Why Listening is Important

TouchOfAGhost_200x300Guest post by L.M. Brown, author of Touch of a Ghost

First of all, thank you for having me here today.  I’m L.M. Brown, a writer of MM and MMM romance novels, often with a paranormal twist. I believe that there is nothing hotter and sweeter than two men in love with each other… unless it is three!

For my writing tip of the day I am going to share with you the reason why I learned the hard way that reading out loud is sometimes a necessity when it comes to writing.

Now, I am the first to admit that I am not the biggest fan of audio books.  I have listened to many in the past, particularly abridged versions of the classics, but these days I prefer the written word.  I find when I am listening to audio books I am far too easily distracted by what  is happening around me and I have to keep going back to play things again because I completely missed what was being said.  I suspect this comes from the habit I have of tuning out noise to read, write, or even just concentrate at a very noisy day job – I am tuning out the audio books instead!  Unfortunately, it means that I find it very difficult to listen to them at all.

You are probably wondering what this has to do with my new release.

Well, for those who have followed my writing since the very start, you will recognise that Touch of a Ghost is a re-release of my very first published story.  The eagle-eyed amongst you will also note that there is a slight name change of one of the main characters.  Andy, which although never actually specified in the original story is short for Andrew, has now become Drew, also short for the same name.

The reason why is the audio book which, although no longer available, came out the year following the initial ebook release.

At the time Touch of a Ghost was initially written, edited and polished, I wasn’t reading the stories out loud.  This is largely because of certain young ears that shouldn’t be listening to such stories hanging around me at the time. Then the audio book was sent to me for proofing.

Yikes!

Andy and Benji, whilst both being names I like, just didn’t sound right together.  For some reason, when I look at the names in a lot of my stories, there are many which end in the “ee” sound.  Jamie, Cody, Cory, the list just goes on and on.  Thankfully I don’t think any of the others have been put together as a couple, but after hearing how Andy and Benji sounded when spoken together it started to irritate me.

So, when the rights to this story were returned to myself and I began to look for a new home for the story, the first thing I did was alter Andy’s name to Drew.

I hope this doesn’t cause too much confusion for readers.  Chances are most people won’t notice, or will realise that the story is the same purely from the blurb, but I guess there might be a few who are unsure.  I note it clearly on my website/blog that the story is a re-release and have a note to say why the name has changed, so hopefully no one is caught out.

But, this experience did teach me an important lesson.  Even if you don’t think it is necessary, sometimes things can be picked up when you hear your story read out.

So, there you have it, my tip for all writers is to take the time to read aloud your manuscript before you send it anywhere.  It may also help to highlight errors like where a character might have accidentally had a sex change (*cough* Driving-Me-Crazy *cough*).

Yes, I have had two audio books out in the past and while there wasn’t any error, as such, in Touch of a Ghost in the other one there was an instance where “he” became “she” and it was way too late to change it.

I hope my tip is a useful lesson for those of you who don’t read out loud.

Oh and feel free to share any of your own written/audio experiences – especially the goofs. I would love to know it isn’t just me doing daft stuff like this!

Blurb

Drew Jessop wants a life without ghosts. He doesn’t want to see, hear, or talk to them. Ignoring them should be relatively simple.

But Drew soon finds that Benji Richards, an eternally gorgeous ghost from the fifties, is not so easy to ignore.

Halloween night is approaching and both Drew and Benji know what it could mean for them. From sunset to sunrise, it is the one night of the year when a mortal can feel the touch of a ghost.

Buy: Touch of a Ghost

Excerpt

Drew leaned forward and put his empty bottle on the table. The match had finished and the commentators were recapping the highlights, so Drew reached for the remote control.

“Well, thank you for having us.” Flora stood up and stretched, as though her joints were still giving her grief as they had apparently done in life.

Drew turned off the television and picked up the crisp packet together with the nearly empty bowl. He tossed the last few crisps into his mouth as he stood up and walked into the kitchen. He left the beer bottles on the table as he contemplated whether to have another. Remembering he had an early start in the morning, he decided against drinking too much. He had a feeling Flora might have an opinion on alcohol intake too. However, when he turned back toward the living area, Flora had vanished.

Benji, on the other hand, still lingered. He remained on the sofa, his arm stretched along the back and his chin resting on it as he stared at Drew directly.

“You’re very rude, you know?” Benji commented idly. “Not saying a single word to us all evening like that. You could at least have said hello.”

Drew ignored him as he turned off the lights.

“I know you can see us. Your eyes give you away.”

