Steamed Up: a Multi-Authored Anthology


Title: Steamed Up Anthology
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages: 348
Characters: Multi-Characters
POV: 1st, 3rd
Sub-Genre: Steampunk
Kisses: 5


Blurb:

Inventors, pilots, tinkers, and soldiers; magical metals to replace an aging heart or a ruined limb; steam-powered fantasy worlds of clockwork nightingales, automatons, dirigibles, and men. The stories in this anthology visit diverse times in the history of modern man, and the men who populate these tales face war and cruelty, masters and autocrats, illness and poverty and greed. Yet the heat of romance outmatches even the steam engines, and time and again, the gears of love rule the day.

Stories included:
Five to One by Angelia Sparrow
The Clockwork Nightingale’s Song by Amy Rae Durreson
Ace of Hearts by Mary Pletsch
Caress by Eli Easton
The Galatea’s Captain by Anka Grace
Screws by R.D. Hero
The Clockwork Heart by Kim Fielding
The Golden Goose by Mark Lesney
Spindle and Bell by Augusta Li
Untouchable by Layla M. Wier
Swiftsilver by Bell Ellis

Review:

Five to One by Angelia Sparrow

Jonathan Crawford works two jobs to support his best friend, Declan Ferguson, hoping Declan’s inventions will someday make them rich. When Jonathan brings home news of a transcontinental human-powered vehicle race with a million dollar purse, dreams of wealth dance in their heads and they plan to enter a racer built by Declan. Although they’ve shared a room for years, building the racer together gives Jonathan a chance to realize he loves Declan as more than a friend, and Declan loves him back. To make the rest of their dreams come true, they only need to win the race.

This was a beautiful and sexy friends-to-lovers story about two young men, Jonny and Dee, who are poor but dream big. It’s easy to relate to their wish to better themselves and their quality of their lives. A lovely story with a positive message and a good start to the anthology, offering a warm feeling, a rush of excitement in the race, and leaving us with a smile. 5 Stars.

The Clockwork Nightingale’s Song by Amy Rae Durreson

When one of the mechanical nightingales at the Vauxhall Flying Pleasure Gardens refuses to sing, senior mechanic Shem Holloway has to call in the help of its inventor, the arrogant aristocrat, Lord Gabriel Marchmont. The nightingale is lovelorn because of its attachment to a real bird, and while the two men work together to mend the brass bird’s heart, their feelings for each other grow warm. But if they are to move beyond attraction, Shem must overcome his distrust of the upper class and decide whether to risk his own heart on Gabriel.

A working class mechanic, Shem, meets aristocratic, eccentric inventor, Marchmont. Though worlds apart, they find a balance to fix the problem of a broken nightingale on a flying island park. This was a bittersweet story that brought tears in my eyes and a goofy smile on my lips. And the added tale about the bird was absolutely adorable. Loved it. 5+ Stars.

Ace of Hearts by Mary Pletsch

All Aeroplane Mechanic First Class William Pettigrew ever wanted was to fly, but due to an old eye injury, he can only maintain the aircraft and fantasize about the pilots. When Captain James Hinson, war hero and dirigible flying ace, joins the squadron, William catches his eye. But William lacks the confidence to see James’s overtures as anything but friendly interest in his innovations. Then James is shot down over enemy territory, and for William that changes everything. The time has come for him to choose: believe in himself and fly or lose forever the man whose heart he hopes to win.

This one is a love at first sight story—with very little romance. In fact, this reads like a wartime adventure where a captured friend is being rescued from behind enemy lines. I really would have hoped for more interaction between William and James to justify the strength of William’s emotions which leads to reckless behavior. As an action story, however, this was pretty good. 4- stars.

Caress by Eli Easton

During the Crimean war, Colin Davies, a cavalry officer, loses both hands in a grenade blast. A brilliant machinist named Tinker Gray fashions Colin a new pair of hands—strong and capable, but delicate enough to caress. The two first bond over similar views on the war, but when Colin tests the hands, he realizes Tinker loves him. Too soon, Colin is sent back to the front, having been deemed able to fight because of his fine new hands. They’ve had but one kiss, yet love might see them through if they fix their hopes on being together again when the bloodshed is over.

This short story reads like a full-blown novel. The emotions are so close to the surface, the heartbreak of being separated from the love of your life, the horrors of war and weapons tech. Tinker is such a wonderful character that I can see why Colin falls for him. But Colin is being outfitted with killing mechanical hands—a man who hates and fears killing. So Tinker teaches Colin’s hands to caress to give him a reason to live. Simultaneously Tinker’s own mechanical heart learns to love. Gosh, this was such a tearjerker, a perfectly beautiful love story, fragile and tender, a light of life in the midst of the darkness of war. 5+ stars.

The Galatea’s Captain by Anka Grace

When philosopher Kamil Ramses learns the plight of the poor in Camlaan, he offers guidance to its queen. But en route to meet her, his foot becomes gangrenous and must be amputated. Talos is captain of the airship Galatea as well as a brilliant tinker, a far cry from his impoverished childhood. He is summoned to fashion Kamil’s new foot, and Kamil’s distrust is quickly overcome when he sees the fine quality of the captain’s own prosthetic arm. But Talos has only two weeks to make Kamil’s prosthesis. If that’s enough time for Talos to overcome his own prejudices against Kamil’s privileged past, romance might blossom.

A dedicated inventor, who also happens to be a former air pirate, meets an aristocrat who needs a new mechanical foot to replace the one he lost. Both men are surprised with who they meet, demonstrating the theme here: Never judge a book by its cover. Talos, the fair captain, and Kamil, the foreigner in pain, are an unlikely pairing, but they pull it off. A wonderful start for a romance in the air. 4.5 stars.

