Blast from the Past: Checkmate by Lex Chase

Howdy everyone! Kim invited me over to talk about old hidden gems you may have missed from the Lex Chase vault.

PawnTakesRookORIGWell, allow me to present Checkmate, a superhero novella series that’s part drama, part comedy, all pop culture. In order the books are Pawn Takes Rook and Cashing the Reality Check, both released in 2013, and Conventional Love in 2014.

In a nutshell, Checkmate is the story of disgraced superhero Memphis Rook and his plucky sidekick/boyfriend Hogarth Dawson on a quest for redemption. We see this all unfold through Hogarth’s point of view which equates into the story of Batman as told by a hyperactive chipmunk.

The series had been an oddity among m/m readers because of the non-typical romance angle. There’s romance in it, but the series is more about explosions and saving the day. It’s what actually launched me onto the m/m scene as being the quirky writer with books filled with things going boom. I’m like Jamie Hyneman of Mythbusters: Lex want Big Boom.

CashingtheRealityCheckLGThe Checkmate series was also all about the pop culture. You had Rook, the subdued 80s geek, and Garth, the balls to the wall Millennial with his own brand of references. Everything from Back to the Future to Nyan Cat, nothing was sacred. Pawn Takes Rook had over 50 pop culture references, Cashing the Reality Check had over 80, and with Conventional Love I lost count once I hit 100. I never went back and did an official tally but it’s on the list. I even reference Gangnam Style. Because I don’t know this foreign concept of shame.

The series does have its emotional highs and lows (and it has some doozies if I say so.) but if you go in looking for pure angst and eroticism, this is not that series. Rook and Garth’s story is zany, humorous, tugs at the heartstrings, but also intentionally cheesy with terrible character names and alliterative business names. Captain Chivalry? Ted’s TV Tabernacle? My personal favorite character names hands down? Wyld Stallyn and Uniscorn.

It’s like eating Nutella. You know what tastes good with Nutella? More Nutella. In Checkmate, it’s not less is more, more is always more.

ConventionalLoveFSAnd more you shall have! The Checkmate series has been picked up by DSP Publications to be bound into a paperback edition called PTR: Checkmate Ever After. The paperback will not only have a fourth Checkmate novella called Miracle In Axis City, but also bonus content. You can pick it up December 2015!

Can’t wait that long? Pick up the eBooks from Dreamspinner, but if you like the smell of pulverized trees that have died for your amusement, the paperback is for you. Are you not entertained!

So kick back in your Snuggie, get your giant box of Thin Mints, and settle in with an indulgent fluffy series that doesn’t take itself seriously. Really, life is too damned short and too full of shit. Retreat into a world where nothing is impossible and you too can save the world.

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Author Bio:

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” She knew then she wanted to make the world a little more interesting too. Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure and epic love—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. She loves tales of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. She believes if you’re going to going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love. Lex is a pop culture diva and her DVR is constantly backlogged. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind. She is incredibly sentimental, to the point that she gets choked up at holiday commercials. But like the lovers driven to extreme measures to get home for the holidays, Lex believes everyone deserves a happy ending. Lex also has a knack for sarcasm, never takes herself seriously, and has been nicknamed “The Next Alan Moore” by her friends for all the pain and suffering she inflicts on her characters. She is a Damned Yankee hailing from the frozen backwoods of Maine now residing in the burbs of Northwest Florida, where it could be 80F and she’d still be a popsicle. You can find her at:








Blast from the Past: Magic’s Muse by Anne Barwell

MagicsMuse_dspThanks, Kim, for hosting me.


Magic’s Muse is the second book in my Hidden Places series, and was published in 2012. Although the book I’m writing now—One Word—is the third book in this series, it’s a side novel to the first book, Cat’s Quill.


So why choose Magic’s Muse as the blast from the past?


Although Cat’s Quill ties up quite a few loose ends, and may seem on the surface to finish the story, it’s just the beginning of the journey for Cathal, Tomas and their friends. With Cat’s Quill being only from Tomas’s POV, I wasn’t able to explore Cathal’s world in much detail. The readers only ‘saw’ what Tomas did, and his perspective of everything was very much that of an outsider seeing everything briefly for the first time.


Magic’s Muse picks up those threads and runs with it. As well as finding more out about Cathal and his world, and getting to know some of the other characters a bit better, a few more dangling plot threads are introduced in this book as their story is far from over.  In Cat’s Quill, Cathal’s sister, Irene, had warned Tomas that there will be a price to pay for their escape. That time is coming, and sooner than they think.


But in the meantime, in Magic’s Muse, there are more immediate concerns, like how to rid Cathal of the magic that binds him to the tree, and the fact that, in our world, his cousin Christian is still a cat.


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Sequel to Cat’s Quill

Tomas and Cathal have escaped from Naearu, Cathal’s mystical homeworld, but happily ever after is never as straightforward in real life as it is in books. Then again, most people don’t deal with the complication of a lover who’s magically bound to a tree or have an interfering cat for a cousin.

With Naearu’s police force, the Falcons, still after Cathal, he can’t go home. Now that he and Tomas have consummated their relationship, Cathal’s abilities are evolving and changing to the point that Tomas can sense them. And until the oak portal closes, Cathal—and his new life with Tomas—are in limbo as Cathal can’t expect Tomas to stay with someone who can never venture past the property line. Will he and Tomas ever get to follow through on their engagement?


A pitiful meow, although it could be better described as a squeak, filled the air, followed by a frantic scrabbling of claws. Cathal slid further out the window, so that one foot was resting on the roof, and focused on the direction of the noise. Without the window frame obstructing his view, it was easier to look around for the culprit. Further down the roof, on the overhanging part near the drainpipe, sat a tiny gray tabby kitten, growing more distressed by the moment. “I think it’s stuck,” he decided, when the cat’s meows became louder.


“It probably jumped out there when it saw us and then couldn’t figure out how to get back.” Tomas studied the kitten. “We can’t leave it up there. I’ll go find a ladder.”


“A ladder won’t reach that part of the roof.” Cathal squinted, working out the distance between the kitten, where they were, and the ground. He slid his other leg out of the window, finding his balance while he still had his back against the outside of the attic wall.


“Cat?” Tomas tried to grab Cathal’s arm to bring his back inside, but Cathal took another step further out onto the roof, just out of reach. “You can’t go out there. It’s dangerous.”


“I’ll be fine.” Cathal was already working out the quickest way to reach the kitten. At least it wasn’t about to move, but hopefully it wasn’t so scared that it would try and attack him when he got there.


“Let me do it then.”


“So it’s dangerous but you’ll do it?” Cathal snorted at the sensible way in which Tomas had gone from one conclusion to the other. “Your ankle is still tender. It makes more sense for me to.” His voice softened, realizing Tomas was concerned and scared for Cathal’s safety. However, that did not mean he should risk his own in the process. “It’s okay, love. I’ve been on this roof before, and I know the safest way to do this. Why don’t you go find that ladder? We might need it.”


Tomas hesitated. “I could help you here,” he offered.


“There is less chance of scaring the kitten this way.” The kitten meowed again. Cathal didn’t need his ability to know how scared it was. “I’m not leaving it out here, Tomas. Ladder, please. Now.” A ladder would work in that spot. He just had to get the kitten over there. “The drainpipe is closer than the outside stairs, but I don’t know if it’s still in good repair.”


“Drainpipe?” Tomas looked between Cathal and the kitten. He paled. “You are not going down that fucking drainpipe with that kitten. Promise me?” Without waiting for a reply he was gone, calling for Donovan.


“I promise,” Cathal said softly. This looked more dangerous than it was, but Cathal was not about to take any unnecessary risks. He’d done this before, on more than one occasion, the first time just to see if it could be done, much to Christian’s amusement. Alice had ripped verbal shreds off him after she found out, and then Christian too when he’d laughed at her reaction.


There was a light breeze, but nothing that would cause any problems. Cathal stood for a moment, enjoying the freedom of being so exposed to wind and sun with nothing between him and the elements. He’d forgotten how good it felt being up here like this, despite the cold, especially after a decent amount of rain, the air crisp and clean. It always smelled better up higher for some reason, closer to the sky.


The kitten squeaked. It was watching him cautiously. He projected reassurance and comfort, figuring that even if the animal couldn’t feel the emotions at least it would keep himself calm. His brother, Kane, had used the strategy once when rescuing a cat from a tree. It had worked for him, but being able to project his emotions onto others drew on the strengths of his ability rather than Cathal’s.


