Wednesday, January 31, 2024

The Body Release Blitz #rabtbooktours


Poems and Stories

Poetry, Women

Date Published: Jan 31, 2024

Publisher: Bookbaby


How do you stitch yourself back together after trauma, loss, grief, heartbreak? By inviting what is broken to become what is breathtaking. THE BODY is a collection of poems and short stories written in lyrical prose during the hardest moments of the author's life. This collection explores themes of love, loss, grief, seduction, creativity, consciousness, female empowerment, post-traumatic expansion, and the collective human experience. Because when words are not enough, art is the container that holds what the body cannot. And as the heart breaks open, the soul can be set free.

About the Author

Artist. Two-time TEDx talker. Singer-Songwriter. Entrepreneur. Novelist-Playwright. Ghostwriter. Mental Health Advocate. A no-holds barred journey of transformation and recovery from PTSD, Holly's story is a raw and honest testament to the power of creative resilience. Forged from the heartache of personal trauma, she's spun her pain into a wealth of creative prowess, shattering societal norms, and challenging the idea of 'spiritual bypassing.'

Holly's lyrical prose combines self-hypnosis with carefully crafted wordsmithing to ignite the senses and the soul through their musical cadence. Holly wrote, produced, and starred in her debut musical BLOOD SUPPLY: A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE LOVE STORY premiering in Los Angeles January 2023 to stellar reviews. She releases music under the artist name HOLLY HOLLOWS and resides in Los Angeles, CA.

Contact Links


Instagram: @hollyanne_mitchell

Youtube: @hollyannemitchell

Tiktok @hollyanne.mitchell


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Love Or Lies Release Blitz #rabtbooktours


Christian Romance

Date to be Published: 01-31-2024

Publisher: Pen It Publications


This touching Christian Romance follows Elizabeth’s journey to rediscover her connection with God and to unlock the true power of love

When El’s prestigious position in the company she helped to build is eliminated, she loses both her boyfriend and her place to live. Facing an uncertain future, she agrees to return home to settle her deceased aunt’s estate. But her trip down memory lane comes with a few surprises.

Her high school sweetheart turned pastor is officiating the funeral. Her antisocial aunt regularly hosted a rowdy church youth group. And mysteries hide not just in letters stashed away in a safe deposit box but also in the very pages of her aunt’s novels.

As the secrets and lies unravel, El must confront the ghosts of her past relationships, the distance between her and God, and the truth about real love. But will she give any type of love a chance?

In Love or Lies, El takes an emotional journey of self-discovery and faith to make sense of her past and look beyond the lies she’s been told. This touching Christian Romance explores what it means to rediscover a connection with God and to unlock the true power of love. 

Chapter One

With hands clenched so tight my fingers might break, I scowl at Josh as he holds up his hand, stopping me in mid-sentence … again. “El, stop. Don’t get all emotional about this. I’ve heard your opinion and have made my decision. It’s 2002, and the dot-com world is expanding quicker than anyone expected. We need to strike now or risk being passed by. Just because it’s not your idea doesn’t mean it’s not good for the company. You refuse to consider the full potential of this.” He sighs as he picks up a red folder with black trim from his desk. These are his ‘For his eyes only’ folders. “I need—” 

 There’s a knock at his open door, and Poppy, the young, perky intern, bounces into the office. All that’s missing is her cheerleader outfit, although her normal attire is far from suitable for any professional office. Why is she still here this late? 

 “Excuse me, J … uh, Mr. Baker, it’s the call you’ve been waiting for. Mr. Abernathy is on line one.” 

 Josh smiles at her. “Thank you, Poppy, and thanks for staying late. You’re free to leave and take care of that other task we discussed.” He drops the folder on his desk while picking up his phone. 

 Did his gaze linger as she pranced out? Her tight dress leaves little to the imagination. How can she even sit down in it? I shake my head and concentrate on Josh. The name of his caller is familiar from the many discussions we’ve had. “Is this about the IPO?” 