Drew suspected Benji might be guessing, but if he said a single word in response that guess would be confirmed. He had to keep quiet. That way he could still maintain a normal life.

“Not going to admit it, huh?” Benji said. “Well, I’ll stop by again tomorrow. Maybe you’ll be more talkative then. If you are, I might just tell you how I know you’re gay, if you ask nicely.” With that comment, Benji flashed Drew one final killer smile and vanished from the room.

Drew reacted to Benji the same way he would any other handsome man. His mind may tell him Benji was off limits, but his body thought otherwise. Drew wondered whether he could keep up the pretense of not seeing and hearing the ghosts who were as real to him as the rest of the human race. If this evening was anything to go by, it might not be as easy as he thought.

Buy: Touch of a Ghost

Where to find L.M. Brown

Website & Blog – http://lmbrownauthor.wordpress.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/L.M.Brown.author

Twitter – @LMBrownAuthor

Why M/M?

Apparition 200x300Hi! My name is Iyana and I live in Jakarta, a city famous for its traffic jams, a lot of cars and motorcycles, and people selling stuff on the roads. I love cats and right now I have five, Larva, Nyil, Cil, Betsy, and Horus.

If you want to know more about me, here are my links:

Blog
Facebook
Twitter

I write short stories and so far what I have published are m/m stories. Why m/m, you ask? Because I’m a girl and I adore men and I love reading about boys kissing boys. Nah. Just kiddin’. 😉 Or maybe it’s true? Well, perhaps at first. But the more I write m/m stories, the more I realize this is the least I can do to support my LGBT friends. In my country especially, LGBT life is practically non-existent and people who support them often have a hard time too. A colleague of mine stopped reading a female author’s work after this friend found out that the writer also wrote m/m stories. Some so-called religious groups have often forcefully stopped LGBT events on behalf of their religions. And I thought religions forbid violent acts.

I would also like to show my support to one of my friends. I think it’s not a secret anymore for his closest friends about his preference but I don’t think his family knows about it. It’s totally not my business, but I just want him to be happy.

I like writing m/m and from doing it I get to know a lot of guys through the Net that later become my friends. We talk about things we both love, writing, sharing our favorites, exchange information, and encourage each other for our work. They are some of the sweetest people I’ve ever known and I feel blessed to have known them. I just wish someday I could meet them in real life.

What about you? Do you read/write m/m stories? What do you like about them?

Blurb:

Separated by more than 600 miles, Zach and Drew were forced to keep in touch through phone, email, and Skype. However, as Drew showered for one of their “dates”, he wasn’t alone. Then he found out that Zach’s car crashed, leaving him in a coma. Who then came to Drew when he showered? Would he have a chance to be with Zach again?

Excerpt

The man went on his way and Drew went to the shower. He’d planned his night alone with Zach on Skype. He couldn’t think of anything better than that when his boyfriend was away. Sometimes cam sex could be better than the real thing. Well, by ten percent or less. And Drew loved to make sure he’d cleaned up when he was meeting Zach. Even in cyberspace.

Drew stripped and turned on the water, checking the temperature. Perfect. He stepped in and let the water run down his hair and his eyes. He rubbed himself down, and had another jet of water wash his body. Drew thought of the times Zach joined him in the shower.

And suddenly he felt it. Zach patted Drew’s backside and draped both arms around his damp, naked midriff. Drew sucked in a breath. What’s going on? He froze, but promptly dismissed what weird thoughts coming to his mind. He missed Zach so much, that was all. Drew moaned and pressed back.

Find Iyana Jenna on Amazon

Review: Stripped Clean by Ellis Carrington

stripped cleanReviewed by Sharon S.

Carlos O’Shea is stuck. He knocked up a girl in college after a night of too much drinking and then married her to be honorable. With little money, fewer options, and no degree, he winds up cleaning the floors in a small town gentlemen’s club and thinking desperate thoughts about the handsome owner that’ll lead to nothing but trouble.

Greg Moorehouse only invested in a nudie bar to help his best buddy out of a financial crisis. Now his drug-dealing ex-boyfriend, his reverend father, and a parade of surgically-enhanced DDs are driving him insane. But what’s really stripped him of all good sense is his growing obsession with his married employee, Carlos.

They circle each other in a push-pull of misunderstandings and growing attraction. Carlos needs to get his boss out of his head, and Greg can’t abide cheaters and married men. So what are a strip club owner and the guy who cleans going to do with their undeniable desires?

Please note: This is an adult gay romance, for mature readers only. Contains explicit love-making between two hot-blooded men, angsty dark moments, and cupcake-baking exotic dancers.

