Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Sex and Candy

Title: Sex and Candy
Author: Diana DeRicci
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0219
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Denial can be a cruel mistress as witnessed by Brad Hauffman. Fortunately, openly gay Brad did not suffer from denial, only disappointment in his closeted best friend Geoff. However, meeting Tristan Reaver along with the budding romance they share, Brad’s wait for happiness is finally over.

Sex and Candy is part of the Arbor Heights series. The plot illustrates the negative effects trying to please others instead of yourself can have on someone. Not only does living a lie impact the pretender, but all the other people involved.

Brad is lucky; the fact that he is gay was acknowledged as well as supported by his parents, employer and friends. Brad is an easygoing pastry chef who loves to cook. He also dreams of having a long term relationship someday. Going to the Blue Dogs private party was more an act of rebellion for Brad rather than his normal social activity.

Tristan has hosted friends with benefits gatherings in his home for years. These are private stress relief parties with some very strict rules. Tristan is a businessman who has never been in a monogamous relationship before meeting Brad. After dating Brad for a few weeks, Tristan is not willing to share Brad with anyone ever again.

Diana DeRicci has created a notably impressive as well as an enjoyable story.
The main aspect in this story, besides the intimacy between Tristan and Brad, is the attitude of people who are living a charade existence. Honorable behaviors have been cast aside in favor of a bogus standard of living. 

Reluctance

Title: Reluctance
Author: Bailey Bradford
Publisher: Totally Bound Publishing
Publisher URL: www.totallybound.com
ISBN/BIN: 978-0-85715-660-0
Genre: {M/M} Paranormal Series
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Minx

It’s been a year and Keegan’s still agonizing over the death of several wolves that died guarding the Alpha Anax. He’s riddled with guilt, works constantly, never smiles, can’t sleep and has pushed all his friends away.  When a security breach is brought to Keegan’s attention, he’s forced to go outside the pack to find an expert to build a system to secure the compound.

Going to Brazil isn’t what Keegan expects but that’s where Marcus and Nathan send him to pick up security expert, Olin. His plane trip is unsettling and then his initial meeting with Olin doesn’t go well either. They snap and snarl at each other as an unwelcome mating bond kicks in. But Keegan can’t deny their pull and he follows Olin into danger. Can these new mates survive or will they die in the rainforest before getting to know each other?

Reluctance is the newest release in Bailey Bradford’s Southwestern Shifters series. Be aware that there are aspects to Keegan and Olin’s relationship that fall into BDSM.

Now onto the rest of the review—It’s fun, entertaining and I found Reluctance to be an enjoyable read. Truthfully, the last couple of books in the series dragged a bit for me but this one turned everything around. My attention was really caught with the attention to detail, complex story line, integration of previous characters and fast pace. But that’s not all. It also has a mystery in the depth of the rainforest, which gives the story action, danger and suspense—all great reasons to keep reading.

Then there’s Keegan and Olin. These two guys are so different—in every way—and Olin has such a chip on his shoulder, I sometimes wondered if their mating would work. Yet, the author manages to get them together and does it convincingly.  The ongoing story line is coming along nicely and the twists here were interesting. I can’t wait to see what happens in the next release.

Cops, Cakes, and Coffee

Author: Sara York
Publisher: MLR Press
Publisher URL: www.mlrbooks.com
ISBN: MLR-1-02014-0211
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx 

Drake Knowles’ first visit to the coffee shop located near the police station where he is works is surprised by the immediate attraction he felt for the shop’s owner, Adam Hughes. Nevertheless, being surrounded by his co-workers, Drake knew his fascination for the man had to remain undercover.

Cops, Cakes, and Coffee is the first book in the Love's First Response series. The story is set in Everett, Washington. The main theme of the plot is discrimination. The characters are creditable. The concept of dating is new to Drake; he is more accustomed to driving to Seattle for a night of anonymous sex. However after meeting Adam, Drake is willing to risk discovery rather than let pass a possible future with him.