Screws by R.D. Hero

Spoiled upper-class student Julius Barnes wants to be an inventor, but his father sends him to work in a screw factory to change his perspective. Julius doesn’t exactly charm his co-workers with his condescending attitude, but he is himself charmed by Hank Hooley, a fellow worker whose experience and patience help Julius see things in a new light. But when Julius’s father gives him the go ahead to attend the inventor’s academy, Julius may have to choose between his dreams and love.

Julius frowns upon having to put his dreams on hold to work manual labor, at a screw factory no less. But the rough workman Hank catches his eye, and suddenly dreams are in for a change. This meeting of two very different men is refreshing but not necessarily an all-out romance. Julius falls harder than Hank, or at least it seems that way at first. But the promise of a future together looms ahead, and we’re left with a good outlook for things to come. 4.25 stars.

The Clockwork Heart by Kim Fielding

Dante Winter makes a living repairing broken things. Socially awkward and rejected by his father over his too-fanciful work, he’s alone in the world. Dante’s life changes when he finds a badly damaged male golem, a lifelike automaton created for service and pleasure. He does his best to fix the golem, whom he names Talon, and comes to find that the creature is very human—perhaps more human than Dante. But when Talon tempts him with something more than friendship, Dante must decide whether a clockwork heart is capable of love.

This one was an absolute tearjerker. Dante seems callous at first but, as the title suggests, even hard hearts can learn to love. Talon is a wonderful character, probably the bubbliest and chattiest artificial life form I’ve ever read about. Absolutely adored him, and hated how hard his life had been, how he’d been used as a sex slave and then dismantled and left in the trash, unable to get away or die. Horrible. The relationship between Dante and Talon was a fascinating read, a wonderful, heart-warming romance. 5 stars.

The Golden Goose by Mark Lesney

Fleeing a failed robbery, a usually-successful thief in late Victorian London saves the handsome Viscount Gordon Philip Dennis from an attack by his assistant. The thief’s motives aren’t altruistic—he wants the riches that might line his pockets if the viscount’s gold collecting machine really works. But the assistant who attacked the peer isn’t who he seems; his employers are bent on making the freethinking viscount’s invention fail. When another attack is mounted, it becomes clear the ruffians are backed by British bankers. Amidst danger and despite differences, the thief and the viscount fall in love. To survive and be together they must face the dangers and attempt a truly daring escape.

I didn’t really feel the romance here. In fact, I didn’t feel much of an attraction either. There was a lot of long inner musings for such a short story, things that could have been worked into dialogue. Nonetheless, the beginning of this story was by far the funniest in the whole anthology. Loved it! And there’s a bit more action in this story than in the others, and with a dedicated bad guy to give our mad inventor heroes trouble. 4- stars.

Spindle and Bell by Augusta Li

Spindle steals to pay his benefactor for his drug-laced “special milk.” He’s addicted and lonely—though he doesn’t realize how alone he is until he meets Bel. Bel is near death from a plague that has all of London terrified, but he dreams of having a chance to be seen as a man again, and to see again the wonders of the city he loves. And maybe, if Bel can have a night of love with Spindle, they can both find the freedom and strength they need the most.

If the other stories were tearjerkers, this is the mother of those. A beautiful, bittersweet tale about a thief boy with an opium addiction and an aristocratic inventor with a deadly illness. A sort of happy ending is in store—but only for one. An amazing story, though a bit light on the steampunk aspects. Yet I didn’t care because of the sheer devastating emotional turmoil of this love story. 5 stars.

Untouchable by Layla M. Wier

Prohibition agent Agamemnon Rawson is a loose cannon with a clockwork heart and a reputation for catching his quarry by any means. His new partner, by-the-book Agent George Aldis, is supposed to keep him out of trouble. As the two face danger together while investigating Capone’s bootleg whisky operation, Rawson begins to realize his clockwork heart is not as untouchable as he claims.

Prohibition in the Americas—but with a very different kind of technological development. Intriguing. Aldis is new to the job while Rawson, with his clockwork heart, has done the job for a long time. An action story of finding and taking down bad guys, smuggling booze in blimps, was a good one. The romance is subtle and sweet, regardless of the age difference. 4.25 stars.

Swiftsilver by Bell Ellis

Thio is the next Baron Tenet of Lessings and a self-styled genius inventor, but he sometimes invents flying machines that don’t fly. When Thio crashes his aircar into the alchemist’s shop, he meets Seamus, the alchemist’s abused apprentice. Seamus has invented swiftsilver, a marvelous substance, and while he takes care of Thio’s injuries, they begin a friendship and start inventing things together. Seamus’s master tries to end their relationship, but Thio remains undaunted. He rescues Seamus and takes him to his estate, where they experiment with swiftsilver, flying machines, and romance. Life brings a storm of responsibilities and obstacles, but love might flourish if they can remain devoted and determined no matter where the wind takes them.

The anthology ends on a positive note and with another story that reads like a bigger novel. Seamus is an alchemist-in-training for a monstrous boss when Thio, an enthusiastic inventor, literally crashlands on his doorstep. Thio is overzealous with insane ideas as he learns through mistakes and errors, usually explosive. Seamus becomes his perfect partner, stabilizing and calming, thoughtful and rational. Their romance is absolutely beautiful, first-time discoveries of sensuality and love. The message here is life-affirming and I was so pleased the two men could fly together in the end, having already helped make the world a better place. A great conclusion to the anthology. 5+ stars.

