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Archive for June, 2012

Title: Bookended
Author: Heidi Belleau
Length: 32 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Genre: m/m/m contemporary romance
Rating: B-

Blurb:
Ad exec Fletcher Williams has the ideal personal assistant. Julian is hardworking, totally in tune with his boss’s needs, capable of enviable attention to detail… and completely willing to apply all those skills to their mutually gratifying sexual relationship. Fletcher doesn’t realize the extent to which he’s wrapped around Julian’s finger—until Julian invites Ogden, a bi-curious young artist they meet in a bookshop, to come home with them. After adding Ogden to their sex life, will Fletcher and Julian be able to return to business as usual?

Review:
On the face of it, this story seems like a plain old piece of menage erotica. A hot and steamy sex scene between an established couple and a guy they pick up at a book shop. Well, yes, it is that but I was far more interested in the way that the author shows the relationship dynamics between Julian and Fletcher.

The story begins with a couple at a bookshop. We are told that they are lovers but also that Fletcher is older and Julian’s boss. You would expect then that Fetcher would be the more dominant of the couple and he is, sort of. It’s not long before we are shown how much Julian is actually in charge of the relationship, and how much Fletcher defers to his younger lover. This was done in a subtle fashion – the shared glances, the way that Julian manipulates the situation so that they get to take Ogden home. Julian is the one who notices the covert glances that Ogden is sending their way, the one who takes the initiative and calls him over. For me this was what set this story above mere erotica. I love stories which deal with relationship dynamics and the ebb and flow of desire within that. This story did not disappoint in that regard.

I also liked how the dynamics in the sex scene worked almost at a counterpoint to the emotional dynamics. Fletcher is more dominant in the sex scene, although still driven by Julian’s desires. The sex, as you may expect, is pretty hot, but I did feel that Ogden was second fiddle. When the scene was over I got the impression that he’d been used by Julian, and despite the fact he’d obviously had a good time with the couple, it still left a slightly sour note. Perhaps if I’d had some of the scene from Ogden’s point of view then that might have helped. Instead he comes across as almost shadowy when next to the main couple.

That niggle wasn’t enough to put me off the story, which ends with a promise of more, rather than any definite happy ending. It would be interesting to see whether this author produces a longer work with these three men – or even just Julian and Fletcher. It’s not necessary to have more, but I would read it if another story came along.

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Heidi Belleau was born and raised in small town NB, Canada. She now lives in the rugged oil-patch frontier of Northern BC with her husband, an Irish ex-pat whose long work hours in the trades leave her plenty of quiet time to write. She has a degree in History from Simon Fraser University with a concentration in British and Irish studies; much of her work centred on popular culture, oral folklore, and sexuality, but she was known to perplex her professors with unironic papers on the historical roots of modern romance novel tropes. (Ask her about Highlanders!) When not writing, you might catch her trying to explain British television to her newborn daughter or standing in line at the local coffee shop, waiting on her caramel macchiato.

Welcome to the blog Heidi. They have coffee shops in the hinterland? LOL I kid, I kid. On with the questions. 

1. If someone was coming to the Canada on vacation, tell them one place they MUST visit (can be as large as the Rocky Mountains, or as specific as a unique museum)?

Elk that wander through the campground to visit the tourists in Jasper.

You’ve gotta drive through the Rockies! I’ve gone through many times on my way to and from Vancouver or visiting my grandparents in the Okanagan, and it’s always a beautiful, scenic trip, with lots of wildlife and breathtaking mountains. I’d really like to go through sometime and take a night in a cabin or campground in Jasper, which is a beautiful little town right smack in the middle. Just stunning!

2. Can you ice skate? Do you understand the rules of hockey and have a favourite team? (please don’t be the Maple Leafs)

Yes, I can, but not terribly well! I have a hockey player cousin who used to love skating circles around me. Basically, my skills are limited to: moving forward at a leisurely pace, and coasting to a stop by skating in slow circles. As for hockey, it remains a mystery to me. And when it comes to team allegiances, my father’s a Leafs fan, my grandfather’s a Canucks fan, my brother’s a Flames fan, my roommates an Oilers fan, and being in the middle of all that I try not to pick sides!

3. Do you think there is a quintessential Canadian food? What would you serve guests who demand some real Canadian food?

My mother’s split pea soup. I’m French Canadian (thus, Belleau!), and there’s really nothing quite so hearty and comforting and full of love.