Because of painful mistakes in his past, Adam is adamant about having a platonic association prior to a romantic relationship. Adam also knows the negative impact Drake’s sexuality could have at his job.  

Happiness is short lived as well as freedom is lost when belligerent hypocrites are prepared to ignore the law, commit assault along with devastate their own lives all for the sake of perpetuating their narrow-minded viewpoint. Although Drake was not the initial target of abuse, he was dragged into the fight for attempting to end it.

Sara York has created an impressive romantic saga that I very much enjoyed. Drake and Adam are charming; the intimacy is enchanting plus the aggressors got their just dessert. 

Floodgates

Title: Floodgates
Author: Mary Calmes
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
ISBN/BIN: 978-1-62798-738-7
Genre: {M/M} Contemporary
Rating: 3.5 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Dragon Nymph

Tracy Brandt has a pretty good life with the exception of his cheating ex-boyfriend. At least he thinks he does until he’s almost killed at work, which brings his brother’s annoying best friend, Homicide inspector Cord Nolan, to the hospital and to the rescue.

Cord didn’t make a good impression on Tracy when they met five years ago and the intervening years hasn’t changed Tracy’s opinion. But Cord’s changed—he isn’t the same man he was. He’s still a good cop but he’s also personally reliable now. Tracy just can’t see it. Now that Tracy’s in trouble, Cord hopes he finally has a chance of showing the man he cares for that he’s a different man and worth opening his heart for.

Floodgates is the newest contemporary release by Mary Calmes. I tend to read nearly all the books by this author because I find them fun and entertaining and I enjoy the characters she creates. That’s true of Tracy and Cord in Floodgates, even if they do remind me of Sam and Jory from her Matter of Time series.

The story starts off with a bang—literally, when Tracy gets shot at. It’s a beginning that pulls the reader into what’s happening in Tracy’s life and propels the plot forward at a steady speed. As per usual there’s a lot about this book that appeals to me—the well developed personalities, vivid descriptions, solid relationships and good dialogue. There’s even enough action, danger and drama to make just about any romance reader happy. Tracy and Cord are interesting guys too. I really appreciate the amount of background provided and how it’s seamlessly woven into the plot; it made the rocky start of a personal relationship believable. 

Here’s my biggest niggle. Tracy and Cord spend a large portion of the book apart—almost adversarial—before their relationship begins to change. Instead too much time is spent on Tracy dealing with his ex, Breckin. There are some other spots I found troublesome but I won’t go into detail and reveal any other spoilers about the plot or it’s villain. Just know that despite my niggles, I did enjoy it.

An American Memory

Author: George Seaton
Publisher: Wilde City Press
Publisher URL: www.wildecity.com
ISBN: 978-1-925031-83-6
Genre: {M/M} Twentieth Century Historical
Rating: 4 Nymphs
Literary Nymphs Reviewer: Chocolate Minx

Narrated in the first person, one man recounts life for homosexuals in a Denver community. The orator is a people-watcher who chronicles places, as well as his social encounters from 1969 through 1982.

Though the characters are mainly gay men, the idiosyncrasies exhibited are human traits not restricted to any sexual category. For example, the first narrative illustrates a talented character named Michael who hears voices in his head. Creativity or living in his own reality? The origin of reality is an individual perception rather than a standardized opinion of the general public.

The stories begin with the adult gay man and descend into his coming of age teenage years when he was first subjected to the painful actions of bigots. After two years in the Army, the narrator realized he could no longer live the heterosexual lie society expected. At the age of twenty four, he steps out of the closet to live the life nature intended. However, the deadly disease sweeping through the nation brings the freedom of casual sex amongst the gay men to an abrupt halt. The loss of so many to AIDS blanketed the whole community with apprehension.