Reviewed By: Susan

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Like It or Not by Angelia Sparrow, Naomi Brooks, Sean Michael, Gryvon, Stella Harris, TC Mill, Heidi Belleau and Violetta Vane


Title: Like It Or Not
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 161
Characters: Multi-Characters
Sub-Genre: Contemporary, Paranormal, Fantasy, BDSM, Erotic Romance
Kisses: 4.5


Blurb: Be it forced seduction/dubious consent, non-violent intimidation, or pre-negotiated fantasy, there is something wickedly taboo about non-consensual sex, where consent is muddled. While rape is a crime of power, focusing on exerting physical control over another person, non-con is all about the gray area where verbal consent is either never given (not a ‘yes’, but not a ‘no’ either) or doesn’t match the arousal and passion both parties share during the act. In Like It or Not, we push the boundaries of consent without fully breaking them.

When Connor’s rent money is due and not even hooking can make up the shortfall, he really is Out of Options. So when playboy Jarrett makes him a very generous offer, he doesn’t look too closely at the terms—and lives to regret it. Then, werewolf Trevor is subjected to Obedience Classes when his pack alpha becomes fed up with his rebellion. Dirk, the wolf charged with this task, though, seems more interested in claiming Trevor for himself, by any means necessary. Writer Ian Richards has to decide What It’s Worth to get his story when his contact meets him in a private club. In fact, Vincenzo has no intention of letting his information go easily, if at all.

In Blindside, freshman Matt is tired of enduring the hazing by (admittedly gorgeous) upperclassman Dylan, when Dylan ups the ante significantly. And as much as Matt wants Dylan, he can’t be sure the whole thing isn’t one more bizarre prank. Confessor Isak must resort to Unnatural Means when he is charged with the task of forcing Sain to confess his sins of murder and witchcraft before inevitable execution. Torturing in the name of the Divine is difficult enough, but when Sain’s seductive magic takes hold of him, he isn’t sure it will be Sain who breaks under pressure to find release. Finally, Salting the Earth becomes Ronan’s only choice when he suspects his sister has been taken by the fairies. However, this only draws the interest of ruthless King Finnbheara, who extracts a price for his cooperation that may be too high for Ronan to pay.

Review:

Out of Options by Angelia Sparrow & Naomi Brooks

Connor has no rent money, no real job, no family or friends to turn to. His only option is hitting the streets. His hook-up, Jarrett, seems like a nice guy, a great kisser and gentle to boot. Connor is left feeling good. When he’s low on money once more, he hooks up with Jarrett again, signing a contract for sex in return for money. When he wakes up the next morning, he’s trussed up good, with Jarrett going all out kinky.

From the get-go, this anthology is about forced seduction and non-consensual sex. This first story has that in spades. Tied up, ball-gagged, flogged. All well and good. Morning and evening beatings for no reason at all and not allowed any kind of safe words? Yeah, that threw me. This one leans heavily into sadism of the BDSM mix, so be forewarned. Worst of all, Jarrett gave the wrong impression of himself, seemingly on purpose, to Connor, luring him in and then holding him prisoner. Connor does have an answering quirk, so I suppose that makes up for violence present here. Personally, I wasn’t all that taken with this story.

Obedience Classes by Sean Michael

Trevor is a young werewolf pup who is now in college and is rebelling against the established, time-honored hierarchy of the pack. The alpha sends Dirk, a powerful werewolf, to teach the wayward puppy how to behave. From a little stalking to outright rattling of Trevor’s chain, Dirk knows all the ways to make the young man submit.

I adored this story. Trevor and Dirk are well suited to each other. Where Trevor has a sharp tongue and a razor wit, Dirk has physical strength and seductive prowess to match that. Their arguments and fights, the whole chase, is hotter than hot. A great story that makes forced seduction seem this sexy is easy to recommend.

What It’s Worth by Gryvon

Ian is a writer who is trying to get a story from a mafia family about immigration. When an old don sends him to his nephew, Vincenzo, the information gathering takes place at a dark club where Ian is forced to decide just how badly he wants the story.

In the beginning, this short story is bogged down by useless rhetoric about how much Ian hates everything. In his words, how everything sucks. That was boring. Once he gets to the club, however, he is literally brought down to his knees and then on his back to experience the humiliation of strangers watching him be hurt and pleasured. Being a virgin, Ian experiences things for the first time. Vincenzo seems to have a handle on him, and what could have been a horrible experience, transcends into a new beginning. The life-affirming attitude of Vincenzo is well balanced with Ian’s more cantankerous nature. Not a bad story in the end.

Blindside by Stella Harris

Matt attends college for his first year, and he’s hazed constantly by a fellow rugby player, Dylan. Matt doesn’t know how to make it stop without incurring the wrath of everyone else, but he’s also afraid of being discovered as gay. Then an unexpected visit to a health center brings Matt and Dylan suddenly into a new kind of game field, and we get to enjoy them playing doctor.

This was my favorite story of the bunch, realistic and heartwarming. What we see, isn’t always what we get. Dylan knows what he wants, and he goes after it. Matt, however, thinks Dylan wants something else entirely, humiliation and power play, and this creates delicious tension. Both so young, at the start of their lives, there’s much pleasure, sex, and love to be had here—if they only dare to step out of their predetermined roles. Great short story, and I would have loved to see more of Matt and Dylan.

Unnatural Means by T.C. Mill

Witch-Confessor Isak is facing his biggest challenge yet, a beautiful witch named Sain who is accused of murder by sorcery and unnatural congress. Isak is a devout priest who wishes for these performers of the dark arts to confess their sins of sorcery and avoid the fires of Hell. But Sain is a gay witch. It’s who he is, and saying it to be wrong would betray himself more. Neither can yield, so the torturer’s rack and hangman’s noose are ahead for Sain—unless Isak can find a way to help him, even though Isak is certain the lovely young witch has put an enchantment over him.