4. How many provinces/territories have you visited? Have you ever been to the arctic?

I live in BC and was born in New Brunswick, and we drove from there to here. So I’ve been to New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI (where I took summer vacations as a kid), Quebec, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC. On our trip we skipped Manitoba by driving through the States for a bit, and Newfoundland was out of the way, so we didn’t get to either of those, or any of the territories. HOWEVER! I really want to take a vacation to Newfoundland (HAVE YOU SEEN THEIR TOURISM COMMERCIALS? OMG so beautiful and I must go there!), and I live in the sub-arctic (get a Northern living allowance and everything!) So yeah. I am a pretty well-travelled Canuck!

5. What was your first published story?

The Saturnalia Effect, which was published by Storm Moon Press last year for their line of Christmas stories. It’s a Christmas-in-prison story with a sizzling D/s relationship between inmates and a paranormal twist, and what’s more, it’s getting an awesome extended re-release this December complete with all-new content, so keep an eye out!

6. Have you ever written a story set in Canada? Which one?

Technically Bookended is set in Canada, but because it’s such a contained story, you don’t really get a sense of its Canadian…ness. I’ve also trunked (but may eventually revive!) a story about rig workers in Northern Alberta, because I think exploring homosexuality in that hyper-macho context should be really interesting and fun. Also, it’s my home turf! (Sort of!)

They were so cute, shame about the break-up.

7. Who is your favourite Canadian actor or actress?

Actor? Ryan Reynolds, who is a bucket of smarmy charm and uh… abs. Actress? Rachel McAdams, who seems to sparkle on screen and plays one hell of a romantic lead, even in movies that otherwise kinda suck (Time Traveller’s Wife, I’m looking at you!)

8. Who is your favourite Canadian musical artist?

Mother Mother! They’re an awesome Indie Rock band from Vancouver and I loooove them.

9. If you could be a Canadian animal shifter, what would you be?

Um…? I guess a raven? Oh but then I’d be eating road kill and garbage. Really I wouldn’t want to be any kind of animal. I hate the wilderness in general, and I like my house cats, but that’s about my limit on the animals front.

10. Winter – yay or nay? Discuss. 🙂

NAYYY. People who say “yay” to winter are people who have never had the profound joy of a place where it is winter for 8 months straight, it snows in June, and -50 is a regular occurrence. NAY. NAAYYYYY.

11. What’s the best thing about being Canadian?

Living in a country with so many social liberties and that values things like universal healthcare. Living in a country where a man like Jack Layton achieved the success that he did, even if he was taken from us too early. :waves tiny socialist flag:

Jack Layton 1950-2011 – Leader of the Opposition (NDP)

Thanks so much for joining us Heidi. You can find Heidi on the web at any of the links below. 

HeidiBelleau.com | Facebook | Twitter | Blog | Goodreads | Tumblr

New Release Mailing List for Heidi and Violetta Vane (new releases only)

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Title: The Beach House
Author: Elizabeth Lister
Length: 4,051 words (14 pdf pages)
Publisher: Goodreads m/m group*
Genre: m/m/m contemporary
Rating: B

Blurb:

Eighteen year old Marco has been crushing on Darrin all through their last year of high school. He thinks perhaps his chance has come when Darrin invites him to come swimming after a soccer game although he’s disappointed when it appears Sam is coming too. He’s shocked when he realizes that Sam and Darrin are more than just buddies and figures once again he’s the third wheel, however it seems Darrin and Sam have other plans for Marco at their “beach house”.

Review:

This little short is told from Marco’s point of view. He’s been crushing on Darrin who is a year older than all of the other kids for some time. The only reason he’s playing soccer is because Darrin asked him to. He thinks he possibly has a chance with Darrin when he invites him to go swimming but is disappointed when Sam joins them. He’s never paid much attention to Sam, even though he admits Sam is more his type, but as a typical teen he’s obsesses with Darrin. He feels a bit awkward with both boys who are obviously good friends and know each other well, and when they kiss in front of him he’s shocked, turned on, and depressed that he truly is the third wheel and has no chance with Darrin if he’s hooked up with Sam.

The surprise comes when they invite Marco to their “beach house” which is an old abandoned shack the boys have fixed up as a place to hang out and have sex. Marco’s stunned, but not going to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime. However after the fun is over, he realizes he needs to reassess his feelings both boys. This story is hot and sexy and none of the boys are naive or innocent. There is a tiny edge of D/s to the story, but the best part was the bit of twist with the relationship development.

