Eat Your Alligator!: On Wings of Song by Anne Barwell

For an explanation of Eat Your Alligator, click here.


OnWingsofSongThanks for hosting me today, Kim.


Although Aiden and Jochen’s story in On Wings of Song begins when they meet during the Christmas Truce in 1914 during WWI, it is not just a story about war.  It is also about two men finding themselves, and each other.


One of the reasons I enjoy writing stories set during—or after—a war is that I can explore how it impacts on not only those who fought, but society as a whole. What the men and women went through was horrific. However, that is not the focus of the story, but the beginning.  Books have been written set in the midst of battles and telling the story of those in detail, complete with blood and guts.  I try to give a glimpse of it, of the moments that impacted my characters, rather than show every battle, including the gory details.


I love exploring history. Society and technology may change, but people don’t.  They still live and love, and need encouragement to follow their dreams.  I don’t believe that anyone truly wins a war. Both sides suffer physically and emotionally, which is why this story is told from the perspective of Aiden—who is British—and Jochen—a German.


This is a story that, although it begins during a war, is about a shared love of literature and music between two men who have the potential to be friends and more.



Six years after meeting British soldier Aiden Foster during the Christmas Truce of 1914, Jochen Weber still finds himself thinking about Aiden, their shared conversation about literature, and Aiden’s beautiful singing voice. A visit to London gives Jochen the opportunity to search for Aiden, but he’s shocked at what he finds.


The uniform button Jochen gave him is the only thing Aiden has left of the past he’s lost. The war and its aftermath ripped everything away from him, including his family and his music. When Jochen reappears in his life, Aiden enjoys their growing friendship but knows he has nothing to offer. Not anymore.


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“I’ve seen it,” Aiden said quietly. “I wish to God I hadn’t.” He looked directly at Jochen. Jochen met Aiden’s gaze. He’d seen an echo of Conrad’s fire in Aiden when he’d talked about his music earlier that afternoon.


“Don’t die on the wire, Aiden.”


“I’ll try not to.” Aiden’s words were an empty promise. They both knew it, but what else was he going to say?


The red-haired man Aiden had spoken to about arranging the burials walked over to him. He too held a shovel, and he wiped perspiration from his brow despite the cold. “There’s going to be a combined service for the dead,” he told them. “In about ten minutes in no man’s land in front of the French trenches.”


As they made their way over, men were already beginning to gather, soldiers from opposite sides sitting together, conversation dwindling to a respectful silence. A British chaplain stood in front of them, a Bible in his hand, a German beside him. Jochen recognized him, although he didn’t know his name. The young man was only a few years older than Jochen and was studying for the ministry—would he ever get the chance to complete those studies?


Jochen and Aiden found somewhere to sit a few rows back from the front and joined the company of men. The German spoke first. “Vater unser, der du bist im Himmel. Geheiligt werde dein Name.”


The British chaplain repeated the words in English. “Our Father who art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.”


They then spoke a few words each, some from the Bible, the rest from their hearts. Their congregation was silent apart from a few quiet “amens.” Jochen saw a couple of men wipe tears away. He was close to it himself.


Finally the chaplain bowed his head in prayer. When he’d finished, he spoke quietly to the man who had come to stand next to him. It was Captain Williams. He nodded and looked over the crowd, his gaze fixing on Aiden.


Aiden must have guessed what Williams wanted. He inclined his head in response and then stood. Jochen glanced between the two men, confused. What did Williams expect Aiden to do?


“Aiden?” Jochen asked softly.


Aiden smiled at him and began to sing. “O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining….” He lifted his head, his voice strong and clear, each note building on the last to create something truly beautiful, something angelic. Aiden’s eyes shone; his body swayed slightly in time with the music. He was the music.


His audience sat in awe. Jochen could feel the emotion rippling through the men around him, tangible, as though he could reach out and touch it. He felt something inside himself reach out, wanting to be a part of it, to be carried along the wave of pure music, to grab it and never let go.



Anne Barwell lives in Wellington, New Zealand. She shares her home with two cats who are convinced that the house is run to suit them; this is an ongoing “discussion,” and to date it appears as though the cats may be winning. In 2008 she completed her conjoint BA in English Literature and Music/Bachelor of Teaching. She has worked as a music teacher, a primary school teacher, and now works in a library. She is a member of the Upper Hutt Science Fiction Club and plays violin for Hutt Valley Orchestra. She is an avid reader across a wide range of genres and a watcher of far too many TV series and movies, although it can be argued that there is no such thing as “too many.” These, of course, are best enjoyed with a decent cup of tea and further the continuing argument that the concept of “spare time” is really just a myth.


Anne’s books have twice received honorable mentions and twice reached the finals in the Rainbow Awards.