George Seaton’s An American Memory is a captivating very enjoyable blend of observations, descriptive settings along with a touch of humor. This was the era when the majority of society regarded homosexuals as part of the small clans of outcast inhabiting the less desirable sections of the city. Labels like Gay, Flower Child, Hippies as well as the Political Rebels were all lumped together in the conceited mentality of America. The era was considered a temporary misguided phase, not part of their civilized religious lifestyle. That is until noteworthy men started dying from AIDS. Suddenly, everyone became aware of the secret lives of friends and neighbors. Homosexuals had become the untouchables, sub-humans that did not deserve fair treatment or equal rights. 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Torquere Press Call for Submissions

OPEN CALLS FOR ANTHOLOGIES

Our anthology calls are a great place to get your feet wet with a short story, or to explore a theme without committing to a full novella or novel. For all anthology calls, we’re looking for fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about the chosen monthly theme. Make us laugh, make us cry, or surprise us and make us glow with happy endings!
Please send your 3000 -10,000 word submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with the title of the theme (ie: Torqued Tales) and your story title in the subject field. Please see our general submissions guidelines for formatting etc. Each theme has a title and due date listed on the individual call.

JULY 2014 -- RODE HARD -- COWBOY STORIES -- DEADLINE APR 15

Cowboys, y'all! From the Wild West to the modern era and any time (or place) in between, our Rode Hard anthology will feature fully realized, romantic LGBT stories about cowboys and cowgirls. Whether they make their home on the range or in a neon-filled dancehall, give us real cowboys with real problems. And really steamy love lives!


AUGUST 2014 -- DAWG DAYS -- WOLF/DOG SHIFTERS -- DEADLINE MAY 15

It's the way you growl, or maybe it's the way you use your teeth, or the way the moonlight shines on your fur... Wait, what?  We want your best canine/lupine shifter stories for the Dawg Days of summer. Keep us on our toes with wolves, coyotes, dingoes or even a pit bull shifter or two. The more biting the better!


OCTOBER 2014 -- ETERNALLY DARK -- DEADLINE JULY 15

All vampires are creatures of darkness, but these have a twist: they're forced to endure an existence of literal, as well as spiritual, darkness. Blind vamps use all of their other senses, including their sixth sense, to find both lovers and prey. Our Eternally Dark anthology will feature fully realized, romantic, stories about blind vampires. Deadline for submission is July 15, 2014.


NOVEMBER 2014 -- PUNK'D -- DEADLINE AUGUST 15

Whether we're taking high tea in a dirigible over London, chasing exotic werebeasts through the jungles of Darkest Africa, or pitting Continental mechanical know-how against the New World's sharp-shootin' cowboys -- steampunk, gaslamp, and clockpunk stories really crank our gears! The Punk'd anthology will feature fully realized, romantic gay (m/m) stories about life and love in the steampunk (and related) genres. Deadline for submission is August 15, 2014.


DECEMBER 2014 -- SANTA'S LITTLE KINKSTERS -- DEADLINE SEPTEMBER 15

We're hoping to fill our stockings this holiday season with stories as kinky as the curls in Santa's beard. Does the heat of a good spanking keep the winter chills at bay? Does practice tying up a sub help when it comes time to put garlands on the tree or ribbon on presents? Do the reindeer sometimes misbehave just so they can get a lick of the whip -- and what do those elves do while Santa's out delivering toys, anyway? Send us your fully realized, romantic m/m stories of holiday kink  for our Santa's Little Kinksters anthology. Deadline for submission is September 15, 2014.


LESSONS IN LOVE CHARITY SIP BLITZ -- DEADLINE JUNE 15

Every year, the generous authors at Torquere write stories and donate the proceeds of these shorts to charity, with Torquere matching each donation. We call it the charity sip blitz, and this year, our charity is the Point Foundation. 
From their website:
The Point Foundation empowers promising LGBTQ students to achieve their full academic and leadership potential – despite the obstacles often put before them – to make a significant impact on society.
We're looking for fully realized GLBTQ stories that relate to academics, school, university and learning. We're a romance publisher, so give us a good love story, on that will make the reader fall in love with the characters and root for them. If you're going to have sexual situations, even on the sweeter side, please make your protagonists eighteen or older. While we are accepting Prizm young adult submissions on this call, we are representing an organization that caters to students, and we need to make sure our content is age-appropriate. Feel free to surprise us with non-traditional students, alternative learning, and teachers or students of more than just English, Math and Science!
All submissions must be received by July 1, 2014 for a mid-September release. Earlier is better. Word count can range from 3000-8000 words. Longer will be considered, but please query first to help us accommodate our editing schedule! Please see our general submission guidelines for formatting requirements. Send submissions to submissions@torquerepress.com with Charity Sip Blitz Adult or Charity Sip Blitz Prizm in the subject line.