For such a short story, this has surprising amount of depth. It’s not just the characters who are three-dimensional and relatable, but the world around them is vivid and realistic, and the philosophical talks the two men have about being true to one’s self and the nature of faith and desire feel like skimming the surface of much larger oceans of knowledge. At first Sain may appear unlikeable, but it’s Isak’s own preconceptions that color the impression. In essence, Sain is true to himself throughout the story while Isak is the one still trying to find his path. Torturing witches is clearly not it. I liked this story a lot. Recommended.

Salting the Earth by Heidi Belleau & Violetta Vane

Ronan’s sister, Rose, is a wild child who keeps disappearing at night. Living in a small town in Ireland, there aren’t that many happening places, so when a man at a bar tells Ronan that Rose has been taken by the fairy folk, it seems plausible to Ronan who has always believed in these things. So, armed with salt and liquid courage, Ronan digs a path into the fairy realm. But getting Rose back isn’t going to be easy, and Ronan has to acquiesce to the cruel pleasures of the sidhe court and King Finnbheara. But perhaps there’s more to the fairy folk, to the king, and even to Rose than Ronan was prepared for. And Ronan has his own shameful secrets to face.

This story has mixed writing, in the sense that thoughts and actions get a little jumbled at time. And the story takes a bit too long before getting into the fairy realm. There, however, these fairies who can change sexes at will are sadistic and cruel if not treated with the proper respect. The king is an enigmatic man who’s perhaps more multifaceted than the legends tell. There’s definitely forced seduction here and a few magical toys to boot, and the ability of the fairies to read minds adds a new twisted dimension to the whole thing. An intriguing fantastical conclusion to a good anthology.

Reviewed By: Susan

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Angelia Sparrow from Storm Moon Press

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Thank you for taking some down time and spending it with us. Let’s start this off with a beverage. We have coffee, tea, some sort of juice (I think it’s been in here a few weeks) and soda. What would you like?

Tea, please. Unsweetened and iced.

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Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I’m a washed-up truck-driver who counts inventory. I write part time. I have a husband, three kids at home, soon to be two, two cats, a girlfriend and a con spouse. My life is complicated. I enjoy gardening, but everything dies. I knit, crochet and do plastic canvas work. My current projects include a Dr. Who scarf, a plastic canvas TARDIS and learning to do cables.

When you received news that your manuscript had been accepted by Storm Moon Press, what were the first words that fell from your mouth?

Storm Moon approached me to write for them. The words were, “Yes, I’d love to but I’ve never done furries before.” The story I wrote, “Songs for Guitar and French Harp”, ended up being part of their Wild Passions anthology.

What forces brought you over to the GLBT Genre? Do you focus on one part of the QUILTBAG or do you write various identities, expressions, or orientations? What made you want to write what you do?

I started writing slash in fandom. The sheer hate-chemistry between Xander and Angelus on “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” cried for fanfiction. I went multifannish, and someone I knew from a slash mailing list put out a call for queer horror, any orientation. One boy-meets-incubus story later, I was off and running.

I write in many areas of the spectrum. I like my gay boys, and my bi ones. I like my lesbians. After starting Trans*Fail in 2009 with my Robin Hood novel, I tend to steer clear of Trans* fiction. Never mind that all the ladies at Perpetual Transition, our local support group, were thrilled to have a love story just for them, horrible people on the net robbed me of my joy in it.

Would you care for some cookies? We have chocolate chip, peanut butter, oatmeal with or without raisins and a package of mystery ones. We have cake too. Your choice.

Chocolate chip. The rest are useful only as coasters. Here, try the peanut butter chocolate chip cheesecake with a brownie crust that I brought.

chewy-chocolate-chip-cookies

How many hours a day do you spending writing?

On a bad day, about half an hour. On a good day, an hour to an hour and a half. I shoot for 2000 words a day. I don’t always make it. In fact, most of the time I don’t, but I do try for some writing every day.

Do you write right through or do you revise as you go along?

Usually right on through, and worry about fixing things in post. I’ll prod a little at the stuff as I go, but very little.

When it comes to plotting, do you write freely or plan everything in advance?

I start off free writing. Then, if I’m planning a novel, I tend to write down the sequence of events, just to make sure I end up where I intend to.

Of your characters, do you have a favorite and why?

I’d like to say I love all my fictional children equally, but that’s not true. David Inman is my favorite. He’s from the dark future novel Nikolai. He is the greatest mind of the twenty-first century and doesn’t care who knows it. He’s also a mass-murderer, having wiped the whole city of Cairo, Illinois off the map.

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Writers often go on about writer’s block. Do you ever suffer from it, and what measures do you take to get past it?

I really don’t have it. I might have a bit of indecision after one project is done, but I never have a moment when the words don’t come. Of course, the way I write might have something to do with that. I go to a website called writeordie.com, put a playlist that starts with “Soldiers of the Wasteland” by Dragonforce on youtube and pound away. If I stop typing, the website will start erasing everything I wrote. I can usually manage 600 words in 15 minutes.

Do you have a particular spot in your house that you call your comfy zone? (The place where you write.)

Not really. I work at my desk, facing a wall with a calendar that has my deadlines written on it. A stuffed smiling flower, aka a Blooming Idiot, smiles at me over the monitor, from where it stands amid the pens and pencils and crochet hooks in my webster pot.

When you’re in the mindset to write, do you put a sign up that warns others not to disturb you while at work?

No. I wear headphones, which tells everyone Mama’s working.

How would you describe your sense of humor? Who and what makes you laugh?

Very dry. I like a lot of different sorts of humor. I’ve been watching a lot of Danny Kaye movies lately. I enjoy Mel Brooks, too. Jeanne Robinson is about my favorite stand-up. She and her husband, Left-brain, are my husband and me in twenty years.