Cathal edged further out along the roof, choosing his footing carefully. There was more moss on the tiles than there had been the last time he’d done this, and it occurred to him that perhaps the roof might not be in as good repair, being that much older. Still, he’d got this far and wasn’t about to give up yet.


Below him, he heard voices. Tomas would be organizing the ladder. Cathal hoped it wouldn’t be needed, but the idea of having it as an option was beginning to feel very welcome. Six more steps and he’d reach the kitten. Another meow, but this time it was accompanied by a loud purr. “You know you’re going to be rescued, don’t you?”


Up closer, he could see just how tiny it was, barely weaned from his mother at a guess. It must have wandered away from the litter wanting to explore, and got out of its depth very quickly. How had it got up here? Perhaps it had found its way into the inn through an open window and then onto the roof from there. Maybe from the attic, as Tomas had originally suggested?


His foot slipped, the feel of the firm roof beneath him disappearing as he scrambled to find a foothold, barely managing to right himself.


Heidi screamed. Tomas swore loudly, his voice carried by the wind.



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.





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Blast from the Past: Where My Love Lies Dreaming by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

Where My Love Lies Dreaming

By Christopher Hawthorne Moss


wmlld cover

As the famous riverboat Le Beau Soleil lazily steams down the mighty Mississippi into the heart of the South, distractions of every sort attempt to pull agent for the Treasury Johnny Stanley away from his assignment. While liquor and gaming are no great temptations, his fascination with Le Beau Soleil’s owner, the debonair Frankie Deramus, means Johnny’s steadfast denial of his attraction to men is no longer feasible. Johnny fights his lust, but when he must come to Frankie’s aid, he can’t ignore his urges any longer. Their passionate love affair falls apart when Johnny refuses to admit two men can be in love. A bitter confrontation between the lovers at a Mardi Gras masquerade forces Johnny to run north. Frankie tries to follow, but the Southern states secede one by one, making it impossible to track Johnny down. The Civil War pits brother against brother and separates lover from lover. When at last the lovers meet again, it’s on the battlefield….


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Reviewed by Mel Keegan, author and owner of GLBT Bookshelf

How easy it is to forget that bygone eras were snake-pits of risk for GLBT folk (as other parts of our own world still are). Realistic historical gay fiction is compelled to deal with this; thoughtful historical gay fiction may go further and examine the ramifications and consequences of legal systems which intrude into the bedroom.

Where My Love Lies Dreaming by Christopher Hawthorne Moss is a deeply thoughtful and also thought-provoking novel addressing several questions, of which `How was it to be gay in Civil War era America?’ is but one. The author tackles others, some of them already well explored — such as the issue of slavery — and others touched on more rarely: `What does it actually mean to be American?’ and even, `Are licentiousness and outrageousness necessarily a part of being gay and out?’

One of the most fascinating aspects of the novel, for me, is that while the protagonists are American by birth, culturally they are European. Francois Deramus is Creole, with French roots as deep as any Quebecois; bilingual, with the gentility and sophistication of the French aristocrat as well as a sometimes rashly flamboyant personality. This proves irresistible to the repressed, naïve young man calling himself Johnny Stanley to avoid the prejudice toward immigrants which, in this era, would surely trap him in the ghetto. John Stanley is in fact Johann Steinfeld — Hansi for short: born in Chicago of German parents and as bilingual as Deramus. But unlike `Frankie’ Deramus, who delights in his heritage and his very Frenchness (Creoleness, to be accurate, though to readers beyond American shores `Creole’ is an exotic, evocative word rather than a familiar culture), Stanley is, of economic necessity, a fugitive from his own heritage.

America and Australia have several characteristics in common — forgive me if I speak here from the perspective of the antipodes. Both are nations of immigrants, settled originally and extensively from Europe; both remain young nations by comparison with the countries from which our ancestors arrived only in the last two or three centuries. (And of course immigration continues, often problematically, involving asylum seekers in overwhelming numbers). The wider canvas of American history shows a nation grown from European rootstock, an evolving society at once rich, varied and all the more robust because of its cultural multiplicity. However, what is healthy for a nation can be destructive to an individual. To escape the destiny of an immigrant laborer `Hansi Steinfeld’ will deny his heritage, though it alienates his family. Not only has he changed his name, he has schooled himself to lose the accent, mannerisms and manner of dress that identify him as an immigrant and would imprison him in Germantown. And he is up against tougher obstacles: born gay in an era when homosexuality was worth a life sentence; born Catholic in a time when Catholicism was widely scorned as a kind of religious deviance almost on a par with the aforementioned sexual `deviance.’

The author does not tackle the question of how young Stanley overcame his Catholic upbringing, but he clearly has; the undesired attentions of a priest, in his youth, would have helped. He displays none of the telltale quirks of the Catholic as he leaves home to undertake a fact-finding job for the government — he can pass in a crowd as the heterosexual, homogeneous American Protestant. Only Johnny knows the price he pays for this ability to move unnoticed among the common human herd, and the mask lasts only long enough for him to board a riverboat and blunder into another world … a liberal microcosm revolving around the vessel’s owner, where prejudice is held at bay by one man’s determination not merely to be different, but to make his `one small corner’ different.

Riverboat owner and professional gambler Francois Deramus is as close to `out’ as one could be in 1859. He has an ingenious barometer for gauging the sexual preference of passengers, and dalliance is his delight. Moreover, he is an abolitionist to the limits permissible in his time and place: he makes it difficult for his boat to be used to carry slaves, and though he actually owns his manservant, Albright, and Albright’s wife, he sublimates the relationship into one of an interracial Wooster and Jeeves. Albright is a `gentleman’s gentleman,’ with pride and dignity in himself and his work.

Stepping into Deramus’s utopian milieu aboard Le Beau Soleil — opulent, splendid, sensual — the erstwhile Hansi Steinfeld is doomed. He wages a game fight but seduction is a matter of course as surely as is his flight from the scene, and from the source of his dilemma — because for Stanley, seduction is not liberation, but a descent into shame. Such is his Catholic conditioning that later, meeting Deramus by chance he wonders, albeit fleetingly, if he might reform a man who is joyful in both his sexual freedom and the tiny bubble of liberty he has labored to create in a world filled with the very oppression that continues to make Stanley himself profoundly miserable. The painfully naïve Johnny actually wonders if he can `wean’ Deramus away from the sin of homosexuality — away, and into what? Into Stanley’s own private hell? Fortunately, Deramus is too self-assured, confident in himself and in the microcosm he has built, to be influenced by socio-religious tyranny. Stanley is seduced again before he knows it — also `on the cards’ for a healthy male who has denied his own sensuality until, in fact, sex seems to be on his mind most of the time. The gulf of difference yawning between Deramus, who rejoices in his sensuality, and Stanley, who bears his as a burden, is measured by the unmitigated disaster of Johnny’s exposure to the ebullient, outrageous face of gay identity. Deramus appears to possess no inkling of the intense religious conditioning Stanley wears like armor, and too late discovers his mistake.

The stage is set for the lives of these men to be blown apart by the Civil War. In a world gone completely mad, Deramus will pay handsomely for former liberties taken and enjoyed, and Stanley will discover himself through the bloody rituals of war. To me, this is a fascinating period about which I wish I knew more. I appreciated the way the author unfolds the early days of the conflict through the medium of rumor mill, returning eyewitness, political rhetoric … the newspaper.

For the most part, Where My Love Lies Dreaming is an adroit character play. Events and backdrops weave around the characters rather than the protagonists being driven by events to key locations — until the mid-section of the book, where the plot sparks to life for readers looking for more than romance. Some of the pivotal events of the war are seen through the eyes of Deramus, in particular, and also Stanley. Suffice to say, their lives will never be the same; and you don’t want spoilers here.

The novel is at its most commanding in its historical accuracy, the impressive depth of the research and the very concept of the story driving it. The reader is gifted with a genuine sense of time and place. Most of the Civil War tale is synopsized, told in outline form, which saddened me somewhat because this was the very part of the book that spoke to me, personally — action, conflict, intrigue, danger — rather than the romance, which is extensively developed. However, I realize that in romantic fiction, and perhaps especially in m/m works, there will always be dichotomy: readers who flip past sex to get to plot while others skim plot to find sex. In a novel extending beyond erotica, the author must, per force, try to cater to both camps — also, if those tracts of Civil War synopsis were properly developed, this book would be the size of The Feast of All Saints or Captains and the Kings. (Not that one objects to an epic!) To my mind, it seems one or two important points that should have been developed rather than synopsized were skipped over, but I can’t say more without spoilers; the reader must decide for him- or herself.

