Priorities by Tory Temple

Title: Priorities
Author: Tory Temple
Publisher: Torquere Books
Pages: 20
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Western/Contemporary
Kisses: 5






Blurb:

Teagan and Cash are back! The two rodeo cowboys from Tory Temple’s popular EPPIE finalist novel, Tabula Rasa, are back with this glimpse into their domestic life.

Teagan is expecting a delivery of new horses to his ranch in Wyoming. He’s counting on Cash to be home from his latest steer roping competition in time to help. But when Cash decides to stay in Tulsa an extra day and Teagan is felled by an unexpected illness, Teagan can’t help questioning his partner’s priorities. Can these two headstrong cowboys come to an agreement about the most important thing in their lives together?

Review:

Let me just tell you how much I adore this couple! Teagan and Cash, two hardcore cowboys showing the whole reading world their inside emotions, their private lives, and they do such a grand job with it.

It’s been three years since Tabula Rasa, when the two cowboys hooked up. They are now running Teagan’s ranch as full partners, and fulltime lovers. Where Teagan has retired from the rodeo circuit, Cash has not as he still rodeo’s six months out of the year and he’s gone from the ranch for most of that time. Now this is something Teagan isn’t fond of, but he knows how much Cash loves it so he supports his lover as much as he can, however when something goes on at the ranch, and Cash is needed at home and can’t get there, Teagan does get annoyed and upset with his lover.

Cash told that he couldn’t make it back to the ranch to welcome the new horses when he was scheduled to because he was busy with the rodeo and wouldn’t be home until the following day.

As Teagan and Lori, along with another ranch hand are getting the stalls ready for new horses Teagan falls very ill, so sick that he ends up in bed and out for several days. Nightmares haunt him, threatening to take the man he loves away from him.

Very touching story, very well fleshed out characters and a great tied up plot. I think we should bug Tory to see if she’ll give us more of these two.

Reviewed By: Michele

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Torquere Author: Tory Temple

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, Tory, can you tell us a little bit about your background?

I’m happily married to a firefighter and living in southern California near the beach. I have a full-time job, aside from writing, and no children. Lots of four-legged friends share my house, though! It keeps me from being too lonely while my husband is at work.

What was your first book and how long did it take to get it published?

My first book was Heat and I was lucky enough to sell it to Torquere Press as soon as I was finished with it. I wrote it in a month and haven’t been able to finish another book that quickly.

When did you start writing m/m romance? What about this genre interested you the most?

I was involved with m/m fanfiction for years, but it never satisfied me. I finally realized I could create my own characters and feel much more complete! The switch to original fiction happened in 2005 and I haven’t looked back. The genre was so appealing to me because I knew I could show a romance between two men as caring and tender while still maintaining their masculinity.

How long did it take you to get published? How many books have you written thus far?

I was very fortunate to sell my first book to Torquere Press within a few weeks of finishing it. As of the time of this interview, I have 21 short stories, novellas, and novels available for sale. My back catalogue is here.

Do you write full time?

Unfortunately, my day job prevents me from doing that. I don’t even have time during my work day to sit down at a computer.

Looking back was there something in particular that helped you to decide to become a writer? Did you choose it or did the profession choose you?

I recall always wanting to change the endings of books I was reading as a child. Or I’d want to put a different character in to change the entire plot around. Once I realized I could actually DO that by writing my own stories, it was like a lightbulb went on. Then I won a writing contest in elementary school and that spurred me on to start contributing to magazines. I’ll say that the profession definitely chose me.

On a typical writing day, how would you spend your time?

Coffee features prominently. I get up, get myself a cup of the nectar of life, feed the dogs, check my email, chat with my BFF online, and then ponder about what I’m actually going to write. At the moment, I’m co-authoring a novel and I have a half-finished work in progress on my hard drive. So on a typical day, I pick one of these to work on, but first I need to shower and clean the space around me. I like an organized area. Then I just dive right in and keep going until my fingers stop; usually about four or five hours.

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

Definitely revise as I go. I have a hard time skimming over important details and I often have to stop to research.

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

I have a vague idea of where I want things to end up. But the beginning and middle are totally free reign for my characters.

What kind of research do you do before and during a new book?

