your favorite movies with romance or romantic elements?

Karen’s movie picks:

For romantic NY movies:

Keeping The Faith: Friends to lovers, love triangle, family struggles, and a mind-blowingly accurate portrayal of my own experience where Jewish and Catholic families are involved, all set throughout the city as if the whole movie is a love letter to NY (which I’m guessing is exactly what director (and star) Edward Norton was going for with this film). I love it.

Read More

Guest Post

Exclusive Excerpt: NOT SAFE FOR WORK by L. A. Witt

Not Safe For Work L.A. Witt

Today L.A. Witt’s new book, Not Safe For Work hit shelves and e-readers! We’ve got a great excerpt for you to enjoy. Be sure and pick up your copy of Not Safe for Work today!

Rick took a few deep swallows of water. I left mine on the table but wrapped my hands around it, letting the cold bring me back to earth.

My body temperature slowly came down, though the same could not be said for my pulse, especially as I whispered, “Why me, Rick?”


“You heard me.”

He tapped his fingers on the sides of his glass. “I did, but…I’m not sure I understand the question. Why not you?”

Read More