I’m not going to spoil the ending (I hope) because I was surprised, but I’ll say I would love to see a follow-up to this story. They are boys, they are young, and I think the characterization was well done, although the kids I see at my daughter’s school swear WAY more than these guys. LOL They’d all make good sailors. I liked Marco a great deal, he’s got a bit of a self-deprecating humour, he takes his unrequited crush on Darrin in stride, trying to cope with an erection while playing sports and even when he thinks Darrin and Marco are a couple, he takes it with a bit of a sigh and a shrug and a “just my luck” attitude. You don’t get to know much about the other boys as it’s Marco’s story, but you get enough, little tidbits that give you a glimpse of their personalities and emotions.

But without ruining it, if you like stories with young characters who don’t act 30, and with some sexy three-way action, I think it’s a great choice.

*This is a free story available at Goodreads

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I live in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada with my husband and two children. I have a BA in Psychology and a certificate in Dramatic Scriptwriting. I very much enjoy writing erotic fiction and exploring the vast arena of sexuality and relationships.

Welcome to the blog, someone from my hometown (we really must have coffee some day), Elizabeth Lister and it’s a special day for Elizabeth, it’s her birthday!!!! So happy birthday Elizabeth, I hope you have a most wonderful day. On with the questions.

Fort Point Lighthouse

1. If someone was coming to the Canada on vacation, tell them one place they MUST visit (can be as large as the Rocky Mountains, or as specific as a unique museum)?  

Liverpool, Nova Scotia.

2. Can you ice skate? Do you understand the rules of hockey and have a favourite team? (please don’t be the Maple Leafs)

I do skate but not well anymore.  I am teaching my kids to skate.  I understand the rules of hockey at a very basic level.  I only ever watch during the playoffs, and not all the time.  I don’t have a favourite team.

3. Do you think there is a quintessential Canadian food? What would you serve guests who demand some real Canadian food?

The only thing I can think of is pancakes with maple syrup.  Or sugar pie from Quebec.

4. How many provinces/territories have you visited? Have you ever been to the arctic?

I have only visited Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, PEI and Nova Scotia.  I’ve never been to the Arctic.  I would love to visit Alberta and B.C. someday.

5. What was your first published story?

Exposure.

6. Have you ever written a story set in Canada? Which one?

Both of my stories, Exposure and The Crush, were set here in Ottawa.

7. Who is your favourite Canadian actor or actress?  Not sure.

I get mixed up about who is Canadian and who is American.  Since the Canadian’s always seem to end up becoming Americans.

8. Who is your favourite Canadian musical artist?

Rufus Wainright, absolutely.

9. If you could be a Canadian animal shifter, what would you be?

A timber wolf.

10. Winter – yay or nay? Discuss. 🙂

I LOVE winter.  I love cozying up in my little house in the evenings with the fireplace on (it’s electric) and the candles lit.  I usually go to bed around 9-9:30pm (I’m a morning person) so winter is the only time I get to enjoy candlelight after dark.  In the summer it gets dark just before I hit the hay.  And then there are those beautiful sunny winter days, with the snow sparkling and the sky so blue in contrast.  And I love going for a walk when the snow is

falling, and everything seems so quiet and peaceful, like there’s a big cushion over everything.  The summers in Ottawa get very hot and humid and I DO NOT like that at all.  I actually prefer winter to summer.

11. What’s the best thing about being Canadian?

Paid health care.  Didn’t even have to think about that one.  I cannot imagine living in a country that doesn’t have it.  And the fact that there isn’t really a ‘gun culture’ so to speak.  It’s much more difficult to get a gun here and I’m thankful for that.  When I heard that Walmart sells bullets in the United States I couldn’t believe it.  Still can’t.

Thanks Elizabeth, and really, we must do coffee, but not in winter. 😉 You can visit Elizabeth around the net at:

http://www.elizabethlister.ca/
http://moderneroticromance.blogspot.com/
http://www.facebook.com/ModernEroticRomance
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1665545.Elizabeth_Lister

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Title: 9:05
Author: K.C. Burn
Length: 15 pages
Publisher: Free Story at Cup O’ Porn blog
Genre: m/m contemporary fantasy romance
Rating: B

Blurb:
When time stands still for everyone except Scott Taylor, can he step up and break the spell for his sleeping beauty, Devlin Moreau?

Review:
This is an interesting idea for a story. We begin with Scott who has been stuck outside time for two weeks. The clock says 9:05am and his co-workers are frozen in the positions they were in when time stopped, but Scott is free to roam. He spends a lot of time hanging about near Devlin’s cubicle, looking longingly at him and wishing he’d had the opportunity to speak to him before he was stuck in time.

