Total Pageviews

Friday, November 30, 2012

Stroke the Fire by M. Christian

Author: M. Christian
 Length: 433 k
 Sub-Genres: Gay Romance
        The Best ManLove Stories of M. Christian
Sizzling tales of bad boys, bruised hearts, and sweaty encounters. Lambda Award finalist M. Christian’s stories of men-who-love-men have been selected for Best Gay Erotica, Best American Erotica, and Best of the Best Gay Erotica. Eavesdrop on what hot men who are doing hot things with other hot men say to each other between the sheets ... and up against the wall. Start reading the fiery ManLove fiction of M. Christian with this personally selected collection of his best. "A wonderful book … just the thing if you are in the mood for an enjoyable quickie (or twenty)." -Mathilde Madden, author Reflection's Edge. [Don't miss the other books in "M. Christian's ManLove Collection from Sizzler Editions.] And don't miss his Lambda Finalist book, Dirty Words. "Fairy tales whispered to one another by dark angels whose hearts and mouths are brimming with lust." -Michael Thomas Ford, Lambda Award winning author Looking for It.
Sizzler Editions/Attraction$8.50
See what I mean?  Short story writing is hard.
M. Christian's new collection of singular and satisfying short stories, Filthy Boys, is subtitled "Outrageous Gay Erotica." Emphasis on "outrageous." Although each of them does deliver a more than adequate erotic charge, Christian is after bigger game here.  He's writing short stories.  You know, like the ones you had to read in high-school: stories about suburban Connecticut teens and hardscrabble poor white trash and adventurers desperate to light a fire to stay alive.  The ones you had to discuss in class, using terms like "irony" and "thematic development" in those seconds before your forehead hit the top of your desk out of total apathy.
Take heart.  Christian's stories are sexy, smart and a lot more fun.
"Man's got a home, then that's where he sleeps.  Can't, myself, see how you can stand the god-derned quiet out there in the flats," Lew had said, listening to the music of the man's voice.
The man shrugged, the tip of his cigar bobbing in the soft night.  "That it be.  Name's Last.  Jeff Last."
Lew wiped the grime off his hands (and hopefully the fool's grin off his face) and offered his own.  "Lew.  Just Lew around here."
The handshake lasted a bit too long, long enough for the two men to size each other up.  Lew in his Stinkhole clothes was a burly barrel of a man, all beard and round blue eyes.  He looked fat from aways, but if you're ever seen him haul cornmeal or lumber you'd know that it was iron, fella, strong, strong, iron and not just insulation against Craggy's winds.
Last was long and lanky, and while the light was none too good in that narrow little ways between the public corral and Miller's Fine Feeds, you could tell that he was a beanpole: Six feet easy, in buckskin and serape.  In the dark beneath his wide brimmed hat, his shaved face was carved and as Craggy as Lew's mountain home.  The handshake had lasted way too long.  Now, he thought, how to get this fine feller up the mountain...
"Gotta hit the trail if I'm ta make Ridgewood by dawn," Jeff had said, and Lew's heart had sunk down to his Stinkhole boots.  
"Knows how it is–" he had said, starting to turn, maybe extend a hand, and an invitation for another time.
"But you is one fine figure of a man.  Might temptin'–"
Lew stared, unsure of how exactly to respond.  
"You think the same, Lew of the Mountain?" Jeff had said.
Even in the low light cast from the lanterns of Sal's Lew could see Jeff's fine figure, out in all it's glory there in the "street" of Stinkhole.  
The brush was dry so he wet it.
The strokes at first were always, for some reason, slow and precise.  He knows that nothing will remain of them after it's done, but for some reason it always starts that way: bands, shades of the same color, going vertical, diagonal, horizontal.  He guesses, when he does think about the act, that it is a getting acquainted with the brushes, the canvas – his medium.
Why that should be when he has painted for so very long is a mystery Doud never examined.
Dry again – silent, precise strokes now skittering and scratching across the smooth face of the canvas.  Dries so quickly.  He wet the brush again.
Those first strokes were a climb into the work, he supposes when he does.  Painting those stripes, bands of one color – always that one color – are like the rungs of a ladder.  Going up, into the act, the glow, of creativity ... of making a work.
The next movements of the brush were wild, feverish: all precise control lost in the rising swell of what was fleeting around his mind, just beyond Doud's normal vision.  He knew, certainly, absolutely, that he was trying to pin it down now with the brush, the color – to make it stick and stay so he can see it clearly: see if it is pretty or ugly.
Dry again.  He dipped it into his seemingly inexhaustible well and continued.