But my family and I have a warped sense of humor on a personal level. My oldest son was walking around without his shirt, complaining that he couldn’t count his ribs and he was worried that one had gone missing. (He’s 18) I asked if there was a Rib Thief on the loose, and he gave me a wicked grin and said “It was a crazy night with the droogs.” I titled this story “My Kids are Defective, part Genesis 2:21.”

What question is your most frequently asked as an author?

“Where do you get your ideas?” I always say I subscribe to a service out of North Dakota that sends me three a week. The real answer is “everywhere.”

What are you working on now?

The Sweet Science, a steampunk piece involving bare knuckles boxing. Terror of the Frozen North, an Edward and Charlie adventure. Dirty Toes, a DJ Admire mystery where she’s looking into children being murdered in their own beds. There are a few other odds and ends.

Writing is obviously not just how you make your living, but your lifestyle as well. What do you do to keep the creative “spark” alive, both in your work and out of it?

I read. I read about fifty books a year, mostly horror. I watch a movie a week, musicals, drama, horror, it doesn’t matter. I do a lot of hand work. I find it turns off the words and lets my brain reset. I’ve taken to not writing on Sundays (I usually work early in the morning) so I can watch movies and relax.

What kind of books do you like to read outside of the GLBT Genre?

Mostly horror. I have a lot of friends who write it. Some nonfiction, some classic adventure. I read a lot of straight romance. In all honesty, I don’t read much same-sex romance or GLBT fiction. I used to, but I found it was influencing my own work too much.

Pick one: Scientist, Astronaut, Retail, or Horse Trainer.

Scientist. I was always pretty good in the lab sections of my coursework. I made it clear through atomic physics before I bombed out of differental equations.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

I’m a bit of a polymath. I cook. I knit and crochet. I do decoupage and tarot readings, cross-stitch, and needlepoint. I used to sew, but I’m without a machine right now.

Any special projects from you at Storm Moon Press that came out recently or will be coming out soon we should watch for?

Barbarossa’s Bitch came out in January. It’s a post-apocalyptic novel set in Kansas. Kind of a combination of The Stand, Sons of Anarchy and the Postman with a side of Road Warrior. Dylan was a computer programmer, but there’s not a lot of room for that in a subsistence population. He ends up as the toy for the leader of a Wildpack, one of the roving gangs that serve as militia, circuit riding judges and preachers, and traders.

I’m editing on a piece called “Double Dealing” for the Turning the Tables anthology. That one is cyberpunk and fairly dark.

Can you please tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

http://brooksandsparrow.com serves as a clearing house for my books. I’m on Livejournal, Pinterest and FetLife as valarltd, Twitter as @asparrow16 and Facebook and Google+ as Angelia Sparrow.

It was a pleasure having you here with us today. Please come by and let us know how you’re doing from time to time. OH! And before you leave, can I get your help here in the kitchen? Thanks!!

I’ll wash, you dry.

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Power in the Blood by Angelia Sparrow


Title: Power in the Blood
Author: Angelia Sparrow
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 171
Characters: Oren Stolt, his children, and many more…
POV: 3rd
Sub- Genre: M/M, M/F, Immortals, Vampires
Kisses: 3.5

Blurb:

Oren Stolt understands the natural order better than most people. Vampires prey on humans and Undying keep the vampires’ numbers in check.

Until now.

Now, across the United States, vampire numbers are exploding, thanks to a new church. The Tabernacle of the Firstfruits preaches a Risen Lord and invites believers to follow Him in death and resurrection… quite literally.

In Memphis, the church is about to host its first conference, with an eye to converting the whole world to the vampiric gospel.

And all that stands between humanity and eternal night is Oren, his kids, and a thin line of insane immortals.

Review:

Power in the Blood is not a light read, I found it had many characters, twists, and turns. There were several times this was a difficult book for me to read.

Oren and his children are what are called Breathers, when killed they become Immortals, Oren will go to any lengths to stop this from happening to his family.

This story has no HEA, but it does have a lot of sex, everyone seems to be sleeping with each others lovers and they seem fine with it. There are a lot of characters introduced in a short amount of time; some of them are quite surprising.

The major battle scene is extremely bloody, although the whole book is. Honestly it was so violent, it wasn’t my cup of tea, but Ms. Sparrow does have a gift of writing a descriptive story with interesting characters. Though this was a little too much for me, I know there will be readers out there that will enjoy this book. If you like reading about a lot of erotic sex, throw in some blood and gore on almost every page then you should definitely give this book a try.

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Carved in Flesh by Angelia Sparrow, Blaine D. Arden, Kaje Harper, Logan Zachary, MA Church, Naomi Brooks and TC Mill


Title: Carved in Flesh
Author: Multi-Authored Anthology
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Pages: 193
Characters: Multiple
Sub-Genre: M/M, Contemporary
Kisses: 4


Blurb:

People often say that the true perfection in the human form is in its imperfections. Scars are visceral reminders of a person’s past, a sign of an event that can never fade. Whether it was gained in combat, a traumatic experience, or part of a ritual with a lover, scars are the ultimate labels. They leave a permanent mark on the body and spirit that, one way or another, change a person forever.

Veld is an Elf who has known for years that his mute friend Oren is spoken for; the design of scars spanning Oren’s torso reminds him with every look. When Oren’s vowed, Haram, is killed, Veld must not only help to prove his own innocence, but also tread carefully as he discovers Oren’s Right and Haram’s last request. Next, Tiocfaidh Ár Lá—”our day will come”—was the cry in Joe Colson’s heart, even as he fled his beloved Ireland to hide from his sins in the States. He’d assumed his chances for love were long past when a much younger man rekindles something in him he’d thought long dead.