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Eat Your Alligator!: Nighttime Promises by M.A. Church

For an explanation of Eat Your Alligator, click here.


Eat Your Alligator!: Nighttime Promises by M.A. Church


NighttimePromisesSo what in the world possessed me to write a story about tentacles? *laugh* Originally the idea came from an anthology submission. While I’d written sci-fi before, tentacles was a new one for me.

Most of those stories I’d read were dark and edging on toward scary. So I decided to do something different. My alien does indeed have tentacles, but they look more like dreads and are on his head. On the males of the species, they’re part of his reproduction system. So, yes, the tentacles like to come out and play. *wink *

I didn’t make the 25K word count cut off. Not only did I not make it, the story ended up close to 90K! It ended up with not one, but two, humans and several tentacled alien warriors. What can I say? They all had a story to tell.

It didn’t take long to see that while the alien’s tentacles were very much a part of the story, the books themselves didn’t revolve around just that. I actually ended up devoting a lot of time to world building. The series starts on earth and then ends up in outer space—on the alien’s planet lol!


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Book Description:


When you wish upon a star… it comes true in ways you never expected.


Things have gone downhill since Sheriff Bryan Coltrane got involved in the FBI’s investigation of a recent UFO crash. Not only is a homophobic agent pushing his buttons, but he’s made contact with one of the aliens…who wants him for a mate!


Daroshi, a warrior with tentacles from the planet Maz’Rar, monitored the rescue of his captain, Ziang. Impressed by the courageous and brawny human male, he wants Bryan for his own despite knowing little about the race. Neither man is prepared for the problems arising from Daroshi’s desires, or the passion exploding between them.


What’s an alien to do when his mate harps on his civil rights and makes demands? He makes the wishes come true.




“I had two big-ass aliens after me, of course I tased him. What did you expect after the way you busted through the window? You think I was going to offer you a beer? And fuck, my house is probably gonna burn down since I left the damn stove on!” Bryan yelled. “Son of a bitch, I left the damn stove on.”

The door to Medical opened and Shawn walked inside, with Blayno guarding him. He’d heard most of the conversation from outside.

“Huh, I did tell you he wouldn’t come without a fight.” Smirking, Shawn took in the flushed faces of Daroshi and Bryan. “Think I also warned you to disarm him.”

Daroshi threw his hands up in the air. “Are all humans like this?”

“Only the ones half scared out of their minds.” Shawn turned to Bryan. “How’s it hanging, dude?”

“Shawn?” Bryan whispered, relieved to see another actual human. “Is that really you? They didn’t, like, turn you into a pod person or something, did they? It’s really you?”

Shawn choked back a laugh. “It’s me.”

He walked closer to Bryan, and Ziang growled loudly, the sound bouncing off the walls. “Shawn, do not move any closer to him, he has a—”

“Chill out, E.T. I’m not the one he’s threatening.” Shaking his head, he jumped on the medibed and sat down next to Bryan. “Bryan, they aren’t going to hurt you, I promise. But the knife has to go, dude.”



About the Author:


M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!


When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children. She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013.


For more information on other books by M.A., visit her official website:



Social Media links:


Blog * Twitter * Facebook * The Harvest FB fan page * Goodreads * Amazon


Tour giveaway:


2 eBook backlist titles from ARe Books catalog to two winners

a Rafflecopter giveaway






Eat Your Alligator!: Pandemus Chronicles by Grace R. Duncan

~~For an explanation of Eat Your Alligator!, click here.~~


Pandemus Chronicles came out of the idea that I wanted to write a holiday story that was different, but still had a positive, happy ending. I’ve always been fascinated by post-apocalyptic worlds. One of my favorite novels of all time is The Stand. But the thing that always interested me about it is the “what if?” What would I do if I’d survived something like that?

When I sat down to write Celebrating You, which was a submission for the Heartwarming anthology through Dreamspinner, I knew the world wouldn’t be the focus. Though it would be there, the focus was most definitely on the guys—on their struggles, their emotions and, hopefully, on their new, budding relationship. When Healing came along a little while later, the same thing happened—the story was about them, their relationship, and their experiences that led them there, not so much the world. The world existed, but it wasn’t the biggest aspect of the story.

So, then, when I published it, I found quite a few folks who echoed what I was trying to get across—that it was a human, contemporary story, just with a few extra trials thrown in. While technically sci-fi/post-pandemic, it was still about the love and relationships, still had all the things in the world we’re all familiar with… just altered a bit.

Pandemus links:

My site:

Pandemus Chronicles @ Dreamspinner:

Celebrating You and links:

With the world’s population down to almost nothing and his husband dead, Daniel is sure he’ll spend Christmas alone with his dog, cats, and goats. Jake has been wandering aimlessly since the world went to hell and he lost his partner. As far as he’s concerned, there’s nothing to celebrate. But he finds himself helping Daniel with his Christmas tree and listening to him describe all the things to be thankful for.