That really depends on what the topic is! It’s much, much simpler to just write what I know. However, sometimes a character or two will show up and they’ll have a job I know nothing about. That’s happened to me with race car drivers and professional steer ropers. I had to do a lot of Googling and asking my husband questions. He’s a NASCAR fan and helped me out tremendously with the race car scene.

How long does it take for you to complete a book you would allow someone to read? Do you write straight through, or do you revise as you go along?

I’m not a fast writer. A novel takes me several months or more. I can do a short story in a few weeks, though. The problem is the pesky day job.

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 do suffer from it, to a degree. Mostly it’s not what you’d call “traditional” writer’s block, but instead just exhaustion from my other job. Sometimes I just can’t face sitting down with my unfinished novel and making plot points happen. I want to watch TV instead. Getting past that just takes time and sleep.

When someone reads one of your books for the first time, what do you hope they gain, feel or experience?

I’d really like them to feel the strong emotion between the characters, plus gain a sense of the entire thing being realistic enough to actually happen.

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

1. Don’t read reviews.
2. Don’t read reviews.
3. See 1 and 2.

Does the title of a book you’re writing come to you as you’re writing it, or does it come before you even begin the first sentence?

I usually have a working title while I go along, but I’ve been known to change it at the last minute. Sometimes I wrack my brain for a title and then pick something from the book.

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

My sense of humor is pretty dry. I need something clever to make me laugh. That being said, I’ve been known to laugh at Will Ferrell movies.

What is the most frequently asked Tory question?

If I’m going to be writing more Chris and Morgan from Tinder. The answer is yes, eventually.

What are you working on now?

I’m in the middle of a sequel to By the Numbers, co-written with Chris Owen. We hope to have that out by the end of the year.

What kind of books do you like to read?

I’m actually a huge fan of children’s literature. For pleasure, I read a lot of work by my fellow authors. And when I have time, I’ve been known to pick up a few chick lit books here and there for the pure trash factor.

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

You mean aside from my regular day job? I’d do some kind of work with animals. I envy the trainers and keepers at places like Sea World and San Diego Zoo.

Where did you get the idea for the stories you write?

I’m a fan of contemporary romance, so I enjoy putting characters in situations that the every day reader might experience. Ideas come from everywhere, even a trip to the grocery store.

When it comes to the covers of your books, what do you like or dislike about them?

Augh, covers. It’s pretty easy to make me happy as long as my covers follow one rule, and one rule only: no faces. I have exactly one cover with faces on it and I loathe it.

Aside from writing, what else do you enjoy doing?

Walking the dogs, trying new restaurants, catching up on recorded TV shows, playing with my new iPad, and spending time with family.

Any special projects coming out soon we should watch for?

Not immediately, but at some point in 2012 for sure.

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

Website: www.torytemple.com
Livejournal: http://ragingpixie.livejournal.com/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=hp#!/torytemple
Twitter: @ToryTemple

Could you please share your favorite excerpt(s) from one of more of your stories with us?

Oh, I have so many! But this one stands out to me. This is fireman Chris Matthews’ first introduction to Morgan Daniels, and neither one of them expect what happens down the road.

Chris slouched down even lower, feeling his neck come into contact with the back of his chair and trying to sneak a look at his watch. This sucked. It was bad enough he had to work on the first sunny day that spring had given him, but to be stuck in a classroom was even worse. He’d much rather be out on the new motorcycle he’d bought himself two months ago.

Shuffling of books and papers alerted him to the fact that the lecture had come to an end, and he quickly began to gather his supplies together to make a hasty exit. Maybe he’d go out to the small basketball court for a while and shoot some balls in the sun.

“Matthews,” came the stony voice, “stay for a moment, please.”

Great. Maybe not.

Chris sighed and looked up to see Daniels perching on the edge of his desk, arms folded across his chest and an impenetrable expression. The rest of his crew gave him sympathetic looks as they filed out of the small station classroom.

He stayed where he was and waited. Daniels didn’t move from the edge of the desk as he said, “This class isn’t a joke, you know.”

Chris blinked. “I know that, sir.”

“You don’t act like it. How long’ve you been with the department?”