On a purely personal note, I was fascinated by New Orleans, about which I know spectacularly little. (One of America’s gay Meccas, razed by a `perfect storm,’ famous for its jazz and sizzling food … all else remains deliciously mysterious.)

The book is beautifully prepared, with the meticulous proofreading one has come to expect from Dreamspinner Press, which is extremely welcome. The writing style is clear, lucid, vivid, only occasionally jarring with a little redundancy and the overuse of names, where a reader yearns for the simple pronoun. Any shortcomings of style blur away into the greater tapestry of the work and are soon forgotten.

I enjoyed this novel a great deal — high praise, since m/m and romance are not my usual reading. Where My Love Lies Dreaming offers much more than what I term `pure romance,’ though a generous part of the book is, admittedly, devoted to particularly explicit erotica. Occasionally, romantic fiction crosses a certain line and succeeds on other levels: this book is a compelling historical too. Highly recommended for readers interested in American history and at the same time hunting for the panoramic story in which gay sex is one of the principle driving forces — where one can choose between the erotic adventures, or the grit and courage of sometimes harrowing human endeavor … and by all means choose both, if you will!


large kitAbout the author


Christopher Hawthorne Moss wrote his first short story when he was seven and has spent some of the happiest hours of his life fully involved with his colorful, passionate, and often humorous, characters. Moss spent some time away from fiction, writing content for websites before his first book came out under the name Nan Hawthorne in 1991. He has since become a novelist and is a prolific and popular blogger; he is the historical fiction editor for the GLBT Bookshelf, where you can find his short stories and thoughtful and expert book reviews. Moss is transgender, having been born with a female body but a male heart and mind. He lives full time as a gay man in the Pacific Northwest with his partner of over thirty years and their doted upon cats. He owns Shield-wall Productions at He welcomes comment from readers sent to




Riverboat Le Beau Soleil, November 1860


“You know, it is almost Noël. Will you want to spend that time in Chicago with your father?” Frankie sat on the divan in his sitting room with one arm around Johnny’s shoulders while the latter examined reports.


“No!” Johnny shuddered. He kept reading. Less vehemently he repeated, “No, I don’t think so.”


Frankie frowned at him. “Won’t your father want his son with him for Noël?”


Johnny wriggled uncomfortably. “I suppose. But I would rather spend it with you.”


“I could come with you to Chicago!”


The change in Johnny’s demeanor was marked. “No! Absolutely not!” Shuffling his papers, he made a show of attention to his work and ignored Frankie’s dismayed look.


Frankie abruptly stood and began to pace in the small space. He finally turned and asked, “Are you ashamed of me, Johnny?”


Johnny looked up at him, his eyebrows knitted. He shook his head.


“No, of course not,” Johnny said. “I… I… just don’t want to spend… Christmas where it is freezing and windy.” He realized he had almost said, “Weihnachten.”


Frankie glared at him. “It’s true, isn’t it? You are afraid to be seen with me. I am only un bouffon, un paon to you. In New Orleans you can barely stand to be seen with me. But let your father or friends see me? Mais non. Ça, ce serait de trop!”


Johnny got to his feet and went to him, but Frankie shook him off. “You constantly chide me for being too reckless. Has it ever occurred to you how I feel when you try to stifle me? I go my whole life being exactly who I am. People like me this way. More important, I like me this way. Then suddenly when I find someone I want to be with more than any other person in the world, I have to hide myself.”


Johnny watched him as he began to pace again, gesticulating flamboyantly. “Frankie…,” he began.


“I see, you want me to be your fancy man, but you don’t want anyone else to know it.”


Johnny frowned. Sternly, he essayed, “Frankie, please don’t talk like that.”


Frankie spun on him. “Don’t talk like what? Like someone who cares about you, who wants you, or like some sort of… chichi man?”




Frankie leveled an icy glare on him. “You know what I mean.” He mimicked his own florid gestures in an exaggerated way. He glared into Johnny’s nonplussed face, turned and stalked into his bedchamber, loudly slamming and locking the door behind him.


Johnny stood stunned. He went to the door and shouted through it, “Hey, wait a minute. That’s the only way I can get to my stateroom.”


He heard a snort of derision followed by rapid angry French. Frankie called in English, “Then I suppose you will have to let everyone see you sneaking out of the chichi man’s bedroom.” Johnny heard him open the adjoining door and slam it.


He stood, unsure what to do. He turned back and sat again on the divan. Why didn’t Frankie understand? Exposure was dangerous. He may have managed to steam under the bridge until now, but discovery was only a matter of time. If they went to Chicago together, it wouldn’t take a particularly perceptive person to see at once what Frankie was. It would be all over the place in no time. So much for Johnny’s position, his reputation.


A tap sounded on the door that led to the promenade. Johnny leaped to his feet with “And another thing…” on his lips, expecting Frankie, but he opened the door to Charles William. “Oh, it’s you. I suppose he sent you to give me a good talking to.” Johnny turned and went back to the divan and threw himself down on it.


The manservant quietly shut the door behind him. He turned to regard Johnny, his posture his usual elegantly attentive demeanor. “Is there anything I can get for you, Mr. Stanley?”


Johnny shook his head. “I am quite all right the way I am.”


Charles William hesitated, then asked, “Mr. Deramus is clearly angry about something, if I may say so.”


Johnny shot him a look. “That is hardly any of your business, is it?” he stated imperiously.


The manservant nodded. “Yes, you are right, sir. It is not. I beg your pardon.” He reached back to open the door to leave.


“No, stop. That was unfair of me. You’ve known Frankie all his life. Why does he act… that way? Why does he have to be such a… nancy?”


To his surprise, he heard a rumble start from Charles William’s throat that slowly grew into a deep booming laugh. He turned a rueful eye on him.


“You think Mr. Deramus acts like a… nancy?” The rumble continued. “I take it you have never met any nancy boys.”


Johnny glared. “Well, no. I haven’t. I don’t go into that part of town. I have no reason to.”


Charles William cast an indulgent smile on him. “Mr. Deramus does not act like a nancy. He acts like a Creole. They would never admit it in a hundred years, but Creole people have picked up African mannerisms over the time of our close association.”


“But you don’t act like that.”


“You haven’t seen me at Mardi Gras. Most of the time I have to be very solemn and quiet. That’s part of how I survive. But François doesn’t have to hide to survive,” he said, reverting to his master’s familiar name. “He’s free. And that is one thing I admire about him. I thought you did too at first.”

Blast from the Past: Haunted by Brynn Stein

Hi Kim,

Thanks so much for having me on your blog today. It’s always fun to talk about my older books. Of course my older books aren’t really that old since I’m still relatively new to being a published author.

Haunted was my first published work, so it will always have a special place in my heart. It came out in July of 2013 and is available only in eBook format.

Oddly enough, it started out life as fanfiction.

I had been writing fanfiction and posting online for a long time, mostly writing AUs (Alternate Universes), basically original fiction with just a few identifying characteristics of the main characters here and there. I wrote Haunted and a friend of mine convinced me to strip it of the very few references to fandom, fleshing it out a little, and submitting it. I enjoy writing, so didn’t mind rewriting it. I was really surprised when it was accepted. I had my first contract!

Editing was a unique experience. But even that was enjoyable in its own way because hey…the book was going to be published! And the artwork, wow. Paul Richmond is amazing. I gave him a roughly sketched idea of how I’d like it to look and he created a gorgeous cover.

I got really good reviews on it. Lots of people liked the unique twist on the ghost story. Jason is a lovable ghost. One reviewer likened the story more to “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” than a scary ghost story. The love is improbable because it’s between a ghost and human. But I saw it more as a fun story than anything that was supposed to be realistic.

I learned a lot from the whole process of writing and getting this book published and now have published two more (Living Again, and Through the Years) and have a new book coming out in March called Ray of Sunlight.

And it all began with Haunted.



