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: ★★★★☆

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: ★★★★☆

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: ★★★★★

Buy: Wild Rides

Review: Blank by Sommer Marsden

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Think you can take the heat of the next sizzling novel by this best-selling author? Think again…

Kyle is one of those guys who denies everything to himself, the sort who lives in total denial of what or who he is in favor of lying his way in and out of situations he doesn’t like, and in some cases, even those he does.

His real reason for being this way comes out in Chapter three when he remembers all the times he was beaten-up in prison for the foolish thing he did before. He has taken all the heartache he felt and all the pain and hid it all away where it can’t affect anyone else but him – most of all he misses Jason, his former lover and the man he left behind when he got taken away to jail.

When he is with someone he doesn’t take much notice of them – it’s not in his nature to care about the other person. After all, they are just another face to him, someone he can have sex with, and after that they have no other meaning – faces tend to blend in with this guy, and he hasn’t had a real relationship with a guy since.

Kyle tries to put his past of doing time in jail, drugs and fucking behind him and goes to Montana in search of a new life, and with it comes a new job where none of the workers there, or the boss will take his kind of attitude if he shows it, so once he’s talked to the boss, he finds he must change his attitude, and start as he means to go on.

It is Tad that is set to change his life, and he doesn’t know it until it hits him. Tad doesn’t take any of the trouble he brings to other guys, he makes sure Kyle knows where he stands with him, and as a reader you can’t blame him. He doesn’t like the way he sleeps with any guy he meets, and he thinks he won’t burden him with it either, and sets him straight on a number of things he thinks he might have trouble with if he’s around him for too long.

He thinks that other straight guys around might not accept a gay guy whoring around as he does. Then he kisses him. It’s so unexpected that it amazes even him. That Tad would shout at him, then kiss him is beyond him, but he accepts it and says he’ll be good. After that something strange happens; whereas before in bed at night when he sees the men he sleeps with, he doesn’t see their faces, when he romanticizes about Tad, he sees his face for the first time, and enjoys the experience. Here is a guy who won’t back down, who won’t take any bother from him – if anything it will be Kyle who submits to him and his needs.

Even when his interest has switched from Jason to Tad, he is still in denial, but what he doesn’t realize above all else is that he’s in love with him, the man who brings him to his knees, the man who makes him tremble when he comes near. There is a lovely end to this novella, and readers will enjoy the happy ending it brings after all Kyle has been through.

Rating: ★★★★½

Buy: Blank

Reviewed: Ridden Hard by Elizabeth Coldwell

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Actor Jamie Desmond gets some information on a new project he could be involved in, a movie called Grail. It is a loosely adapted script based on the popular Holy Grail story that involved King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table. He instantly likes the way it reads, and desperately wants to be a part of the making of it.

Jamie does something he’s been doing since he got into acting, though, he lies about his riding ability, and lands the job, but when it comes to showing his riding instructor how good he is in the saddle, he has to confess he can’t ride at all, and in doing so, he might lose the job.

He is good with a sword, though, and that catches the eye of the others working on the set. This story is more about Jamie and his riding instructor, Andrej, even though he spends the occasional bit of time with Fin, an old friend he had who goes way back – they have fun together, and the occasional fuck, but their relationship is nothing more than that.

With Andrej there is a certain chemistry Jamie finds highly attractive as it pulls him closer to him. The fact he lied to him about his riding ability doesn’t bother him, in fact it entices him to want to get to know him more – and for the reader that is the sexiest part. The wanting, the needing to be with someone like Jamie, but there is a catch – Andrej tells him to come to his place later and he offers to tutor him in the art of riding – but does he want to teach him other things too?

Exciting excerpts from this novel can entice and inspire readers:

Why did my mind flash to thoughts of Andrej brandishing a riding crop as I grovelled at his feet, promising to do as he wished? I wasn’t into any of that kinky master and slave punishment stuff – at least, I didn’t think I was, but the image of Andrej towering over me, powerful and dominant, wouldn’t go away.

Andrej is the totally dominant instructor, and Jamie is the pupil, yet this is more of a master and servant relationship at first, as the situation Jamie gets into at first veers from it being only about the work he does for the movie, into Andrej’s eventual domination of him. And it is a domination that delves into sexual territory with Andrej teasing him and making him want his touch more and more.

He strode over to me. ‘I told you that you have much to learn. Not all of it is to do with riding a horse. Much of it concerns how to show due respect to the man who instructs you. I look at you and I see a boy who thinks he has it all. The acting ability, the body, the cock…’ As he spoke, his cool fingers closed around my shaft. I stifled a groan, excitement pulsing through me at his touch.