Chris resisted the impulse to ask him the same question, knowing damn well the man wasn’t even with the fire department at all. “Two years. Sir,” he added, despite the bitter taste it left in his mouth.

“You have a full career ahead of you, Matthews. You want to screw that all up because some girl decides to call harassment on you? I suggest you listen well while you’re here.” He seemed to be finished after that, looking down to clear some paperwork off the desk.

“Why are you such an asshole?” Chris blurted out before he could stop himself, and then cursed internally. All he needed was for Daniels to report him to Rich, Chris’ captain, and he’d get written up.

But Daniels just arched a brow and said calmly, “I hate firemen. Any other questions?”

Chris blinked. “No.”

Excerpt from Ink:

It was a beautiful picture. It would be tricky and challenging and Cade wasn’t sure if he had the ability to do true justice to it, especially his first time, but the artist in him simply could not turn down the opportunity. Cade knew that this needed to be his first real tattoo. “Where do you want it?” he asked. Maybe it was somewhere innocuous, like on Kip’s forearm.

“On my chest. The opposite side of the one I got last time.”

His chest. That meant Kip would have to take his shirt off and sit there, and Cade would have to touch him. The thought was terrifying and exhilarating.

“All right,” Cade finally said, looking up at Kip. “Have a seat on the couch behind you and give me twenty minutes to draw it up.”

“Thanks.” Kip nodded. “I’m sure you’ll do it justice.” He sat on the leather couch and smiled confidently at Cade.

Cade felt something stirring, but he was unsure if it was something complicated like gratitude for Kip’s trust, or something simple like pure lust. He decided it was both, and neither feeling had any place in the job he was about to do. He needed to concentrate.

Nearly a half hour later, Cade had a decent replica of Kip’s picture. He’d shown it to Graham for approval.

“Looks good, Cade. Look at it like a grid, not as a picture. You’ll be fine.” Graham smiled and went back to texting Jessica. Cade felt a tiny frisson of fear that Graham didn’t seem interested in sitting over Cade’s shoulder to watch him work, but that fear was soon outweighed by relief. One thing Cade didn’t need was the extra pressure.

Cade called Kip over and pointed to the chair that all of Graham’s clients sat in. “Go ahead and take your shirt off,” Cade said, and was pleased to hear that his voice sounded normal. Kip was even more attractive at close range, and Cade sent up a silent prayer that his body wouldn’t betray him. His dick was already twitching.

Kip did as he was asked and Cade’s mind registered that the man must have been in the sun at some point. Kip’s chest was a smooth brown color with a dusting of golden hair.
Uh oh. That meant Cade would have to shave him.

Tabula Rasa by Tory Temple

Title: Tabula Rasa
Author: Tory Temple
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 125
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Western/Contemporary
Kisses: 5



Blurb:

Rodeo cowboy Teagan has inherited his father’s ranch, and it’s in a bad way. He needs to work the rodeo circuit hard to make enough money to pay the bills, so he starts looking for a rodeo partner.
Team roper Cash is just the ticket. He’s not the friendliest sort, but he has a good seat and a better roping arm, so Teagan takes Cash on, and as they get to know each other, things start to heat up fast.
Maybe too fast. When Teagan finds out he’s not the only one Cash has in the saddle, things go bad, and Teagan thinks he and Cash are over for good. When he gets the call that Cash has had an accident, though, he knows he has to go and see if he can make good. He cares too much about Cash to just let it go.
Like any good rodeo ride, Teagan and Cash have ups and downs, crashing and burning as often as they blaze bright. Can they work through all of the deception and stubborn pride to find a love that works as smoothly as their roping?

Review:

What a fun story this was to read by Tory Temple. Yes, it’s an older release but I hadn’t had a chance to read it and I’m so glad that I finally found the chance to do so. In this awesome story we meet cowboy’s Teagan and Cash, their horses, and a couple awesome secondary characters. Teagan is a good ole’ fashioned cowboy, has been since the day he was born it seems. He’s working his ranch, left to him by his father, doing his very best to keep from losing it by rodeoing on the circuit however his heeler was hurt by a cow and that leaves Teagon, who is a header, (ropers) on his own without a heeler and as the cowboys come to try out, his hope slides down the hill when none of them are good enough to help him win enough money to save the ranch. Then one day he hears about cowboy Cash, who is a heeler, however the other man has had his share of problems with many people in town, known to be hot-headed and ill tempered. However, Teagan doesn’t care about that, he cares about finding a good heeler to help him win cash to save his ranch.