A near-fatal car accident leaves superstar model Ashley’s face permanently scarred and his career into a tailspin. Only his lover, Will, can pull him out of his depression, provided his affection hasn’t turned to Faded Love. Young Timothy has come to Larry for Scar Therapy. But Tim is seeking healing of a different kind, and Larry finds that he has his own wounds that need tending. Garvin’s scars are a Gift of the Goddess, seared into his skin as a beacon to find his kidnapped love, Nyle. Rescuing him, though, may entail a deeper wound than even the Goddess would bestow. Finally, when Kanovan returns from his off-world tour, his lover Mirin finds a lover’s mark he hadn’t expected. Mirin must re-evaluate how much Kanovan means to him, and what he must do to make Kanovan always Sojourn Home to him.

Review:

I found this Anthology to be very well written. I really liked every story and thought each story brought something special to the anthology. Every couple dealt with the scars they had in a different way, but all with love. I thought there was a lot of creativity and uniqueness to these storied and each one was emotionally driven. I found myself quickly interested with every character and the story they had to tell. I would recommend Carved in Flesh because it is a good, solid read and I believe your heart will be touched as was mine.

Reviewed by: Cheryl

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Angelia Sparrow Wants To Make You Feel Hot And Cold And Shivery

Thanks so much for taking the time to be with us today, Angelia. Why don’t we start by having you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

I’m a truck driver on a dedicated route, meaning I go the same places every time. I’m lucky enough to be home every night, so I get to spend time with my kids. I have four, but the oldest is on her own these days, and the second is preparing to launch. I met my husband in college. He’s a high school science teacher. My own degree is in English.

When did you discover your passion for writing? Was there someone in particular who encouraged and inspired your love of storytelling?

My grandmothers read to me from the time I was an infant. I read widely during my childhood and adolescence; science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance, it didn’t matter. I wrote some fanfiction in high school and started original stories then, nearly failing algebra because I would rather write than learn to factor a quadratic equation. (fortunately, I had a great Algebra II teacher who got me past that) In college, I got in with the gamers and the SCA, both of which encouraged oral storytelling. When the kids came, I made up stories for them. It’s been a lifelong process.

How long does it typically take you to write a book, and then see it through the publishing process?

I can write a short story in a couple days to a week. I can get a novel drafted in a month. The rewrites take longer. The average novel takes about 4 months from inception to submission. The publishing process varies widely, from about 3 months of intensive edits to a year and a half of mostly waiting. It depends on the publisher.

Do the titles of your books generally come to you as you’re writing, or do you know what they’ll be called before the writing process begins?

Depends on the book. I knew I was going to call a book “Glad hands” as soon as I heard the term in truck-driving school. Alive on the Inside came early in the process. Heart of a Forest underwent half a dozen title changes, and I still like the original, All in the Merry Greenwood, better than any of them. Power in the Blood was originally called The Undying and the Undead, until the catchier title appeared. Some books just get called “the non-con short” or “that faerie thing” until they’re written and we have to come up with something for the publisher to call it.

Asking this question might be a bit like asking you to choose one child over another, but of all the characters you’ve created, do you have one who stands out among the others as a favorite? If so, who and why?

I have several favorites, but David Inman is the one I catch myself giving too much time to. He’s a secondary character in the Nikolai series, from Dark Roast Press, and if I don’t sit on him, he takes over every scene he’s in and demands more influence than he’s supposed to have. I have to be careful not to let him get away with it, but he is the best mind of the twenty-first century (born 2032) and does finds ways around me now and then. I love him for his brilliance, for his utter bitchiness–and David defines bitchy queen—and for his deep emotions that seldom make it to the surface in true displays of feeling.

When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope s/he takes away from the experience?

I want them to come away feeling hot and cold and shivery, saying of the science fiction or horror, “I can see exactly where it’s going wrong and I can’t stop it!” or simply sighing in deep satisfaction and feeling better for having read it.

How much creative input do you have in the cover design of your books?

This depends on the publisher. Most let me put in suggestions, some let me comment after the cover is at least drafted. I have a couple of publishers who habitually misspell my first name, so I am glad of the chance to make sure I’m properly billed.

Is there a particular sub-genre in which you enjoy writing more than others? (i.e. paranormal vs. historical vs. contemporary)

I love love love writing steampunk. I’ve never managed a full length novel, but the short stories are my favorite. Horror and paranormal are favorites too. The difference between horror and paranormal is a subtle one. The basic question becomes “What are you to the monster?” If you’re his main squeeze, it’s paranormal. If you’re lunch, it’s horror.

Do you prefer writing in the 1st or the 3rd person? What advantages do you see in writing in one vs. the other?

I usually write in third person. I see advantages to each of them, depending on the story I’m trying to tell. I doubt I could sustain first person for a full novel. I like first person when I need to be inside someone’s head for most of a story, and keep the tale strictly from that point of view. Third person lets me get different points of view, different parts of the story. For example, in Power in the Blood, we mostly get Oren, the hero’s, point of view. But he can’t be everywhere, so other scenes take us into the heads of a vampire preacher, an immortal Puritan witch, and a baby boomer vampire who is permanently twenty-two.

Do you write full time? If not, how many hours per day do you attempt to dedicate to your writing?

I work a fifty hour week on the truck. Then there’s second-shift work at home, errands and all the stuff that makes up a life. I try to get about ten solid writing hours in every week, minimum. I don’t always succeed, sometimes I get more.

Do you typically outline your plots before you begin the writing process, or do you write in a more freestyle fashion?

I usually start freestyle, seeing who the characters are and where they want to take me. After it becomes apparent where I’m going, I lay out the road markers to make sure I get where I’m supposed to and hit all the points I need to along the way.