Readers are set to enjoy the overall story as the erotic elements are slowly introduced into the novel by way of Andrej. He has a subtle way of making Jamie feel at ease around him, but that is only his bedside manner – he finds out what Andrej is really like once he submits to him, and that is when the story really starts, and he begins to appreciate what Andrej is trying to do for him.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Ridden Hard

Review: Regency Nights by Kitti Bernetti

Reviewed by Sandra Scholes

Two men, one woman – no breaks for the guys who want to get it on!

This novel takes after Pride and Prejudice as it is set in Regency London with Cavendish De Courcy, a single man from a family who are in want of funds, and need to marry him off to the nearest heiress in order to save them from their fate. Cavendish is not happy to help them in their search for wealth – but he knows he has to make sure he gives them what they want. The fact is, Cavendish has already found a life mate, and one he doesn’t want to be taken away from, and it is a secret he knows his parents must never know of. He met him at around about the same time he is to be married, and that in itself creates a problem.

Nathaniel could be the answer to his non existent gay sex life, and being married off to some over pampered puss can only send shivers down his spine. He has to go through with it even if he doesn’t want to as everyone knows that in Regency London being gay was an offence in those days. Even so, it doesn’t mean that Nathaniel need leave his side; it just makes it more difficult for him to conduct his gay affair while trying to keep his new wife happy.

Nathaniel is the son of the local pastor of the district, and he is studying music to while away his hours. This both amuses and amazes Cavendish who never knew he had such a religious background.

His father has chosen Arabella, his wife for him, and considers her excellent childbearing stock, but as usual; doesn’t take his feelings into account. Cavendish thinks he might have to tell Nathaniel to leave his side, but doesn’t want to have to make that decision, and instead has to weigh up his happiness over that of his family.

I find that cover art is well worth taking into consideration when wanting to read novels – even though they aren’t always indicative of a good book. This novel’s cover model is a handsome chap with full lips readers will want to kiss more times than Cavendish will. As a cover it will make it a best seller.

At the beginning, Cavendish’s encounter with the life model in an artist’s studio gives him pause for thought as he is to be married off to a girl, a girl he has no interest in – he likes men, young men who fuel his sexual fire, and make him as wanton as he needs to be.

There are some excellent moments in this novel, and even at 72 pages it manages to cram in some beautiful sensual scenes where the two of them enjoy their brief moments together out of the sight of Cavendish’s new wife:

Cavendish lay as motionless as a sleeping lion; he suppressed the groan of longing which rumbled in his throat. He couldn’t possibly betray the hunger that seared his body, the need to be touched still further, the desire to have not just a damp flannel, but Nathaniel’s delicate fingers probe his tingling flesh.

When Cavendish brings Nathaniel into their home, he tries not to cause all kinds of problems, and instead has him produce artworks for the family as a cover for their affair He gets the impression that while Nathaniel is there, his wife is aware of the feeling he has for him, and makes it hard for the two of them to be together when she is around:

For over two weeks, Nathaniel played the part of the dutiful artist producing delightful sketches and studies for the commissioned works. Cavendish itched to be alone with him, but Arabella guarded her husband jealously as if she could sense the bond that existed between the two men and was determined not to allow it, or Nathaniel to replace her in Cavendish’s affections. Maddening frustration began to build in her husband. He could not perform his marital duties to her, and he could get no relief from Nathaniel for Arabella stuck to him like a newly born foal sticks to its parent.

Kitti knows how to pen a full bodied book like a fine wine, and in this case, she has managed it. Regency Nights is just that, it fills the senses with its excellent prose, sensual, and highly erotic sexual scenes between Cavendish and Nathaniel. Nathaniel serves to be the one who tries to take his mind off of his duty to his new wife, and all the other duties for her he has yet to do, like having her bear his children.

Readers will notice all too soon that he is more interested in Nathaniel than a woman. He finds he can be the man he wanted to be around him. There is no pressure to be the man his father desired – he can be his own man and not feel as though he is being so wanton and immoral about it. What he does with Nathaniel can only be described as wanton and immoral by others who find out about their tryst. It doesn’t matter what others think of them. Cavendish is in love, and with him all his desires are fulfilled.

I enjoyed that there is a solution to Cavendish and Nathaniel’s problem, and it is one that many would not have thought of, but which will make the reader smile.

Rating: ★★★★★

Buy: Regency Nights