When Lenard Blake is forced to leave his wife, he divorces not just her but her influential family, who makes it impossible for him to keep his job as a Denver police officer, never mind to find another one anywhere in Colorado. But a rural police force in Virginia has an opening, and the move could be just the change he needs, so Lenard buys a house based on an Internet ad. But when he arrives, he finds that the house looks nothing like the ad… and it’s haunted as well. Lenard doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but he decides to research his supposed ghost anyway. Soon he learns that fifteen years ago, Jason Miller was murdered in the house, and his entire family died under suspicious circumstances. As he makes friends with his ghostly companion, they join forces to try to solve the old murders. Along the way, they find there are some things that conquer even death.

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logoI live in Virginia. My two grown daughters support my writing and sometimes act as proof readers. My eldest daughter writes fan fiction and my youngest dabbles. They’re both on their own now, but they’re still close and still encourage me in my writing as much as they do in other aspects of my life. I’m a teacher by profession, because writing doesn’t quite pay the bills. I work in special education with children with emotional disabilities. It’s challenging but rewarding work and sometimes I think I learn as much from them as they do from me. When I’m not working or writing, though I must admit there isn’t much time that doesn’t fall into those two categories, I draw and paint. I also get outside as often as I can, and pretty much read anything that stands still long enough.


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Blast from the Past: Bound by Guilt by Sandra Bard

BoundByGuilt_postcard_front_DSPHi Kim, Thank you so much for arranging a day for me so I can ‘talk’ about something from my past.

It really is hard to believe Bound by Guilt came out so long ago—it was my first published novel in any genre.  I am extremely grateful to Dreamspinner for accepting my work and for giving me the best editors/ artists to work with; my first publishing experience was very, very, positive.

I have changed since I wrote this book, a lot has happened to me and altered my perception of the world. I changed jobs, found new friends, got a new piercing and a tattoo, travelled to several countries and wrote several other books in the meantime. And looking back on Bound by Guilt, I sometimes wish I could change something, tweak it here a little or perhaps wish I hadn’t written that sentence. But realistically, I regret nothing. I enjoyed writing that book and I like the way it turned out.

My main characters were both problematic and hard to like in the beginning though hopefully by the end they were likeable. Bound by Guilt was from the beginning to the end, Kit’s point of view and Kit was a troubled guy with a troubled past. Sasha on the other hand looked liked he had it all but of course, what’s a story without complications. Without giving too much of the plot away, I can safely say, Sasha was in fact more troubled than Kit. In the end, they needed each other  and I love it when my characters come across problems and overcome them by themselves—emerging better people than they were before.  But one thing I never do is give a final line to my story like, “They lived happily together for ever and ever” because that’s not what happens in real life.

There are pit falls and problems and I know where I left off implied more rough times for the pair before they can smooth out all the ‘kinks’ of their relationship. When I wrote Bound by Guilt I was sure I was going to write a follow up novel but by the time I got around to it, it seemed a little too late. But I am finally going to see to the end of that, hopefully there’ll still be readers who are interested in seeing what happened to Sasha and Kit after the end of the last book.

In conclusion, I would like the thank everyone who gave me a chance. It was my first book and since I know how reluctant I am to try out a new author at times, I am grateful to everyone who read my book. I hope, in the future, there’ll be people who will read another book of mine and go, ‘you know what, I’ve read her first book.’

BoundByGuilt_postcard_back_DSPSummary: Kit Mason works at Eddy’s, a boutique where the clothes are chic, the paycheck’s weak, and Kit has no qualms about snagging rich older men looking to pay for play. When Cory St. James walks in, he checks all Kit’s boxes: he’s middle-aged, the entrepreneur of a pharmaceutical company, and already has a kept boy at home—what’s one more? Kit sets out to seduce Cory and bulldozes through his denials, but when Cory finally gives in, his lover, Sasha, catches them with their pants down. Sasha isn’t the pampered toy Kit expected. In fact, Kit may have misjudged him. And the consequences that ensue when Sasha catches Kit and Cory together leave him alone. Unwilling to be weighed down by guilt, Kit decides to look after Sasha himself, even if Sasha can’t stand the sight of him and there are a few things about Kit’s past he doesn’t want Sasha to know. But Kit isn’t willing to do all the work when it comes to forcing Sasha to rebuild his life. It’s a slow process of growing trust and learning to stand on their own—and together.

About the author: Sandra Bard

Sandra Bard has been writing stories ever since she was a small girl but she’s only recently started to publish. She loves to make up stories in her head, read books, watch anime (mecha, yaoi), and occasionally visits a fan-fiction site. She lives with her pets (fish, cats and dogs), and has been a volunteer for an organization that takes care of stray dogs (there are many, where she lives), for over ten years. When she has some free time she dabbles in Wushu, Tai Chi, and Yoga to keep herself flexible (she hopes). Her real life jobs involve lecturing at the university and freelancing as a maths tutor. Though she writes romance stories, she still hasn’t met Mr. Right and hopes one day that she’ll be able to rescue him (whoever he may be) from a fire breathing dragon (or something equally daring). She would love to hear from her readers and can be found at her tumblr ( or emailed at


Buy links



All romance ebooks: (with excerpt)





Blast from the Past: Royal Navy series by Lee Rowan

ransom home winds

The Royal Navy Series follows the relationship of William Marshall and David Archer from their first meeting as midshipmen in the late 1790’s through the Napoleonic War.  First published by Linden Bay Romance in 2006, the series is now being re-issued by Dreamspinner. The next book, Sail Away, is a collection of 4 novellas (one a debut) and a number of short ‘missing scenes’ and holiday pieces.




An officer, a gentleman… and a sodomite.  The first two earn honor and respect. The third, death.  Even as he finds himself falling in love with his shipmate, David Archer realizes that it’s a hopeless passion. Will Marshall’s first act aboard ship was to take pistol in hand and dispatch an older midshipman who made offensive advances. Will might not shoot David if he expressed his feelings, but friendship would surely turn to revulsion.


Will Marshall has never given much thought to feelings beyond duty, loyalty, and honor.  The Navy is a way to move beyond his humble origins, a chance at greatness. While others spend shore leave carousing, Marshall is more likely to be curled up with a navigation text.


Captured by accident when their captain is abducted, they become pawns in a renegade’s sadistic game.  To protect the man he loves, David Archer must compromise himself–trade his honor and his body for Will’s safety.  When Marshall learns of his friend’s sacrifice, he also discovers that what he feels for Davy is stronger and deeper than friendship.


The first challenge:  escape their prison.  The second: find a way to preserve their love without losing their lives.

Winds of Change Lieutenants William Marshall and David Archer, of His Majesty’s frigate Calypso, have been lovers for more than a year. Because the penalty for discovery is the hangman’s noose, they limit themselves to the occasional night of passion ashore.   But in the Navy, nothing lasts forever. A transfer to a new ship brings with it a bizarre turn of events: their captain orders them to behave as though they are involved in an illicit relationship in order to smoke out a suspected traitor. When their masquerade proves dangerously effective, it threatens to cost Davy his life.

Eye of the Storm The long war between England and France enters a fragile and temporary truce in the winter of 1802, but the lives of Commander William Marshall and Lieutenant David Archer are more complicated than ever. After almost losing Davy in battle, Will faces the responsibility of command and questions whether he can give orders that will put his love in harm’s way once more.   Doubts torment David Archer. Will walked away once, trying to end their relationship for Davy’s own safety. His physical wounds have healed, but the loss of trust remains. Now, his biggest challenge is persuading Will their love is worth the risk of loss.

Home is the Sailor

The Royal Navy meets the Stately English Manor Murder Mystery, and if it were only a matter of Colonel Mustard in the library, things would be so much easier. After an ambush by the French while on a routine surveillance mission, Will and David are advised to retreat to the English countryside to avoid Bonaparte’s animosity for a time. Upon their arrival at the Archer family seat, they discover that David’s eldest brother has died after a mysterious accident and this puts his other, very unsuitable brother in line for the title. David’s suspicions—that the new heir had a hand in his brother’s death—seem so unreasonable that even Will finds it difficult to believe his fears are valid. If Davy thought his lover was hard to convince, his autocratic father, who still sees him as the inept youngest son, won’t even listen to him. Davy and Will are thrust into the role of sleuths, trying to determine the truth behind the mystery. All the while Will has concerns of his own: his fear of losing Davy is still stronger than his desire to keep Davy beside him on the quarterdeck… but he knows no other life than the Navy.



An excerpt from Winds of Change:

All was in readiness.