 “We’re done here. I’m not discussing this anymore.” He waves toward the door and pushes the phone button as he turns his back to me. “Jack, thanks for returning my call. How are you doing tonight?” Knowing he’s dismissed me outright, I storm out, with the clack of my Jimmy Choo high heels on the tile floor echoing along the hallway. I grab my bottle of Pellegrino off the desk and collapse into my desk chair, staring out at nothing. My cherished view of the San Francisco skyline doesn’t help calm me as I rehash this latest altercation with Josh. 

He’s my boss and has been my significant other for several years. I was here when he started this company, and we worked together over the years to make it the success it is. 

 Ever since he got this idea about an IPO, our work relationship has become rocky. The outside-of-work relationship is less ideal than I want, but what relationship is ever perfect? There’s never time for walks in the city, a night out on the town for dinner, or visiting a favorite nightspot. No more Sunday brunches, Saturday afternoon picnics, attending concerts in the park, or the other events I so enjoyed where we could relax and be a couple. 

 My office door opens, breaking my stupor, and Josh walks in. It’s later than normal, as tonight’s not the usual Friday evening for us. I’m Josh’s ride to the airport to catch the red-eye to DC. Is he here to apologize or just to get a ride? But something is off as he strides to the window without even making eye contact with me. He stares stone-faced out the window as he holds the same red and black folder out in my direction. These are for his private use. Why is he bringing it to me? 

 “What is it, Josh?” His hand seems to tremble while holding the folder out, but he still won’t glance in my direction. I take a sip of my Pellegrino while glancing at the old pendulum clock on my wall. I found it in a little secondhand shop right after I graduated. When I moved in with Josh, it didn’t fit the décor of his apartment, so I brought it here. The swinging pendulum and steady tick tick have always calmed me in the past, but they aren’t helping now. I stand and step toward him, forcing my fingers not to quiver as I take the folder. 

He’s still avoiding my gaze. “Is this about the IPO?” 

 He continues to peer out the window with only the sound of the clock reverberating through the room like it’s counting down to an inevitable tragedy. Josh’s heavy sigh interrupts this. “El, my team needs to support me and my ideas. It’s important for everyone to back the decisions I make with enthusiasm. We need to be a cohesive, solid group, putting the company’s needs first.” 

 That’s not the tone of voice I was expecting. He’s using one he reserves for delivering practiced speeches. I remove the sheets of paper from the folder. The subject line on the first page jumps out at me. 

 Termination of employment. 

 My knees go weak, and I struggle to keep my balance as I read the letter. This can’t be happening. When we first met, our visions were on parallel tracks—the same hopes, dreams, and ideas—but now we differ more than we agree. He’s always appreciated my input from a female viewpoint, knowing it’s based on solid business perspectives. But this … I finally find my voice. “You’re firing me? Are you serious?” 

 Still staring out the window, he shakes his head. “It’s not a firing. With the reorganization of the company, your position is no longer viable or sustainable. We can outsource the work for considerable savings. It’s nothing personal.” 

 “Nothing personal!” I slam the empty folder down on my desk. “Even with all your double-talk, it sounds like a firing to me, and how is it not personal?” No. I’m not losing it over this. I take a deep breath. “Is this because I don’t agree with the IPO?” 

 “Here you go again. You need to set your opinion aside and quit letting your emotions blind you to the logic of my decisions. You refuse to understand the big picture. This is the perfect time for an IPO. The expansion will put us in place with the big tech companies.” 

 I shake my head, glaring at him. “No, Josh. It’s not a mere opinion. I stand by my position. An IPO is too risky. You don’t have the financial backing you’ll need, and you could lose control of the company.” I hold out the letter, shaking it. “Is this why you’re firing me? You don’t like what I’m telling you because it doesn’t fit your grand vision?” 