Maybe a man.  Yes, perhaps that: like a stroller walking out of a fog, a shape becoming shoulders, a broad chest, legs, and what could be a waist.  Then, with more movements of the brush, it grew details like leaves from a tree: The curves of a chest, the tendons in the arms, the contours of muscles and bone, the texture of smooth skin ... a face.
Dry again.  Doud dipped the brush into his red-filled mouth and tried to capture the man more fully.
* * * *
The street was brilliant with a heaven of shines and reflections from a light rain.  The primary neon colors burst from places like Jackson's Hole, the Ten Pin, the 87 Club, Aunt Mary's Diner hit the street, the sidewalk, the faces of the tall buildings like ... like watercolors, Doud thought, though his own medium was a lot less flowing and fluid.
The Space didn't have neon, and despite the beauty of the rain-shellacked street outside, its owner would never ever pondering lighting its very nondescript doorway with gaudy attraction.  Wellington took extremely cool pride in the austerity of his gallery – going over its rubber-tiled steps, eggshell walls, industrial lighting, stainless steel display stands and single office countertop with an eye as precise and chilly as a level.  Doud easily imagined him thinking the photographs, paintings, and sculptures that paid his rent a distraction from the purity of an absolutely empty room.
He hoped for a frozen second that the flash had been lighting beyond the window, out among the glimmering night street and hunched and brisk people.
Doud loved the rain and especially lighting.  Like the bands of slow, precise color that started his works, he never really examined why the world being lit for a second, frozen and trapped in a blink of pure silver, fascinated him.  Maybe it was the raw power of natural electricity – or maybe it was just the close comfort of being snug and warm for the evening that he associated with rain outside: lighting was the tiger prowling outside while he warmed his feet, safe and warm, inside.
But lighting doesn't come from within (unless you count inspiration): trapped with the flash, for a second, was his own face in the window glass: wide, large brown eyes, aquiline nose, brushy brows; curled black hair; deeply tanned and lined skin; large, strong mouth with hidden teeth.  Some thought him Italian, others American or East Indian.  A few guessed at maybe Eskimo or even Polynesian.  Never guessed the truth of New York (son of New Yorkers).  Never, ever, guessed his age.
The disappointment over a lighting-free night came quick, a gentle slap (because it was a simple pleasure) and he turned back to the semi-crowded gallery.  There he was, a too-clean looking photographer he instantly knew was either the friend of an artist or one of them himself (newspaper shooters were usually a lot more scruffy and exotic).  Doud hated to be photographed, hated being frozen in time and having his image in the hands of, and at the mercy, someone else.
"Yours?" the photographer said, his face opaqued by the complex of a flash unit, massive lens, and a matte-black camera body.  Dirty blond, almost brown, tall, broad was all Doud could see.
"Those are," Doud said, nodding to the right hand wall and the five paintings that were edge-on and so just the colors of their frames.  Doud didn't need to see them, an artist's privilege of many hours of work.
The camera came down and he treated Doud with his profile as he scanned the paintings: Pale, hollow cheeks; bones seemingly as thin as a bird's; wet blue eyes that, even across the mostly-empty gallery, seemed to see far too much, far too quickly; a mouth that bloomed with lips that Doud found himself instantly wanting to kiss; a nose all but invisible against the beauty of his face (which was fine, having such a profound nose, Doud disliked the same in others); and a fine and elegant body that seemed to be all chest and shoulders, a rack on which thin, pale arms and legs dangled with a refined and dignified posture.  He was dressed simply elegant in black pants, a very tight turtleneck and an elegant, and probably antique, morning coat – a direct polar extreme from Doud's old sweatshirt, boots and jeans.
It was a kind of shock to see someone who sported himself so ... dapper was a word that came out of Doud's memory along with the smell of horses and raw electricity, the rumble of the "El" trains, and scratchy Al Jolson from a Gramophone.  Dapper?  Yes, refined and polished. Quite out of character for The Space and being an admirer of Doud's work.
"You probably get asked this a lot–" The man fixed those darting, smiling eyes on Doud and smiling pure warmth.
"An awful lot," Doud said with a practiced sigh that spoke of a joke rather than true exasperation.  "Animals," he finished, answering the question.
"I saw the jar," the photographer said, indicating with a jerk of his camera the large bell jar stuffed with a cow's severed head on the floor in front of Doud's wall, "and thought as much."