The old tin box of mathematics texts had been down in the hold for months to get it out from underfoot.  The Purser had given his permission to keep it here in the locked store-room with other valuables, and it was not unreasonable for Lieutenants Marshall and Archer to be searching here, since they’d volunteered to coach one of their shipmates on His Majesty’s Frigate Calypso.   Midshipman Wilcoxon, a likeable young officer, needed to polish his skills if he hoped to pass the examination and qualify as a candidate for Lieutenant, and they wanted to help him succeed.

A candle-lantern lay on the floor, its flame snuffed from its apparently accidental fall.   If anyone were to walk in, they would have a means of explaining their presence here, and even an excuse for slight disorderliness.

As long as they were not taken completely unaware.   As long as they had time to pull their clothes together, to hide their true purpose.

William Marshall tensed as footsteps approached the door. He relaxed at the light scratching on the worn boards, their prearranged signal.

He pulled the door open only enough for his lover to dart through, then closed it and set a barrel where it would block its opening, a precaution to provide the moment they might need.  He rested his rump on the barrel and pulled Davy down upon him, and in the dark there was only the whisper of frantic clutching, urgent kisses, loosening trouser buttons with one hand to reach in and find that hot, smooth cock that leapt at his touch.  A minute of quiet, intense activity, then Davy was shivering against him, a muted whimper the only sound besides their breathing.

They were silent for a long moment after, listening for footsteps, for any sound of movement in the companionway.   But they were safe, so far, hearing nothing but the ever-present murmur of the sea.

He could hear Davy fumble with clothing, composing himself, caught a kiss in passing as his lover knelt at Will’s feet.  Then those clever fingers were moving on his body, unbuttoning, seeking.  The unbearable sweetness of lips and tongue were nearly enough to break the control that kept him silent, but he bit back the cry of pleasure as weeks of yearning were brought to a blinding surge of fulfillment.

He sat panting, unable to move, stroking the golden head resting in his lap.  But only for a moment.   His lover slid up to share a kiss; then, still without a word, they retrieved the lantern, struck a light, and located the volume which should help to unfold the arcane secrets of navigational geometry.   There was time enough for a final embrace and a quick inspection to assure themselves that there was no visible evidence of their illicit encounter.

Davy paused a moment in the empty companionway.  “Will—the Captain just passed word.  The pleasure of our company is requested at the change of watch.   All lieutenants and warrant officers.  Looks as though the rumors are true.”

“At least we’ll know, then.”  There was no way, there were no words, to express the fear in both their hearts.  Change was in the wind; the rumors had been circulating  since before Calypso arrived in Portsmouth.  If Captain Smith were to be transferred, as the rumors suggested, their lives were about to change drastically.

“If it’s true…” David Archer bit his lip, “and if the Admiralty are in a hurry…you and I may be sailing off in different ships by this time tomorrow.”

Will could not bring himself to admit it, but he knew that the past year they’d had together was more than they could have hoped for.   He’d only agreed to this hurried tryst because he also knew that it might be their very last time together as shipmates and lovers.   If they were to be given different assignments at the change of watch, they might never in this life see one another again.

But he could not bear to say that aloud, so he tried on a brave smile instead.   “We must trust to our luck, Davy.”

David’s handsome features were somber.   “Will, don’t forget there are two kinds of luck.  Dame Fortune’s not always kind.  She can be a cannibal bitch who eats her own young.”




A Few Reviews:


Author bio: Lee Rowan has been writing since childhood, but professionally only since spring of 2006, with the publication of her Eppie-winning novel, Ransom. She is a lady of a certain age, old enough to know better but still young enough to do it anyway. A confirmed bookaholic with a wife of  many years, she is kept in line by a cadre of cats and two dogs who get her away from the computer and out of the house at least once a day.

Blast from the Past: Hot Cargo by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

Blast From the Past – Hot Cargo by Nicki Bennett and Ariel Tachna

HotCargoFSTake two writers, a mutual friend’s birthday, her well-known fascination with science fiction, stir and what do you get? Hot Cargo, of course.

Eight or so years ago, Nicki and I wanted to give a friend a present for her birthday, so we wrote a little something, a one-shot sexy scene with a sci-fi setting, and posted it on a writer forum we were all three a part of. She loved it.

Three months later, she came down with pneumonia, so we wanted to write something to cheer her up. She loved the first one, she still loved science fiction, so we wrote her a second one.

Then another friend, who had loved both parts, had a birthday, so we wrote a third one.

Then the first friend’s birthday came around again….

You get the idea. Suddenly we had 20,000 words of loosely connected sex scenes, two characters people seemed to adore, and absolutely no idea how to turn them into a book. We threw ourselves on Lynn’s mercy and tried to come up with an actual science fiction plot to hold the book together. (We really just wanted another excuse to write hot, kinky sex, but you know, we needed some semblance of a plot.) After a long weekend of brainstorming, we had a plan, and off Nicki and I went to start writing.HealinginHisWingsFS

That went great, right up until Peter needed somewhere to run. Oops. Except that I’d written a sci-fi novella with a main character whose best friend from childhood was named Peter. Hmm….

Hot Cargo became a series, with that link to Healing in His Wings.

Several years later, Lynn and Elizabeth made a list of things they couldn’t ever see Dreamspinner publishing. One of those things was tentacle sex. Nicki and I burst out laughing because Blaise’s best friend Harry had tentacles, and wouldn’t it be a feat of writing if we could make him the romantic lead in a story of his own? Lynn looked at us skeptically and agreed that if we wrote it convincingly, she’d read it and see. Something About Harry wraps up the Hot Cargo series pairing Peter’s former first mate with Blaise’s best friend. Sasha finds Harry far too fascinating to even care about the tentacles. After all, when the one touching you is the one you love, it’s all good, right?

You can read all three books at Dreamspinner Press!



Captured and accused of piracy, privateer Blaise Risner, captain of the Golden Stallion, finds himself in a clinch – literally – with Confederation Admiral Peter Keller, who promises to see justice done by way of hard labor. But when the chemistry between them rivals the heat of the twin Talixin suns, the dominant admiral decides he wants to handle the rehabilitation of the provocative pirate himself. After their first close encounter, Blaise figures that serving Keller in such a personal capacity won’t be such a terrible sentence.

Keller dispenses his own forms of painful justice and sensual discipline, which usually involve a not-so-resistant Blaise on his knees bound and determined to give as good as he gets. The privateer can’t deny that suffering the handsome admiral’s punishments makes him burn like the fires of the Horsehead Nebula. Serving in the roles of prisoner and captor defines their ‘relationship’, but no power can stop a shooting star … the star of startling passion that flares every time they touch.

Just when Blaise thinks he can navigate the treacherous asteroid field of emotion to find common ground with Keller, an interstellar war tears them apart. Through it all, Blaise’s desire for his captor stands as tall and strong as the monoliths of Maraven, and he’ll go to the very edge of the galaxy and back if that’s what it takes to crack the ice around the admiral’s heart




“Report to the zero-g chamber in ninety minutes,” Peter ordered, walking away without a backward glance. He knew Blaise wouldn’t dare disobey him. The ex-smuggler might push his limits every chance he got, but the Admiral knew they both enjoyed the consequences of those actions. In the meantime, he’d ensure he learned everything Petrov had to disclose about the most recent attack.


“Yes, sir,” Blaise replied to Keller’s retreating back. He finished changing out the last light bulb quickly and returned his cart of supplies to the maintenance closet. Deciding he had enough time for a shower, Blaise returned to his quarters and turned the ’fresher on high, letting the hot water wash away the grease and grime of the day. Relaxed afterward, body humming in anticipation, he grabbed a quick bite to eat before reporting as ordered to the zero-g training room, figuring he might not be free again for quite some time.


It hadn’t taken Peter as long as he’d thought to grill Petrov. Unfortunately, the Pleides’s captain didn’t have as much information as he’d hoped, the attackers once again leaving frustratingly little evidence in the wake of their destruction. He’d pumped Arkady for everything he could remember, but other than the now-familiar energy signature, there’d been nothing but smoking ruins left behind. Peter had cursed as he looked over the vid-scans after Petrov left. The small mining facility hadn’t had much of value to attract pirates, and it didn’t appear the attackers had made any attempt to claim any of the ore from the storage silos before blasting them – and the planetoid’s dozen miners – into ions. Scowling at the images of senseless devastation, he keyed off the display and stalked toward the zero-g chamber, determined to work off some of his aggression.