Teagan is at a bar one night before the rodeo begins and not only does he bump into two hot brothers who love to entertain is fun ways, he also gets his first glimpse of handsome Cash, who just so happens to be involved in a bar fight, and guess who also manages to get a shiner?

The two cowboys manage to hook up and see just how well they can work together as a team and find they are a match made in rodeo heaven. However, not only do things heat up in the circuit, they heat up in the bedroom, the back of a truck, motel rooms, etc but then something horrible happens that can threaten their future as a team on the circuit and everywhere else.

I am glad I found some time to give this a read, I really loved the plot, the characters, the description, and guess what? There’s a follow up!! Priorities.

Reviewed By: Michele

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Torquere Author Interviews and Reviews

I’m very excited to announce that Top2Bottom will be spotlighting authors from Torquere Press beginning with Sean Michael on the 11th of June. We will have not only reviews of their chosen stories but interviews too! This is very exciting for us and I hope you’ll come daily to see the new author we will have under the hot lights.

Ink by Tory Temple

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Title: Ink
Author: Tory Temple
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 23
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 3








Blurb:

Cade Tomlin wants nothing more than to tattoo people. He’s been drawing on himself with markers since he was little, but it can’t compare to the feel of a tattoo machine in his hand. When he finally discovers an artist who is willing to take him on as an apprentice, Cade learns more secrets and details about tattooing than he thought existed. However, his first real client, Kip Parker, teaches him much more about what a meaningful tattoo can say

Review:

Ink is a short fast moving story about young Cade Tomlin who has, since childhood, loved the idea of pictures on his skin. As he grew older he knew without a shadow of a doubt that he would not only receive tattoo’s but he wanted to be the one giving them. He wanted to hold that tattoo gun in his talented hand and create art. However, finding a job in a reputable shop wasn’t easy for him seeing as how he lived in a small town.

Once he was old enough he moved to a bigger town, applied at all the shops he could as an apprentice and finally landed his first job under the watchful eye of a skillful artist who took to Cade and taught him everything there was to teach him for thirteen months.

When client Kip Parker shows up for his first tattoo, Cade takes an interest in the man being tattooed, not only for his choice of a tattoo, but for the man himself. When the man leaves Cade finds himself thinking of the other man and then they meet up again when Kip shows up again wanting another tattoo and requesting Cade to do it. Cade hasn’t been released as an apprentice yet…Until he’s turned loose and given the go ahead to tat Kip at Kip’s request.

It’s a sweet story about a young man who sets out to fulfill his dreams and finding love too.

Reviewed By: Michele

Teaching Topaz by Tory Temple


Title: Teaching Topaz
Author: Tory Temple
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 43
Characters: Alexander and Dylan
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 4






Blurb:

Alexander Myers has graduated from vet school and is finally doing what he loves: practicing medicine in a local animal hospital. His unique talent of being able to hear the thoughts of animals is a big help in his job, although it doesn’t really come in handy when trying to communicate with his boyfriend, animal control officer Dylan Travers.

When Dylan rescues a black cat and encourages Alex to adopt it, Alex is afraid that would endanger his elderly ferret, Karma. He and Dylan disagree on whether or not the cat can be trained to leave Karma alone. So what happens when two animal experts try to teach a cat to ignore its own instincts? Check out Teaching Topaz to see who wins… the animals or the humans.

Review:

This is a fast cute read about Alexander, who is a veterinarian and his lover Dylan who is a firefighter and their love of animals. And one another. This is a follow-up story of Keeping Karma, and one I was not able to read but as this short seems to stand fine on it’s own, don’t let it stop you from reading it. The two men are, as one can imagine, very busy within their chosen professions, they are making a go at life and love with their pet ferret Karma, who is in this story already I believe six or so, and she’s referred to as the old lady. Now, Alexander, if you have read the first book, you’d know he has the ability to hear the basic thoughts of animals. He knows if they’re hungry, tired, sad, scared, playful…all of it. But he doesn’t have the ability to have an ongoing conversation with them like Dr. Dolittle.