How much do your characters resemble you and/or the people you know?

Some characters, especially very minor, nonspeaking walk-ons, are me without any disguise. Others are combinations of people, collections of traits and attitudes that eventually form a new personality.

How much do you draw upon your own life experiences in your writing?

I draw on it a great deal. I’ve been almost everywhere described in Glad Hands, seeing most of it from the windshield of a semi. I’ve lived in a lot of the places and held a lot of the jobs I write about.

Are you surprised by the ever growing female fan-base of Male/Male fiction?

Not at all. I come to this out of slash fandom which was invented forty years ago by women, written by women for women readers. Even beyond fandom, there were Mary Renault and Anne Rice.

When did you begin writing in the Male/Male genre? What about it interests you the most?

I began writing it around 1998, in Buffy Fandom. Something about Xander’s interaction with Angelus during the latter half of season 2 grabbed me, and I started in. From there, I read widely and explored a lot of source material. What interests me most, right now, is a bit meta: it’s seeing how the writers change from fandom to original fiction, and how readers and writers who are not coming to this from fandom are changing the genre.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received with respect to the art of writing? How did it change the way you approach your craft?

Write. Write some every day. If you can’t write a whole story, commit to writing 5 words a day. This comes from Vic Milan. It told me I was not a failure for failing to live up to Ray Bradbury’s advice of writing a whole story every day. With my schedule, 5 words is more doable.

Will you share three things you’ve learned about the business of writing since your first publication?

1) What doesn’t work for one publisher will sell like gangbusters at another.
2) Send the story and forget it. Start the next one.
3) Don’t over-commit. I have a tendency to promise stories half a dozen places and then hit really bad crunch time trying to meet them all.

If you were to offer a word of advice to a new author just starting out, what would it be?

Write. Writers write. Others just talk about writing, about what they want to write, what they’re going to write, how they don’t have time to write. Write. Harlan Ellison says, “If anything can discourage you from writing, it should.” I agree. The only time in my life when I was not writing in some way was the six-month period when I was sleeping 20 hours out of 24 because of medication. Neither college nor children nor 50-hour work weeks can stop my need for writing. Can anything stop yours?

Write what you know, and you know a lot more than you think you do. As one of my engineering profs said, “When you’re faced with a problem you don’t quite understand and don’t know what to do, do what you know and the rest will present itself.”

Wisdom abounds and gurus are found everywhere from cartoons to the classroom. Listen for it.

What is the question you’re most frequently asked by your fans?

“When is the next Nikolai book coming out?” I have to tell them I’m still writing it, because it’s low on the priority list.

What is your most memorable fan experience?

I was at DragonCon—a convention with about 40,000 people– and sat in on the m/m romance panel. Afterward, I went up and introduced myself to Kiernan Kelly. She squeed and hugged me. When Kayelle Allen and Ally Blue asked what was going on, she introduced me and there was my first “Oh my God, you’re Angelia Sparrow!” moment.

Digital media—the e-reader/tablet computer/Android apps—is changing the way people access and enjoy books. What pros and/or cons do you see surrounding the business of e-publishing? How do you see digital media evolving in the years to come?

Got a week or so? Books are becoming impulse items once again, something people always have along and can read in public. There are no lurid covers visible to bring down the concernipation of concerned bystanders. E-publishing allows easier entry into the world of publishing, bypassing a lot of the traditional gatekeepers dedicated to publishing the same clones of everything that was successful last season. It’s easier for new writers to get in, but also, the pace of the industry demands a high volume of manuscripts, including some that really aren’t ready for prime-time. The price of readers and computers also excludes segments of the population from the digital revolution.

On the future of digital, I don’t think paper books will go away. The format has been around for millennia because it is durable. One can still read materials written on papyrus in ancient Egypt. I think digital will become the popular choice for ephemera: popular fiction and textbooks. Collectors will get print-on-demand paper. I think there will end up being a standardized format. Beyond that, I pack up my cloudy crystal ball, because everything is changing very fast.

When you have the chance to sit down and enjoy some quiet reading time, what sorts of books are you most likely to pick up? Who are your favorite authors?

I’m most likely to pick up a horror novel, probably one by a friend or acquaintance of mine. My all time favorites are Ray Bradbury, Stephen King, Julian May, Harlan Ellison, and Barbara Hambly. In the smaller names, Bryan Smith, Sara Harvey, B.G Thomas and Elizabeth Donald.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

A professional crafter, probably a crochet artist.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing? Do you have any hobbies?

I read. First and foremost, I read. I try to read 50 books a year. I don’t always make it, but it helps. My writing improves with my reading. I crochet. I garden. I cook. I watch movies. I used to sew. I’m learning to knit. I would like to get back to cross-stitching in the next year.

If time travel were possible, what time period(s) would you most like to visit? Why?

Assuming instant translators, there are a lot of places I’d like to visit. There are very few where I’d like to live. A whirlwind tour of Egypt under Ramses II, a visit to Athens in the Golden Age, late Imperial Rome for some recreational decadence, then off for a visit to Viking-era Ireland and Norway, and maybe a stop in the Age of Sail. Most of this would be research, but part of it would be confirmation of my research.

If you had the opportunity to sit down to dinner with one famous person, either past or present, who would you choose and why?

My table manners are terrible and I hate eating with people. I despise lingering over food, preferring to eat while working and be done with that chore. So this question is unanswerable.

If we were to look around the desk where you sit to write, what would we find there?