He was finishing up his preparations when the door swished open and Blaise entered, his attitude as unconsciously arrogant as ever. The Admiral was sure that Blaise’s rebellious attitude was one reason he had yet to tire of the younger man as he had all his earlier subs – that, and the fact that the smuggler made him hotter than the surface of a supernova. As soon as the door closed behind Blaise’s tight ass, Keller tapped the controls to lock the door and kill the chamber’s gravity. “Show me how well you can maneuver in freefall,” Peter ordered. “Strip.”


Blaise was no rank beginner. He had worked more ships than probably most of the sailors under the Admiral’s command, and many of them had been little more than junkyard scrap. He’d had plenty of experience with freefall, mostly when the gravity generators failed. With confident ease, he moved slowly to keep himself from spinning out of control, unbuttoning the fastenings on his ship suit and sliding it off his shoulders and down over his hips.


Peter watched the smuggler appreciatively as Blaise gracefully wriggled his way out of his work uniform, revealing his bare skin and the fact that his cock didn’t require gravity to get hard. “Very good,” he acknowledged, completely comfortable after decades of zero-g experience. “But in your former line of work, you were alone on your ship most of the time. What would you do if you had a shipmate who needed your … assistance?”


“Do you need my assistance, Admiral?” Blaise asked teasingly, though he was also following protocol. He would never approach a shipmate in zero-g conditions without alerting the other person to his intentions.


“One of these days, Blaise, that mouth of yours is going to get you into real trouble,” Peter warned. “Let’s see if you can make it over here without knocking me into orbit, for a start.”


Blaise pushed off gently, floating smoothly across the room, aiming for a spot a little to Keller’s left. “Would you have preferred I come sailing over here with no warning whatsoever?” he countered as he caught himself smoothly on the railing next to the Admiral’s elbow. “I would have thought that against shipboard procedure. It certainly was against mine.”


“You had shipboard procedures?” Peter scoffed in disbelief. “Hard to believe, since you’re so obviously ignorant of proper discipline.” Using just enough motion to slam into Blaise forcefully, he spun the younger man around and pressed his chest firmly against the chamber wall. “You know what kind of assistance I’m looking for, Blaise,” he hissed, holding the pirate’s hip with one hand and rubbing the evidence of his arousal against the taut cheeks. His other hand caught Blaise’s thick hair, pulling the younger man’s head back into his kiss.


Blaise returned the kiss eagerly, far beyond caring that the Admiral knew of his willingness and desire. They had finished with those games for the most part after his birthday, the effects of the wine having broken down barriers they’d chosen not to restore. Instead, he reached behind him and used his grip on the commander’s hips to give him enough leverage to push back into the cock that pressed against him so invitingly. “I’m always happy to serve, Admiral,” he replied when his lips were released.


“You seemed eager enough to serve Petrov earlier, too, so that’s not saying much,” Peter retorted. He slid his lips down the strong curve of Blaise’s neck, biting down hard when he reached the junction of his shoulder, marking the skin with his teeth. The bruise wouldn’t show beneath Blaise’s work suit, but it would remind him of who he belonged to, for a day or so at least.


“A change is as good as a rest,” Blaise quipped, though he would never have submitted to the captain the way he submitted to the Admiral. Only Keller could elicit this response from him. The older man didn’t need to know that, though. Blaise knew the Admiral enjoyed his rebellion as much as the smuggler enjoyed the consequences.


At Blaise’s flippant answer, the Admiral felt a surge of jealousy that surprised him with its intensity. Wrenching the grinning smuggler around by his hair, he towed him across the room to the opposite wall, where he’d secured a pair of leather straps. Removing one, he ran it over his palm, nodding to the other. “Grab that and hold on,” he ordered the pirate. “And don’t let go. If I have to restrain you, it will only make things worse for you.”


Blaise obeyed the Admiral’s orders immediately. His innate sense of self-preservation told him he’d pushed the commander as far as he safely could. Now, it was just a matter of holding on for the ride. A thrill shot through him as he imagined all the possibilities presented by their current situation.


Peter hooked a foot under the rail that circled the training room walls, knowing he’d need some way to brace himself. Otherwise, the first time he brought the strap down against Blaise’s ass – like that! – would send him spinning across the room in reaction.


Even in zero-g, the strap moved with enough force to smart when it hit Blaise’s skin. His hips jerked forward, a motion that would have sent him spinning helplessly through the room if not for his grip on the leather cuffs. As it was, his body twisted around, leaving his vulnerable belly facing the Admiral.


Reaching out to the younger man, Peter spun Blaise back around to face the wall again. He wanted to teach his brash lover a lesson, not leave him incapacitated. Holding Blaise’s shoulder secure with his free hand, Peter brought the strap down a second time, raising a bright red welt on the honeyed skin.


“Ah, shit!” The second blow was enough to pull the muttered curse from Blaise’s lips. Rarely did their games cross over the line to true pain. The energy whip the first night he’d been on board was just about it. His usual punishments involved being denied release. While relatively minor compared to what he’d endured while aboard the Gavenelian ships, it was still enough to leave him tense against the next blow, and none to happy about the situation either.


Peter hardened himself against Blaise’s exclamation of pain. Six blows in all, he told himself. That should be enough to get the cocky bastard’s attention. “Maybe you won’t be quite so eager for a change after this,” he growled, laying a series of quick blows across the spacer’s backside.


Blaise bit his lip to stifle his cries as four more blows fell. He was panting by the time it was done, his body tense and braced for more. His relief when the Admiral released the strap and let it float away was palpable. Still trembling, he tried to steady his breathing, using meditation techniques he had perfected during his imprisonment to push aside the adrenaline coursing through him.


Peter dropped the strap and positioned himself behind his shaking partner. He ground his cloth-covered erection against Blaise’s reddened ass, letting the younger man feel his unabated arousal. “Now, I believe you were going to show me how eager you were to serve me,” he husked against the pirate’s ear. Letting go of Blaise’s hips, he pushed off gently, letting himself float freely.


Blaise took a deep breath and started to release the strap he held when he remembered the earlier order. “I can’t do much if you’re over there and I’m over here,” he said softly. He’d had his fill of punishment for the day.


Impressed that Blaise had remembered his order not to let go of the strap, Peter grinned. “Very good,” he acknowledged. “But I think you’re going to need both hands now. Get over here and take care of what you started.”


Blaise released the leather he was holding and pushed himself in Keller’s direction, letting their bodies bump and the momentum push them toward the far wall. Catching the railing with one hand, he used the other to keep the Admiral from crashing into the wall. As quickly as he dared in the zero-g conditions, he undid the uniform and bared the commander’s body to his gaze. Nudging the Admiral upward, he steadied them both when the thick arousal was at the height of his mouth. Lowering his head, he inhaled the swollen shaft, swallowing around the mushroomed head.


Peter didn’t bother to hold back his moan of pleasure as Blaise’s talented mouth closed around his cock. Holding the dark head in place with one hand, he pried Blaise’s hand away from the railing with the other, letting their bodies drift weightlessly.


Unattached now as they were to anything grounded, Blaise had no choice but to use his grip on the Admiral to provide the leverage he needed to bob his head up and down over the hard cock. One thing, though, didn’t require gravity to be effective. Grinning as best he could around his mouthful, he hummed in his throat, letting the vibrations tease Keller’s erection.


Blaise’s oral prowess never failed to arouse Peter’s admiration – among other things – and at first the Admiral simply enjoyed the delicious suction on his rigid shaft. He watched as a string of saliva escaped the privateer’s lips, breaking into tiny glittering globules that floated past Peter’s face. As he felt his control beginning to slip, he grasped Blaise’s bicep around the stylized horse tattoo, flipping gracefully end-over-end until he faced the younger man’s well-striped ass. Unable to lay hands on the mysterious attackers, he’d taken out his anger and frustration on his smuggler. He owed him something in recompense.


Blaise had let Keller’s cock slip from his mouth in surprise at the maneuver, and the Admiral grasped the spacer’s lean hips and twisted him around, thrusting the neglected organ back in his face. “Didn’t tell you to stop,” he ordered, lowering his head to lap at the droplets of fluid beginning to escaping from Blaise’s swollen erection.


The howl that tore from Blaise’s throat at the feeling of the Admiral’s tongue on his cock was muffled by the shaft in his mouth, but nothing short of the void of space could silence it, not when he was feeling Keller’s mouth on him for the first time.