Well, as they are doing their thing, with each man at their places of employment, a tiny black kitten makes it way to the vet clinic by way of Dylan, who rescued it from a burning building. He fell in love with it, and knew he and Alexander needed him, as he needed them. One look into those topaz eyes and Dylan knew that Alexander would fall head over for the lost thing. However, Karma plays a key factor here as to whether or not Topaz has a forever home.

Plot: all tied up neatly
Characters: Dimensional and well done.
Sex: Hot
Overall: Really enjoyed it and the animals.

Reviewed By: Michele

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By the Numbers by Chris Owen and Tory Temple


Title: By The Numbers
Author: Chris Owen and Tory Temple
Publisher: Torquere Press
Pages: 188
Characters: Nathanial (Deuce) and Trey
POV: 3rd
Sub-Genre: Contemporary
Kisses: 3.5




Blurb:

The last thing Nathaniel, aka Deuce, expects to see when he gets home from work is his street jammed with fire engines and police cars. When he realizes that it’s his apartment building that’s on fire, Nathaniel can only think of one thing: his pregnant dog, trapped inside.

When firefighter Trey Donovan delivers Nathaniel’s unharmed dog to him, Nathaniel is exceedingly grateful. After all, it isn’t every day that he meets muscular, attractive rescue workers. Nathaniel manages to find out where Trey’s station is with the idea of saying thank you and offering him a puppy, but discovers that he and Trey have something else between them that needs exploring.

Trey, however, has responsibilities that could prove to make that exploration difficult. He has shift work to contend with. His seven year old daughter is a priority, plus he shares custody with his less than friendly ex-wife. Since Nathaniel is the new owner of one dog and six puppies, and doesn’t even have a place to live, he isn’t exactly in an ideal situation to explore a new relationship. Even if it is with a hot, handsome fireman.

Can Trey and Nathaniel find some common ground amid the yapping of puppies and Trey’s complicated family life?

Review:

By the Numbers, a cute story about two men named Deuce and Trey, brings together several winning elements which in theory should make for a winning romance novel. For some reason, though, the synergy just wasn’t there, at least not in my opinion.

I love jock/nerd themes, and who doesn’t love hunky firefighters? Add to this a cute, overly-smart kid and a batch of adorable puppies, and what more could you ask? I think that in a word, the answer is “conflict”. Whether we notice it or not, every story follows the same basic formula. There is a set-up, a conflict, and a resolution. In this particular book, the conflict was supposed to center around how Trey, the firefighter, made peace with his ex-wife and came out as a gay man. Nathanial, aka Deuce, struggled to find a comfortable role in Trey’s life which already was rather complex. Trey was already a fireman, an ex-husband, and a father; and Deuce was at first an admirer who became Trey’s roommate, and eventually his lover.

The conflict wasn’t gripping, and it was, for the most part, unnoticeable. I kept waiting for some big revelation to unfold or for a villain to emerge or a fight to ensue. But there were no surprises. What you read in the blurb is exactly what you find in the plot.

There was a bit of role-reversal that occurred within the story. Initially Trey was the hero when he rushed into a burning building and rescued Deuce’s dog. Deuce seemed to be a nerdy computer geek who lacked social skills. As the story unfolded, the characters arced, and it appeared that Deuce was actually the confident one while Trey struggled with some insecurities.

I did love the puppies in the story, but the author at times seemed more focused upon them than upon the mm romance. The fire station was interesting, but the author included more details about the day-to-day operation and about the equipment than I really cared to know. The ex-wife was presented in a very negative light, and I was a bit uncomfortable with the anti-woman tone or subtext that the author seemed to present.

The strength of the novel was the love story itself. The way the characters were brought together and how they subsequently discovered their attraction to each other, was really touching. The sex was well-written and very steamy.

Overall, I like the story and the characters. It’s a lighthearted read and a sweet romance. The intimate scenes are hot, and for this factor alone, the book will be appealing to many readers. Written by two amazingly talented authors, the book is sure to be embraced and loved by many fans. For me, it was not my favorite, but an enjoyable read nonetheless.

Reviewed By: Jeff

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