TALES OF LEATHER

Like your short stories with a little bondage, dominance, spanking, or submission? So do we! In fact, we like BDSM play stories so much that we're giving them their own category. Tales of Leather will be guaranteed to bring on all the hot BDSM action that readers crave. We're looking for romance stories with happy endings, engaging characters, and a fresh point of view. Stories should range from 10,000 to 50,000 words. Longer stories may be considered, but please query first. Stories will be contracted for two years, at our standard royalty rates. Please see our writer's guidelines page for royalty rates, formatting and submission information.
Guidelines:
- GLBT stories -- f/f, m/m, m/m/f
- 10,000 words and up
- standard royalty rates apply
- exclusive electronic 2 year contract
For queries or submissions, contact General Manager/Submissions Editor Kristi Boulware atsubmissions@torquerepress.com
Please put "Tales of Leather" in the subject line of all emails.
Follow our general guidelines.


BIRTHSTONES

Birthstones is a sexy, sensual GLBT series with a birthstone theme completely and solely interpreted by the author (i.e. Using the stone itself, the color of the stone, the mystical meaning of the stone, the area the stone is mined, use your imagination). We're looking for unique takes on the theme, interesting characters, hot sex, and attention to relationship. If multiple stories are submitted which fit the theme, more than one Birthstone may run.
Guidelines:
- GLBT stories -- f/f, m/m, m/m/f
- 10,000 words and up
- standard royalty rates apply
- exclusive electronic 2 year contract
The available stones/months are:
January/Garnet -- deadline September 15
February/Amethyst -- deadline October 15
March/Aquamarine -- deadline November 15
April/Diamond --deadline December 15
May/Emerald -- deadline January 15
June/Pearls -- deadline February 15
July/Ruby -- deadline March 15
August/Peridot -- deadline April 15
September/Sapphire -- deadline May 15
October/Opal -- deadline June 15
November/Topaz -- deadline July 15
December/Turquoise -- deadline August 15
Please email questions and submissions to:
submissions@torquerepress.com with Birthstones in the title.
See our general guidelines for formatting and general submission information.


SPICE IT UP

Who doesn't need a little spice in their life? The Spice it Up line has openings starting in January 2012. Stories need to be inspired by a spice or herb, or the spice must feature prominently in the story. To see what spices have already been used, see our bookstore at www.torquerebooks.com. Spices may be duplicated, but all stories must be original in theme and content. We're looking for romance stories with happy endings, engaging characters, and a fresh point of view. Stories should range from 10,000 to 30,000 words. Longer stories may be considered, but please query first. Stories will be contracted for two years, at our standard royalty rates. Please see our writer's guidelines page for royalty rates, formatting and submission information.
Guidelines:
- GLBT stories -- f/f, m/m, m/m/f
- 10,000 words and up
- standard royalty rates apply
- exclusive electronic 2 year contract
For queries or submissions, contact senior editor Lorna Hinson at submissions@torquerepress.com
Please put "Spice It Up" in the subject line of all emails.
Follow our general guidelines


COLOR BOX

Color Boxes are currently open for submissions.
Just pick a color and run with it. Whether you go with what the color looks like, the feelings it evokes, or the emotions associated with it, let the color be your guide.
These sexy GLBT stories will be at least 10,000 words (but can be longer), and have a happy ever after (or at least happy for now) ending in any genre. We're looking to do all the colors of the rainbow from Alabaster to Zymenchlora.
Please check on the color box page: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=78_112 to be sure your color hasn't already been used.
Please email questions and submissions to:
submissions@torquerepress.com with Color Box in the title.

Follow our general guidelines