Through tree decoration, dinner, and a chess game, Daniel and Jake discover a connection between them that hints at a possibility both had long declared impossible. When the chess game is over and they’re in each other’s arms, they realize how good it feels… and how right. But after having lost everything, are they willing to believe in the possibility of something beyond basic survival?





Healing blurb and links:

When Duncan stumbles into a pharmacy in search of something to fix his broken leg, he’s surprised to find someone else there. Like the rest of the post-pandemic world, it appeared empty. Instead, he discovers Mark, a former nurse who walked away from his profession after losing too many patients to the virus. Despite swearing he’d never practice medicine again, Mark patches Duncan up over Duncan’s protests. He even finds an abandoned house in the tiny town, and they settle in until Duncan heals enough to look out for himself. Much to the chagrin of both, they find themselves caring for each other.

Duncan welcomes it, thrilled at finding someone he can trust. However, he’s well aware of the shadows in Mark’s eyes and understands Mark’s reticence as he learns the story. But as he’s starting to do things for himself again, Duncan realizes he doesn’t want Mark to leave. He’s not sure if can get Mark to let go of his fears so they can stay together and love. But Duncan’s damned sure going to try.


Text Links:

noh8Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble.  Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

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Eat Your Alligator!: Motel. Pool.

~~For an explanation of Eat Your Alligator!, click here~~

Paranormal romances are popular, yet I know a lot of readers don’t like ghost stories. I’m not sure why. Maybe they’re doubtful that the characters can achieve a HEA if one of them is a ghost. Maybe readers think it’s impossible for the spectral set to enjoy a satisfying sex life.

Motel.PoolFSIf you’ve found yourself in the anti-phantom camp, consider trying my Motel. Pool. Sure, Jack died several decades before Tag was born. I’m not gonna lie–that does put a bit of a crimp in things. But can you trust me to find a way to give these guys a happy ending anyway? And also to make sure that along the way, Jack and Tag enjoy some special–and very physical–intimate times together?

If you’re willing to give this one a shot, I can offer you side benefits. There are some minor characters I’m really fond of, particularly biker dude Buddy (who makes a cameo in Rattlesnake). And there are some wonderfully gritty settings–the abandoned ruins of an Arizona motel, a seedy Las Vegas fleatrap, a crappy downtown casino. The kinds of places where ghosts seem inevitable, really.

I got the inspiration for this book when my husband surprised us with a road trip to the Grand Canyon, followed by a few days in Vegas. I love the way the story came together and I think maybe you will too. Oh, and that gorgeous cover is by Paul Richmond.

So eat your alligator, and give a ghost a try.

You can find Motel. Pool. at Amazon, Dreamspinner, and other booksellers.

Spirit_postcard_front_DSPOh, and if you discover you like sexy ghosts? preorder Spirit, which releases October 19.


Eat your alligator!

alligatorMy younger daughter is a picky eater. I mean, she won’t eat rice. How can you not like rice? And even some foods that she does like, she’ll eat only in particular forms. She’s cool with French fries and potato pancakes, but not mashed or baked. She likes spaghetti, but only with olive oil or alfredo, not regular tomato-based spaghetti sauce. She loves raw tomatoes, though.

Luckily, many of the things she does like are good for her, or relatively so. Almost all fruits. Carrots and asparagus. Bread. Grilled chicken (no sauce, though). So she’s not likely to suffer from malnutrition. Still, it can be frustrating trying to cater to her preferences while meeting her nutritional needs and pleasing the rest of the family as well.

But here’s the thing. This summer, we ate at a New Orleans-style restaurant in Seattle. My older daughter, who’s a considerably more adventurous eater (unless veggies are involved), ordered an alligator sandwich. She liked it. But there must have been something in the air that day, because the younger kid very uncharacteristically decided she wanted to try the alligator too. She had a big bite of her sister’s sandwich–and loved it. Now, having apparently settled on a Cajun theme, she’s clamoring to try frogs’ legs.

All of which is a very long-winded introduction to a new blog theme. Eat Your Alligator! My aim is to try to tempt you to try something a little out of your comfort zone, book-wise. A new genre. A new theme. Maybe you think you’d never enjoy a shifter book but I can lure you in with a hipster architect werewolf. Maybe you think you hate hate historicals but you’d really enjoy something set in 15th century Bosnia.

I’ll begin next week by pimping one of my own books, a ghost story for people who can’t stand ghosts. But I would also be really thrilled to get your recs. What’s a story you read that you think will please those who are gun-shy? Name your alligator! Please comment below or email me (