You’d find my desk covered with a variety of stuff, including a large glass stein lettered with “Donations for the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center” which currently holds a bunch of crochet hooks (all size N), a pair of very stale cigars, a Dr McCoy 2.0 action figure, a half-finished crochet lace choker, a random selection of coughdrops, paperclips and pennies, a few lengths of cloth topped with a coil of florist wire and a hot glue gun (they’re gonna be fairy wings soon!), a row of pill bottles that looks pretty scary.

And this is why I work on my laptop from a recliner in the front room, balancing a board across my knees and typing to the background chatter of Nickelodeon.

How would you describe your sense of humor? What makes you laugh?

My sense of humor is fairly broad. It took me a long time to find it. I spent my adolescence laboring under the burden of my own genius, and a sense of humor was beneath an alpha like myself. I grew out of that, thank goodness. My kids often make me laugh. I enjoy a variety of comedies, from A Clockwork Orange (which is a very dark, bleak comedy) and American Psycho (Pride &Prejudice, with yuppies and chainsaws) to the Marx Brothers and even some Stooges routines. Fibber Magee and Molly always make me laugh. I catch them on the radio in the wee hours.

Do you have an all time favorite fictional character?

Han Solo, flat-out. Just the way Brian Daly wrote him for the three books and the radio series. Not a fan of what later EU writers did.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Noise. I have hearing loss from bad ears, so I’m quite protective of what I have left. Loud music, high background noise, dairy cases that sound like jet engines, even too much racket from my kids all set my teeth on edge.

Do you have a favorite personal mantra, quote, or saying that describes your outlook on life and the way you approach each day?

Any day my job does not involve castrating sheep with my teeth is a GOOD day.

Do you speak more than one language? If so, which one(s)?

I have three years’ classroom experience of Spanish and German, each. Which, at this late date (20 years after graduating college) means I can read children’s books, maybe.

Of all the modern conveniences, which one would you most likely say you couldn’t live without?

Running water. I’ve done primitive camping, and I do NOT want to live like that. I know how, though, which makes me valuable in a zombie apocalypse.

Do you have any new projects/works-in-progress you’d care to share with us?

My newest release is Power in the Blood, a family drama set against a vampire apocalypse in Memphis. Oren and his six kids are Breathers, meaning if they die violently, they will become immortal. The very rare immortal Undying are vampire hunters. And Memphis is ground zero for a vampire explosion, caused by a church that thinks it can bring about the Second Coming if everyone is a vampire. The release date is January 27th, 2012.

Thanks again for spending some time with us, Angelia! It’s been great having you with us. Will you tell us where we can find you on the Internet?

I’m everywhere! My website is http://www.brooksandsparrow.com My twitter is @asparrow16. I’m also Author Angelia Sparrow on Facebook and valarltd at Live Journal and Dreamwidth. I sometimes remember my blogger: http://angelsparrow.blogspot.com/

Four Play by Angelia Sparrow and Naomi Brooks


Title: Four-Play
Author: Angelina Sparrow and Naomi Brooks
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Pages: 193
Setting: Contemporary
Sub-Genre: Anthology/BDSM/Menage/Kink
Book Cover Rating: 4
Kisses: 5




Blurb:

Beatings in manacles and sleeping in cages. Paddles and chain-mail and kink for the ages. Well-tied-up subs who yelp when it stings. These are a few of our favorite things. And we hope they are some of your favorites as well. Previously available only in electronic format, these four stories of Gay BDSM and Erotic Romance have now been combined for a paperback edition! Included are the tales……

Master Bear (In a retelling of the classic animal bridegroom fairytale, set among the leather community, the dying William searches for a new top for his beloved boy. But as top after top fails, all signs seem to point to Chris falling into the clutches of the dreaded Master Bear.)

Long-Term (Teague Albright, small-town university president by day, sub rescue agency by night. At least that’s what it feels like when he takes in yet another abandoned submissive. But Ian McClean is more than just another kid to help. He gets under Teague’s skin like no other.)

Thigh To Thigh (William has two young lovers: Sam, who works, and Billy, who is making up for lost time by taking community college classes. When Billy does poorly on a paper, however, William punishes both him and Sam, Billy’s tutor, in order to clear the air. But soon, the boys get their delicious revenge on the older man.)

Chain-Male (Librarian Chad quietly crushes on the cute guy in his history class. But when Jace turns up looking for help in the library, Chad is about to get a living history lesson he’ll never forget.)

Review:

As an overall read this is a hell of a group of stories that’s sure to wake your inside right up and take notice. Each of them take you on a journey of heavy D/s and how their relationships come to be and work. All of the stories measured up and gave the reader an interesting look into the lives of the men who are either Dom’s or subs. Kink plays a big factor here and it is just awesome for the BDSM lover/reader.

Master Bear to me was the deepest of the set with the retelling of the story about a sub who is losing his Dom to cancer. It was heart wrenching to read this story, yet I’m glad I did. We are mostly in the head of the sub who really is truly in love with the man he’s losing. His Dom, William invites man after man to their home to see if they are able to correctly top his boy, and those scenes are hard for not only the sub but for the reader as well. Just knowing the man will be leaving his love behind. It’s an amazing story with an amazing ending. These characters as they are created will jump off the pages and into your hearts.

Long Term is a good story, about a Dom, who sees himself as the rescuer of any sub in need; he doesn’t care if they are male or female. He comes across Ian, a sub who has no one, nothing, and in dire need of a man like Teague. Teague is a Dom who doesn’t allow himself to fall for his rescued subs, he just gets them on their feet and sets them free but Ian is there to change all that. I liked the way the story flowed, the interesting situations, and the way Teague handled this boy who not only had nothing but thought he was nothing.

I encourage anyone who likes the writing style of Sparrow and Brooks along with M/M BDSM to pick up their copy of this book. You’ll love it.

Reviewer: Michele

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