Blaise’s uninhibited reaction made the Admiral wonder why he hadn’t given in to this particular temptation before. True, he’d never been tempted to taste another prisoner’s cock before Blaise’s, but the salty taste and silky texture of the pirate’s thick shaft felt damn good in his mouth. Not as good as his cock would feel buried in Blaise’s ass, though. With that thought in mind, Peter slid two fingers into his mouth alongside the slick column, coating them thoroughly with saliva and Blaise’s pre-come.


Blaise tried to focus his attention on his ministrations to the Admiral, not wanting to be rebuked for neglecting his duties, but he could feel Keller’s fingers sliding alongside his shaft in the other man’s mouth. He knew where those fingers were going, and the thought alone had him trembling with desire.


Peter tightened his thighs around Blaise’s shaggy head, forcing himself into the smuggler’s mouth until his balls pressed against the man’s sensuous lips. Keeping a firm grip on one hip, he pushed his wet fingers into Blaise’s hole with more urgency than care. He’d make sure the younger man was stretched enough to receive him, but he needed to be inside him the way he needed oxygen to breathe in the void of space.


Blaise’s back arched under the rough penetration, not to fight it, but to draw Keller’s fingers deeper. The sharp movement sent them spinning gently through the room, but he paid no attention to that. His mind was on the thick flesh in his mouth and the callused fingers stretching his ass. Everything else had lost all meaning for him.


Feeling Blaise arch and clench around him, the Admiral worked his fingers deeper, spreading them until he could feel the tight muscle start to relax. When their entwined bodies bumped gently against the chamber wall, he groped for the rail to steady them. Reluctantly abandoning his efforts to work his cock down Blaise’s throat, he pulled the dark-haired captive up to face him. Taken by a sudden impulse, he pulled the younger man’s mouth to his, savoring the taste of his own essence on Blaise’s tongue.


Blaise offered his mouth as willingly as he offered his body, though they still kept to the pretense that the Admiral was forcing his submission. He wondered fleetingly if they would ever move beyond these games, but there was no time for such considerations now. All that mattered was that Keller was fucking his mouth with his tongue like Blaise hoped he would soon be fucking his ass with his cock. He sucked hard on the invading muscle, welcoming it eagerly.

Ariel Tachna bio pic

Ariel Tachna lives outside of Houston with her husband, her daughter and son, and their two dogs.  Before moving there, she traveled all over the world, having fallen in love with France, where she met her husband, and India, where she hopes to retire some day.  She’s bilingual with snippets of four other languages to her credit and is as in love with languages as she is with writing.

Web site:

Twitter: @arieltachna


To purchase my books, you can always go to Dreamspinner’s web site,  or you can go to Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or All Romance eBooks, I’m sure there are probably other eBook outlets as well, but I don’t go searching for them. Also, if you want to buy the book in print, any bookstore that allows special orders can order the book for you with the title and my name.



Blast from the Past: Pukawiss the Outcast by Jay Jordan Hawke

Blast from the Past

 Pukawiss - 200ppi

Title: Pukawiss the Outcast

Author: Jay Jordan Hawke

Series: The Two-spirit Chronicles: Book One

Publication Date: January 15, 2014

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title


Pukawiss the Outcast is the first book in my series, The Two-spirit Chronicles published by Harmony Ink Press. A two-spirit is a concept by Native Americans to explain the wide spectrum of human sexuality, including gay people. In Ojibwe traditions, a two-spirit was believed to be very special. They were considered especially strong prophetic dreamers. I thought it would be interesting to explore this phenomena in the modern world. My lead protagonist, Joshua Ishkoday, grapples with both his sexuality and the strange talent for dreaming that comes with it. The sequel, A Scout is Brave, was just released by Harmony Ink Press and develops that idea further. It’s set in Boy Scout camp, so Joshua has to deal with the additional nightmare of anti-gay bigotry. The main point of the series is to highlight the sharply contrasting ways in which gay people are treated in society. Christianity has historically condemned gay people. But if you study other traditions, you quickly learn that such approaches are not universal. I would like my readers to understand that the stigma against homosexuality is the only thing that is not natural or universal. Pukawiss the Outcast celebrates a very common Native American tradition that venerates gay people. It may seem like the whole world, and all of history, is against you. But that simply is not true. Imagine living in a world where as a gay person you are considered something extra special—that you are in fact touched by God. That’s a radically different world from the one most gay teens grow up in today. I want people to see what that is like through the eyes of my teen protagonist.

Blurb: When family complications take Joshua away from his fundamentalist Christian mother and leave him with his grandfather, he finds himself immersed in a mysterious and magical world. Joshua’s grandfather is a Wisconsin Ojibwe Indian who, along with an array of quirky characters, runs a recreated sixteenth-century village for the tourists who visit the reservation. Joshua’s mother kept him from his Ojibwe heritage, so living on the reservation is liberating for him. The more he learns about Ojibwe traditions, the more he feels at home.

One Ojibwe legend in particular captivates him. Pukawiss was a powerful manitou known for introducing dance to his people, and his nontraditional lifestyle inspires Joshua to embrace both his burgeoning sexuality and his status as an outcast. Ultimately, Joshua summons the courage necessary to reject his strict upbringing and to accept the mysterious path set before him.

Author’s Bio:


Jay Jordan Hawke holds a bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. in history, as well as a second master’s in Outdoor Education. He loves everything sci-fi, especially Star Trek, and hopes to be on the first starship out of here. In the meantime, he teaches at a college prep school and anxiously awaits the day when he can write full time. His hobbies include camping, reading, running, and writing. He currently lives in Indiana.


Buy Links:


Pukawiss the Outcast:





A Scout is Brave:





Excerpt from Pukawiss the Outcast:


“He’s been acting weird,” Mokwa said to Jenny.

“Yeah, well, there is a reason for that,” Jenny responded. “And it’s why I wanted to talk with you alone.”

“Jealous of all my quality alone time with Joshua?” Mokwa teased.

Jenny simply ignored the insinuation. “Listen, haven’t you noticed that something was—” She paused for a second before continuing. “—a bit off about Joshua at the pizza place?”

Mokwa wanted to answer “no,” but he knew by now that when Jenny asked him questions like that, she already had the one correct answer in mind. His only real option was to listen to it.

“What do you mean?” he asked, figuring he couldn’t go wrong with a question.

“With Kiwi?” Jenny said, as though it were obvious. “Seriously, you didn’t notice?”

“He seemed to be having a great time,” Mokwa pointed out, realizing that it was the wrong answer even as he said it.

“Around you, maybe,” Jenny asserted.

“He’s my bro; of course he has a good time around me.”

“But not around Kiwi!” she said forcefully, making an obvious point. “Joshua wasn’t even upset that she was just using him to make Black Crow jealous.”

“What are you saying?” Mokwa asked, just wanting to get the confusion over with.

“I think Joshua is a two-spirit,” Jenny said calmly.

“Two-spirit? No way.” Mokwa chuckled at the notion. “I’d totally know.”

“Way,” Jenny responded. “And you’re too clueless to know anything.”

“No, he was just being shy around Kiwi. He’ll open up eventually.”

“Look,” Jenny said. “What typical teenage boy has no interest in the most beautiful girl in Wisconsin when she practically throws herself at him?”

“Yeah, Kiwi is definitely a fox!” Mokwa agreed. He looked lost in thought.

Jenny hit Mokwa on the shoulder. “I’m being serious.”

“Ouch, okay, sorry. Me too. This is me being serious.” Mokwa molded his face, attempting to clone Little Deer’s stoic expression.

Jenny broke out in laughter. “I can’t stay mad at you,” she teased. “But really, what about Joshua?”

“Fine, I’ll ask him about it. We’re like brothers. He’ll tell me anything.”

“Oh my God, Mokwa, you can’t just ask him!” she said as if Mokwa were an idiot.

“Why not?”

“Because he’s probably not comfortable with it.” Again, Jenny sounded like she was explaining the obvious to Mokwa.

“He did say his mother was crazy antigay,” Mokwa recalled.

“There is something else,” she said, quieting down a bit.

“What else?”

“You shouldn’t flirt with him.”

“Oh my God, you really are jealous of Joshua!” Mokwa teased. “You should be,” he added, as his facial expression got really serious.

“You really don’t get it, do you?”

“Wow, just tell me,” Mokwa insisted, tired of playing this game.

“He’s got a crush on you.”