"The medium is the message," Doud said with a smile.  "People either look at me real funny and think about DNA testing or they think it's a trick of paint and technique."
"It is rather ... your studio must really stink."
Doud laughed, the sound coming from down deep, "Lots of windows, and I keep my stuff well-covered. Then of course I fix it real good after.  Lots of shellac."
The man smiled, shifted his camera and stuck out a pale, long-boned hand, "Jona.  Jona Periliak."
"Charmed," Doud said.  Jona's hand was dry and very warm, almost hot.  "Are you here as well, or just taking shots for a friend?"
"I'm in the backroom."
Doud remembered the photographs on his way in that evening, but since he never supervised his installations he hadn't looked beyond that initial glance.  "Would you mind," Doud said, smiling his best smile and hoping he'd remembered to gargle and brush his teeth, "showing me?"
The Space had started to fill up since they'd been talking.  The usual wine and cheese crowd of artists and their usual mixture of friends.  They passed carefully by suits and jeans and piercings and Doc Martens and even a latex bodysuit and a full tux.
The backroom was sky blue, lit with Wellington's usual baby spots.  Maybe a dozen, maybe fourteen, black and white portraits.  Jona looking thoughtful with glasses and a book.  Jona looking sad with gravestones in the background.  Jona looking pained as blood, black as ink (and it could have been) ran down from a sliced palm.  Jona excited, his bare chest slick with sweat and probably oil.  Doud scanned them all, lingering long over excited and pained, giving them his examining, look – then glanced over at the title of the series: Portrait of the Artists.
Doud hated photographs: He saw them as a kind of cheat, a kind of shortcut.
"They're fine–" Doud said, using a word that also came from penny candy and hoop skirts.  He didn't like photographs for lots of reasons, but Jona was very pretty, very striking in his pallor and funereal garb.  Being self-portraits made it easy to lie – Jona was very fine, indeed.
"You don't like them." He didn't seem hurt at all, more like he was calling Doud on his politeness.
"I didn't say that.  It's not my medium is all.  Besides, I meant what I said.  I like the way these are all parts of you."
"I appreciate that," Jona said, moving the camera behind him so Doud had have a nice view of his flat stomach and hard chest – at least what he could see outlined in the black turtleneck.
It had been a long time for Doud.  He could barely remember the face, and couldn't, for the life of him, think of the last name of the last person he was attracted to as much as he was attracted to Jona.  You'd think, he found himself thinking with surprising clarity, after all this time I'd get better at this.  At least he wasn't hungry – but he did feel that other kind of desperation, the one that wanted to make his gently shaking hands reach up and stroke Jona's soft, pale cheeks and tell him how beautiful he looked. Go on, he thought next, say that you appreciate him ...
"Are you–" Doud did say, waving at the row of photographs "–going to be here long?"
"Tonight or the show?" and before Doud could respond either way, Jona quickly added, "Just a few minutes and the end of the month."
The Space had started to fill up and Doud felt himself being pulled by their body heat, their eyes.  Going to an opening was rare, staying as late as he had was ever rarer ... but Jona, and Jona's beautiful attention, was priceless.
But the people –
"It's kind of getting crowded," the pale beauty said with a smile that made a warm spot on Doud's stomach and his eyes loose focus for a second.
Doud heard himself say, "Let's go outside."
Buy Links:
About The Author:
M.Christian has become an acknowledged master of erotica, with more than 400 stories in such anthologies as Best Gay Erotica, Best Best Bisexual Erotica, Best American Erotica, and Best Fetish Erotica. He has had three collections of stories about men who love men published, Body Work, Filthy Boys, and Dirty Words, which was a Lambda Award finalist. And he is the author of two man-love novels, the vampire classic, and Me2, a gay thriller. M. Christian is also a veteran anthologist, and with more than 25 to his credit, including the Best S/M Erotica series; Pirate Booty; My Love For All That Is Bizarre: Sherlock Holmes Erotica; The Burning Pen; Garden of Perverse, and others. Sizzler Editions/Attraction, a glbt imprint, recently issued his personal selection of his best gay erotica in the ebook, Stroke the Fire. A genre-busting author, M. Christian has also written non-fiction (Welcome to Weirdsville, How To Write and Sell Erotica), as well as lesbian, straight, futuristic, fantasy and horror erotica. All three of his gay male collections, both novels, and Stroke the Fire have all recently been released as M. Christian's The ManLove Collection .