What I liked about this story was the concept itself, with all the little details about how Scott survives in his office whilst everyone else is stuck. There was enough in terms of his daily routine, and how he copes without going completely crazy, to keep my interest and give me a whole load of sympathy for Scott. It was a cute idea to have him as a shy man who finds that being on his own forces him to interact with his co-workers in a way that he never would have done otherwise, and I loved how this part played out towards the end. I also liked the cheeky sleeping beauty reference as the story draws to a conclusion.

My only niggle was that I wished there had been some sort of explanation as to why Scott was outside of time in the first place, but there isn’t. That was too serious a niggle though and it didn’t spoil my enjoyment of the story.

Overall, this was a clever little idea with a nicely written, shy hero – a winner for me, a slightly claustrophobic setting and an ending that left me smiling. I’d recommend it to those with a spare few minutes, plus it’s free so that’s always a bonus!

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Welcome KC Burn who tell us a little about herself. 

I’ve been writing for what feels like my whole life. I’m a sucker for a happy ending (get your mind out of the gutters!) so it’s been romance almost all the way. Recently moved from Canada to Florida with my husband and cats, and shortly thereafter discovered a love of writing gay romance – the hotter the better. Who knew?

Writing is always fun, despite the hard work, but writing about my guys is more fun than I’ve had in a long time. Love between consenting adults is a beautiful thing, and should be celebrated, regardless of sexual orientation.

On with the questions. 🙂

1. If someone was coming to the Canada on vacation, tell them one place they MUST visit (can be as large as the Rocky Mountains, or as specific as a unique museum)?

Huh, tough call.  I lived in Toronto most of my life, and think it’s a world class city worth visiting.  Restaurants, theatres, shopping, clubs, historical sites (including one of my favourites, Casa Loma, which is a small castle sitting in the middle of downtown) – Toronto’s got it all.  But, I also really like Banff in Alberta, and Stanley Park in British Columbia.

2. Can you ice skate? Do you understand the rules of hockey and have a favourite team? (please don’t be the Maple Leafs)

I can ice skate — badly — and I mostly understand the rules of hockey (although the icing rule still confuses me).  The Leafs are ostensibly my team, but my hubby is from Detroit and he feels *much* more strongly about it, so we’re mostly a Red Wings family.

3. Do you think there is a quintessential Canadian food? What would you serve guests who demand some real Canadian food? 

Uh… not really?  There’s definitely a few French Canadian dishes, like poutine and tourtiere (a pork-based meat pie), but I despise tourtiere (have called it torture pie for a long time) and feeding someone nothing but fries with cheese & gravy seems a little rude, doesn’t it?  For dessert, I could offer up butter tarts (mini pecan pies without the pecans) and nanaimo bars (for lack of a better description, three layer brownies with coconut… the little known native Canadian coconut *wink*).

4. How many provinces/territories have you visited? Have you ever been to the arctic? 

I’ve visited 4 provinces and 1 territory.  I lived in Ontario most of my life, and visited Quebec, Alberta & British Columbia.  The territory – which covers the second question – yes, I’ve been to the arctic, I visited during high school.  We did a week-long exchange with an Inuit school, so I spent a week in the arctic learning how to build igloos, preparing hides, as well as experiencing some of the culture and history of the region and eating caribou.  At the time, there were only two territories, and I was in the Northwest Territories, but now the location would be in Nunavut.

5. What was your first published story?

My first published story was MIA Case Files: Wolfsbane, through Loose Id in 2010.

6. Have you ever written a story set in Canada? Which one?

I have written three stories that are specifically set in Canada: Trompe L’oeil, Cop Out and First Time, Forever.

7. Who is your favourite Canadian actor or actress?

Tough, very tough.  Probably I’d have to say Nathan Fillion or Ryan Reynolds although I do adore Dave Foley.

8. Who is your favourite Canadian musical artist? 

Ugh, this one’s even harder!  I listen to a lot of Canadian music, which I think most of us do because of the Canadian Content (CanCon) laws for broadcasting in Canada.  My favourites are Skinny Puppy, Sum 41, Treble Charger, and The Forgotten Rebels. I also have a completely embarrassing Canadian guilty pleasure – Platinum Blonde.  If anyone’s interested, this is a link to one of my favourite songs and videos by them.  You can see by the hair and the clothes why I should hide my face in shame, but I still LOOOVE the guyliner.  Oh well…

9. If you could be a Canadian animal shifter, what would you be? 

Probably a grizzly bear.  No one tells them their butt is too big 😉

10. Winter – yay or nay? Discuss. 🙂

Yay, absolutely!  I love the cold and snow (which makes it doubly crazy that I ended up moving to Florida).  I never owned a winter coat, and I’ve worn sandals in the snow.  Love the cold, find the heat obnoxious.  My theory is that you can pile on more layers if you’re cold, but you can only strip so much off before you hit skin if you’re too hot.