“No way! Pukawiss is my brother, that’s all,” Mokwa pointed out, dismissing Jenny’s apparent revelation.

“You have no idea how hot you are.”

“Well, when you put it that way, I guess it does make sense,” he finally agreed.

“So you’ve got to be careful around him.”


“Yeah, you are such a tease, and you don’t even realize it.”

“I can’t help it.”

“I know you can’t,” she said. “It’s why I love you so much.”

“Okay, I’ll try. Any more insights to share?” he teased.

“Just a command. Stay the hell away from Kiwi!”

“Why don’t you tell me to stay away from Joshua?” Mokwa replied.

“Because that’s hot,” Jenny joked.

“If I stay away from Kiwi, can I still flirt with Joshua?”

Jenny hit him again.

“Ouch,” Mokwa said. “Sheesh.”


Blast from the Past: Fortunes of War

Guest review by Christopher Hawthorne Moss!

Fortunes of War by Mel Keegan

Blurb:  In 1588 a young mercenary and the son of an English earl meet by a quirk of fate. Dermot Channon is a soldier, while Robin Armagh has been sheltered on his father’s estate. Love blossoms fast while war looms on the horizon. Under the thundercloud of armed conflict, Channon leaves England and the Spanish Armada sails soon after. Robin despairs of seeing him again, for their countries are locked in an endless struggle. Years fly by, and in 1595, when Robin’s brother is taken for ransom in Panama, the dangerous duty of delivering the price of his life and liberty falls to Robin. He sails with the historical ‘1595 Fleet,’ commanded by Francis Drake, hoping to bring home his brother. But Fortune has other plans for Robin and Channon. Ahead of them is a an epic adventure in hazardous waters where old enmities, Spanish and English, shape their future together — and try to drive them apart.
My comment: 
This is the first MM novel I ever heard of.  My friend and author Brandy Purdy told me about it.   I was astonished.  I didn’t even know the genre existed.  It was a fateful day that I read it, since in the more than ten years since I have gone through a major transformation, getting into reading and writing MM romance and ultimately figuring out that I am a gay transgender man.  The author, Mel Keegan, is now my very good friend and started the GLBT Bookshelf at that I will ultimately take over when he retires.  If I have read and reviewed your book, it’s because I read and reviewed FORTUNES OF WAR all those years ago. 
Fortunes of War
Mel KeeganDermot Shannon is the bodyguard of the Spanish Ambassador in the court of Queen Elizabeth I. After someone tries to poison the ambassador, Shannon accompanies him to the country estate of Robert Armagh, a Catholic bent on revenge for the murder of his pretty wife. There Shannon meets Armagh’s son, Robin, and it is love, almost, at first sight. Robin is young, starved for a father’s approval and affection, and ripe for the picking. What Shannon didn’t count on was falling in love.

Sadly the two must part, because England and Spain are now at war. While his dashing lover goes back to Spain to fight for that country, Robin leaves the family estate for London and a new life. Before he can leave, though, his father gets wind of his tryst with the Hiberno-Spaniard and has the crap beat out of him by the priests. In London he gets work as a cartographer, pines for Shannon, fears he is dead and then concludes he had never been more than a boy toy for Shannon, and gives up and marries the boss’s daughter. When his brother is held in the Caribbean for ransom, he takes ship only to find himself captured by… Shannon! The rest of the story is kissing and making up, fighting rival privateers, lots of swash to buckle, and lots of graphic sex.

So… love, longing, swashbuckling, pirates, sex… what’s not to love? This novel is not meant to be painstakingly historically accurate, but Keegan seems to have the spirit of Elizabethan politics and war in his hands. It’s a sweet love story for the most part, though the desertion of wife and kids by Robin is only topped by his decision to marry and have kids when he should have known better. There is an awful lot of the use of the word “boys” in this novel, but never fear… it really means older boys.. young men.. I hope. In reality, boys it might be, but you know how people will talk.

I’m glad I read it, can see why Brandy Purdy recommended it, it being her era and m/m and all. I was just happy to find it on Kindle, so I bought it, had it sent to my Kindle, and enjoyed a good entertaining read.

Blast from the Past: Electric Melty Tingles by K.Z. Snow


It’s August of 1970, and the friends of 21-year-old Oliver Duncan are having a blast at his bachelor party. Except Ned Surwicki. He isn’t an Ivy Leaguer. He doesn’t appreciate female strippers. And although he’s been Oliver’s best friend since they were 14, Ned isn’t much inclined to celebrate his pal’s impending marriage. Ned is gay, something he’s known since he kissed a boy and got the melty tingles. He’s also in love with the groom-to-be.

Ned is miserable.

On the night before his wedding, Oliver realizes he’s miserable too. And he has only one person to turn to.

Thus begins a romance that spans forty years, requires one coming-out after another, and survives a broken engagement, a menage with War and Pees, world travel, an ill-advised marriage, scores of fuck buddies, a father who thinks his son is destined to be a clone of Liberace, parents who reject their son, and, worst of all, the failure of two misguided men to pursue their fondest dream.

The most important coming-out for Ned and Oliver is summed up in a declaration they spend too many years trying futilely to forget: “I love you. That’s never going to change.”



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Oliver’s current room at the Pfister was two floors down from where his bachelor extravaganza had been held, which was also one of the suites in which the wedding party was to gather in the morning. The out-of-town guests were staying in the hotel’s 1965 Tower addition—a hideously dissonant piece of architecture that reminded me of a stack of butter cookies or coffee filters—I couldn’t decide which. Oliver made me identify myself before he opened the door, and then he yanked me inside.

“What’s going on?” I asked as he locked the door at my back. I went to the closet and hung up my tux, then set down my bag. “How come you’re not staying upstairs?” By upstairs I meant one of the two suites the Duncans had reserved for the wedding.

Oliver stood with his hands on his hips, stared at the floor, and nibbled at the inside of his cheek. He wore a Hang Ten T-shirt and a matching pair of Adidas shorts, and all I wanted to do was tackle him and drop him onto one of the room’s two double beds.

When he looked up, I noticed the shadows beneath his eyes. He was on his way to being a mess, both physically and mentally, but he was beautiful to me.

“I’m all fucked up, Ned.”


Oliver’s face contorted, and he suddenly bolted into the bathroom. The sounds of retching were unmistakable.

I sprinted to his aid just as the toilet flushed. Kneeling beside him, I laid one hand on his back and curled the other over his forehead.

“Your hand feels good,” he mumbled to the swirling water. “Cool. Soothing” After a moment, he tentatively sat back on his heels and caught his breath.

Christ, he was a wreck. I got up and wet a washcloth at the sink then poured a glass of water. When I sat beside Oliver again, he took some water into his mouth, swished it around, and spat it into the toilet. Then he took a drink. I tilted his head toward me and gently swabbed the perspiration from his face. The delicate spears of dark lashes on his lowered eyelids made him look young and vulnerable.

Well, hell, he was young. We both were. Oliver was twenty-one. I was still twenty.

“That’s like the fourth time I’ve thrown up today,” he said.

“Have you been drinking?” He didn’t smell like it.

“No. Maybe I should start.”

“What’s wrong? Tell me.”

He dolefully shook his head. “Tomorrow… I’m not up to it.”

“You feel that bad?” Late August was a strange time of year to get the flu, but it was possible. Or maybe he had food poisoning.

“I only feel bad when I think about walking into that church. Just sitting here with you, I feel fine.” Oliver briefly put a hand over mine. His felt clammy. “Thank you for coming.”

“I had to show up sooner or later. I’m your best man.”

“Maybe not.”

I laughed nervously. “What, you’re firing me?”

Oliver’s smile was so wan, he looked like an invalid. He rose from the tiles and shambled out of the bathroom. I followed. When he sat on the edge of one bed, I sat on the other, facing him.

K. Z. Snow spent her formative years in Milwaukee bars—not because her parents were drunks, but because they were neighborhood tavern keepers. And, ja, a good life it was! She learned her first words off a Wurlitzer jukebox and could play poker as well as dance a mean polka by the time she was five. Too much has happened since then to recount. She now lives a quiet life with two rescue dogs in rural Wisconsin, where a crazy-ass crop duster pilot provides the area’s only excitement. Except when someone digs up an obscenely shaped potato. Or the Packers win.

Check out K. Z.’s website to peruse all her titles, or her blog for news, or her Facebook page for the hell of it.