My Thoughts:
This book is the best of M. Christian’s ManLove Fiction but it is so much more.  Instead of giving us one story, he packs in a lot of stories in just a few pages.  When you purchase this book you need to know that the stories can be very graphic.  And what’s good about an anthology is you don’t have to feel as if you have to read all the stories at once.

M. Christian gives us one story where he has you thinking of food.  He also shows the reader that there is more than one way for two people to love each other.  Some couples seem totally vanilla and others more adventurous.  There are those people that like to be treated like someone else’s property.  One short story had me thinking that if it were made into a movie Nathan Lane would be the perfect diva (a la Bird Cage).

Our author also doesn’t use the same type of story over and over.  We get some paranormal, a lot erotic, and even some gore (think bloody).  This book is not for someone who can’t think outside the box or have an open mind.  You need to accept strong language and scenes that are very descriptive.  There was one short story that had me think “incestuous”.  M. Christian even surprised me with one story with religious undertones (I have a feeling you will know it as soon as you read).  I will admit that a couple of the stories lost me – but it’s possible it was just me.  You will have to let me know if you feel the same.

If you are looking for a straight book of romance, you won’t find it here.  M.Christian explores all different types of love and you become a part of the story.  Unless you are a person with no feelings, you can’t help but be touched (good or bad) by his writing.  If you are someone that likes a little “meat” to your story, then you will want to get this book.

Rating:  4 stars

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Man To Trust by Cheryl Yeko

Publisher:  Soul Mate Publishing
Publication Date:  October 23, 2012
ISBN:  9781619351363
Pages:  206/2838 KB
Rating:  4 stars

Angela Beebe’s husband Scott has been murdered.  Jake Bauman is the detective who informed Angela about her husband.  He thinks she’s hiding something and she thinks he’s an ass.  What a great way to start a great read.

Cheryl has also included a couple of secondary characters – J.D. and Stacey.  Stacey is a friend of Angela’s and J.D. is Jake’s brother.  Both couples seem to throw off a lot of sparks.  It must be hard for an author to develop a relationship for one couple but Cheryl goes the extra mile by developing two.

Cheryl lets her readers know that Angela loves to bake.  If you read this story, and I’m hoping you will, you will get a yummy sounding recipe.  You may want to give it a try but Cheryl doesn’t divulge the complete recipe.  You may want to search the internet to try to find the full recipe or contact Cheryl.  Maybe she will let you in on the rest of it.  And if you do contact her, let her know what you liked about this book.

At times, Cheryl has me holding my breath when I think something is going to happen.  She knows how to tease her readers with anticipation.  There are children in this storyline as well.  You see them at times but for the most part, they tend to stay in the background.  I would have loved to have seen more interaction between the children and Angela and Stacey.  I have a feeling that if this story had been longer that would have changed.  But with the intensity of the story, I can understand why there wasn’t – you don’t want to slow down the pace.  Leaving their interaction until the end was the perfect spot.  This was a great way for the story to end.

But Cheryl has left me with a question – what does she have in store for me next.  In doing the research for this review, I found out she has another book out titled Protecting Rose.  That book is about a fellow officer to Jake and J.D.  I will have to check that one out.  In the meantime, if you like teasers stop over to YouTube and check out her book trailer for A Man To Trust,  You may want to check out her web site as well,

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A Man to Trust by Cheryl Yeko