11. What’s the best thing about being Canadian?

There are a lot of things I love about being Canadian, but the fact that Canada has made great strides in providing equality for all is of huge importance to me.

Thanks for joining us KC. You can find KC on the web at the her blog or on Twitter at the addresses below. 

Find KC on the web (www.kcburn.com) or twitter (@authorkcburn),

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Pender Mackie lives in Canada though she spent her childhood years in England.

An imaginative child, Pender wasn’t a willing student. Her father — deciding some incentive was needed — promised her a pony as soon as she could read. Properly motivated, Pender picked up a book and discovered the joys of fiction. Though her infatuation with ponies didn’t last, she still loves a good story.

A technical writer for almost twenty years, Pender spends her daily commute making up characters, romantic plots, and daydreaming.

Welcome to the blog Pender. On with the questions.

1. If someone was coming to the Canada on vacation, tell them one place they MUST visit (can be as large as the Rocky Mountains, or as specific as a unique museum)?

Off the top of my head, I’d have to say Banff, Alberta. It’s got everything; the Rocky Mountains, emerald green glacial lakes, the beautiful old Banff Springs Hotel, wildlife, you name it. Banff National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

2. Can you ice skate? Do you understand the rules of hockey and have a favourite team? (please don’t be the Maple Leafs)

Technically I can skate but I can’t stop too well. My family is crazy for hockey and our town has a local team that did really well last year. It took me a while, but I finally understand the offside rule. Since I live in BC, I have to say the Canucks are my favourite hockey team, though we’ve had some disappointments. I try not to get too invested in them.

3. Do you think there is a quintessential Canadian food? What would you serve guests who demand some real Canadian food? 

Maple syrup. I’ve actually been to the sugar bush and seen them tap the trees. Most people eat maple syrup on pancakes, but I’ve had it served up with sweet potato fries. It’s pretty good that way. Poutine’s great too. What’s not to love about French fries, cheese curds and gravy?

4. How many provinces/territories have you visited? Have you ever been to the arctic? 

Four I think: Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. I never been to the Arctic but I’ve always wanted to go to the Yukon. Maybe go dog sledding.

5. What was your first published story?

Scent of Attraction, which came out in April last year. It’s about Shawn, a very shy man who works at a cologne counter. He’s attracted to one of his customers. I’m a bit of an introvert myself so it was easy to put myself in poor Shawn’s shoes.

6. Have you ever written a story set in Canada? Which one?

I’ve got a couple of works in progress that are both set in Vancouver though I’m currently working on a story set in Las Vegas.

7. Who is your favourite Canadian actor or actress?

Probably William Shatner. He cracks me up.

8. Who is your favourite Canadian musical artist? 

It’s hard to name just one. I prefer indie bands over pop stars. A few of my favourite Canadian bands are Metric, The Stars, Said the Whale and Broken Social Scene.

9. If you could be a Canadian animal shifter, what would you be? 

Hmm. If I’m limited to Canadian animals there’s not as much choice. I’m a bit like a Wolverine before I get my morning coffee, but I’d rather be a Bobcat. They have awesome vision and hearing, can climb trees (something I’m no longer very good at) and can run up to 50 kph. (That’s 30 mph for our Imperial friends.)

10. Winter – yay or nay? Discuss. 🙂

Um, yay. I live in the Southern Interior of BC, which is actually semi-arid. Winters are usually mild and dry but if I want to frolic in the snow, I can pop up to one of the nearby ski hills. I did live in Ontario for a number of years, but the snowy winter was just too long.

11. What’s the best thing about being Canadian?

There’s a lot of great things about being Canadian: our multiculturalism, geographic diversity, hockey. But one of the best is the legal rights of LGBT Canadians. Canada has anti-discrimination laws in place, same-sex marriage and adoption and gays have been serving openly in the military since 1982. That makes me proud to be a Canadian.

Thanks so much for joining us Pender. I agree, Canada’s not perfect but our position on equal rights for all is something to be proud of.  You can find Pender on the web at the following locations:

Blog: http://pendermackie.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pender-Mackie-Author/164033403655486
Twitter: @pendermackie
Email: pendermackie@yahoo.com

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