This is about two guys with so many obstacles between them you wonder if they will ever be able to work through them. Stripped Clean has a HEA so you know they do, but the journey there is what this book is about. You can read the book blub to get a rundown of all the baggage they have to deal with.

What I think the author does best is convey that feeling of falling in love with all the awkwardness, double guessing what the other person is thinking and worrying if you are reading things into it. I was able to remember those butterflies in the stomach as you waited for that first kiss from your crush. Gives you all kinds of warm and fuzzies.

Greg does well for his self financially, is comfortable with his sexuality and experienced. His last relationship ended badly because of his partner’s drug use. And to make matters worse his ex-lover is the brother of Greg’s best friend. Greg also has serious anger and trust issues when it comes to his father and it has affected his relationships. But he is a good guy trying to do the best he can and help others. Carlos fell in love with a boy as a teenager, but never got to truly explore his sexuality. Then he ended up in a sexless and loveless marriage and has ignored his needs because he wouldn’t ever cheat on his wife. He is also a good, honest man struggling to do the best he can and it is heartbreaking how he denies his own happiness in order to do right by others.

Both men are drawn to one another from the moment they meet, but unaware that the other is also attracted to them. I enjoyed how they dance around each other for a good part of the book. There are so many reasons for them not to act on their feelings, least of which is the whole employer/employee relationship. When they finally do it is hot! It isn’t happy ever after for them just yet. There are some angsty moments as they try to navigate their feelings for each other and their own emotional baggage.

These are two real life characters overcoming self-doubt and learning to trust and love again.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Stripped Clean (The Escapade)

Review: Call Me Yours by Celia Kyle

Call Me Yours by Celia KyleReviewed by Lynn Reynolds

Mitchell Faerigan owns and works at a motorcycle shop. He builds the bikes as well – got to love a hot mechanic/owner. But he’s not all that he seems. Clover Brady owns an antique shop close by. And he’s being “worshipped from afar”.

Celia does a great job with this book. While you read, you tend to forget that they’re two males – you just see them as two people who are into each other. There was one scene where our author had Clover giggle. I’ve never heard a man giggle before but Celia has left me wanting to hear the sound. This is when I wish the book had audio.

Celia could have done like other authors and put in lots of sex (because isn’t that what people assume a M/M book is about) but she didn’t do as expected. The love story is what’s important and the sex is put in right where it belongs. She also writes so that gender seems to be an afterthought. You’ll love the scene where Clover meets Mitchell’s mother and brother – just sayin’.

Our author also includes just the right amount of fantasy/paranormal. Language is graphic but don’t let that bother you – after all it’s told from a man’s perspective. If you’ve never read any of her work before, this will leave you wanting to read more. So, stop over to her web site, http://celiakyle.com, and see what other books she has written.

[Rating:4]

Buy: Call Me Yours (Gay Paranormal Fantasy Romance)

Review: Wild Rides by Elizabeth Coldwell

Reviewed by Sharon S.

Ridden Hard, Stud to Go, Layover… A collection of three intensely erotic gay novellas – prepare yourself for a Wild Ride!

Whew! I think I need to fan myself after reading these stories <G>.  I read and reviewed Ridden Hard a while back for LRP and gave it 5 stars. So when I got a chance to read more by Coldwell I jumped at the chance. I always say I don’t like erotica, but I think I might have to rethink that when it comes to m/m romances. These three stories are over the top, throwing every possible sexual scenario at you in a very short amount of time. Ben, the lead character in Stud to Go manages to be involved in voyeurism, BDSM, ménage, masturbation and probably some others I forgot, with multiple people. In his defense, he was working as a male escort.

These stories worked for me because of how well developed and likable the characters are.  Each story is told in the first person POV, which I am quite fond of. I immediately loved each lead character. They are good natured, funny and all around nice guys. Coldwell has a talent for writing wonderful characters and she will have you rooting for them and their HEA, which they all get I might add.  The sex might be rough and crazy, but the romance behind all that is so strong and sweet it will leave you wanting more.

My favorite of the three was Stud to Go. I loved Ben and Jeroen. It is almost like a m/m version of Pretty Woman (for those who remember that one <G>). Layover was my least favorite of the three, but I still liked it! We are talking 5 stars vs 4 stars, but I didn’t feel the same connection between Cal and Justin as I did with the other two couples.

If you like m/m, HEA, and freaking hot sex, then you will love this collection 🙂

[Rating:5]

Buy: Wild Rides