        Author:  Cheryl Yeko
        Publisher:  Soul Mate Publishing
        Length:  206 pages
        Sub-Genres:  Suspense
The battered survivor of an abusive marriage, Angela doesn't mourn her husband’s death in a drug deal gone bad. But she’s not sure she can survive losing her heart to the handsome detective who assumes she’s a criminal, too.Tasked with Angela’s safety after she’s targeted by an unknown enemy, Jake discovers the beautiful widow is not what she seems. He soon realizes that trusting her goes hand-in-hand with desiring her, and passion and duty collide.Now it’s up to Jake to keep Angela—and their chance at happiness—alive.
Excerpt 1:
The kitchen scene I blogged on my site, and the recipe for Pear-Hazelnut Tarts -- the link to the recipe can be found on my website.
What am I doing? Angela raced to the refrigerator and opened the door to test the firmness of the dough, taking time to clear her mind from the sensual daze induced by Jake’s kisses.
Heat scorched her cheeks. If the timer hadn’t gone off, would she have let him take her right there on the table? She sprinkled flour onto the counter and placed the dough on it, forming it into a square.
“Can I help?” Jake’s husky voice drifted over her sensitive nerves as he came up behind her and heat radiated from him as he positioned himself at her back.
She pushed hair from her face and reached for the rolling pin, not looking at him. She felt like a gazelle being stalked by a lion.
“No, I’ve got it, thanks.” She rolled the dough into a rectangle, before folding the short ends over the middle to make three layers. Turning the dough a quarter turn she rolled it away from her into another large rectangle.
“That looks complicated.” Jake placed an arm at each side of her, then gripped the counter and peered over her shoulder. Effectively caging her in, his warm, minty, breath feathered across her face. “Explain to me what you’re doing. I might like to make it for my son sometime.”
Her hands trembled when she folded the short ends over the middle again to make another three layers. Normally, she’d place the dough back in the refrigerator at this point for another twenty minutes, but if she worked fast enough she could skip that step. And she wanted to get this done as soon as possible and put some space between her and Jake. Afraid she would throw herself back into his arms.
She glanced over her shoulder and met his heated gaze. His eyes smoldered with banked lust. “Seriously?”
He nodded, watching her with a predatory gleam in his eyes.
She took another shaky breath and glanced back down. “Okay. It—it’s a simple recipe really. I’m making dough for Pear-Hazelnut Tarts. I’ll write it down for you.”
“That’d be great.” His body pressed up against her.
Angela gulped. “Well—well, first you prepare the dough, then you need to wrap it in plastic wrap andrefrigerate for about half an hour.”
“Uh huh.” He leaned in and nuzzled her ear. “Refrigerate the dough. Got it.”
Her mind went into lockdown. Nothing but silence and sexual tension filled the room.
“I’m listening,” Jake brushed his thumb across her cheek. “Flour,” he murmured, nuzzling her neck.
“Oh.” Her body was wound tight and desire pooled in her belly, and her breasts felt heavy and aching with the need to be touched. A tremor ran through her.
She gave the dough another turn and again folded the ends over. “After you remove the dough from the refrigerator, you need to roll it flat, and shape it into a large rectangle, then fold the short ends over the middle so that it makes three layers.” She demonstrated it for him, although she didn’t really think he was paying attention.
“Right. Three layers,” he repeated. One hand slid to her stomach, tugging her closer.
Angela’s pulse raced. “Umm. Repeat this four times,” she managed to say. “The dough needs to remain firm, if not . . . if not, put it back in the refrigerator for another fifteen minutes before continuing.”
“Mmm, sounds like a lot of work.”
She gave her shoulders a little shrug to loosen his arms from around her. “Some space here, please,” she said, breathlessly.
Excerpt 2:
Jake tore his mouth from hers. His gaze scorched her with their heat, molten hot. “You drive me wild.”
He unfastened the first three buttons of her shirt and slowly slid the fabric from her shoulders and down her arms, until it pooled at her waist. A shiver of anticipation rolled through her, tightening her nipples. She licked her lips and stared into his darkened gaze.
His eyes flamed with desire. He leaned down and kissed the tops of her breasts. First one, then the other, then sucked a sensitive nipple into his mouth, sending a shockwave of pleasure to the apex of her thighs.
“Jake,” she purred.
He lifted his head and their eyes locked. “I love the way you say my name.” His hand slid to the inside of her legs and caressed a path of fire to the part of her that wept for him.
“Say it for me, Angel,” he whispered.
Buy Links:
About The Author:
Cheryl Yeko lives in Wisconsin with her husband Patrick. She loves to read, write, play piano and spend time with her grandchildren.
Although she has spent most of her professional life as a legal assistant, she can also include realtor, small business owner, and virtual assistant/mobile notary to her varied background. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America as well as the Wisconsin Chapter.
Cheryl is thrilled to be able to add author to her resume and would love to hear comments from readers.
Social Links:

Monday, November 12, 2012

Carly Phillips Giveaway Ends November 29

Login to Facebook and Like Carly Phillips for an entry. 
Then follow her on Twitter for a second entry. or