 He moves from the window, now inspecting the items on my wall, still not facing me. “Again, it’s not a firing. You’ve done such a fantastic job setting up our financial foundation that everything is working great. Because of this, eliminating your position is one change we’re able to make.” 

 With one hand on my hip, I grimace while waving the letter in my other hand at him. “That’s absurd. You’re saying I no longer have a job because I was so good at my job? Even for you, that’s quite a stretch, Josh. If I’m so good, why won’t you listen to me? Let me make it clear. You don’t have the finances for an IPO.” I huff in disgust and toss the pages on my desk. 

 He moves to my credenza and picks up the framed picture of the two of us with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. He waves his other hand in my direction. “I’m giving you two weeks’ notice, but I’d like you to use this weekend to clear out your office. It will be less disruptive if you don’t return on Monday. You know, make a clean break. It’ll be best all the way around.” 

 I struggle to keep my dignity intact. He’d want nothing more than me throwing a fit. This would justify all his comments. I take several deep breaths as I frown at him with crossed arms. “Best for the company or for you?” 

 He sets the picture down and picks up the one of us at the bottom of Lombard Street. “For all. It will give you time to decide what you want for your future. You can make plans and research your options. You’ll get the two weeks’ pay and credit for any accrued vacation time as noted, plus the full severance package detailed in your contract. I’m not shorting you anything in this separation.” 

 Wait? What? He doesn’t mean more than the job? He can’t be. I take a step back with my head to one side and scrutinize him. “We’re still talking about the job, correct? How do I want to move forward regarding a job?” 

 He sets the picture down and gives a quick glance my way. “There’s also a letter of reference. You’re good at what you do, El. One of the best I know, but it’s no longer workable or conducive to this company.” 

 He’s still avoiding eye contact, a sure sign there’s something else going on. After all the meetings we’ve attended, I know him well. “You didn’t answer my question.” While staring daggers at him, I shift my stance. “Is this only concerning the job or something more?” 

 With another sigh, he steps away from the credenza and stops in front of my desk, straightening my nameplate. “Let’s be honest. Things outside of work aren’t going well for us either. It’s like we want different things. We’re no longer on the same track, and this decision will complicate things even more.” He glances at the Rolex I gave him on his last birthday. “This is the perfect time for us to make a clean break. The timing couldn’t be better. You can use the two weeks I’m in DC to pack and find your own place.” In disbelief, I slam my fists on the desk, bouncing my nameplate. With another deep breath to control my anger, I lean toward him. “You’re telling me this now? Right now? As we need to leave for the airport. You’re firing and dumping me?” 

 He takes a quick step back and shakes his head while holding his hands up. “I’m not dumping or firing you. It’s more us parting ways.” He gives another slight wave. “Plus, I’m taking my car to the airport, so you don’t need to bother.” Still, without ever making eye contact for long, he steps toward the door to leave. 

 “Josh, wait. That’s it? Thank you for your service, and it’s been fun, but time to move on. Are you kidding me?” 

 He stops and, with another heavy sigh, glances back my way. “Don’t get all emotional and make a big scene over this. This is nothing but a business decision. I’m sure you sensed it coming as much as I did. We’re not the same people we were when we met. I’ve grown, and so have my ideas and plans for this company. This is the time to expand. 

Two weeks should be enough time to pack your things and find another place. You can still use the car during this time and park it in the garage at the end.” 

 The end. Is this really happening? “You’re taking away my job, my car, and my home? All on a Friday night as you fly off for two weeks?” 

 His gaze lowers to the floor. “El, it’s not me. I’m not taking anything away. It’s for the corporation. The position is being cut, and the company leases the car. As for the other … I’m not sure you could call it a home, more like a place to live. Believe me, this is best for both of us. Once you get past your emotions, you’ll see that.” 

 His expression is as familiar as his tone of voice. He wants to appear reluctant and disappointed in the decision he’s forced to make, but in reality, he isn’t. How long has he been planning this? 

 “Best for the corporation, huh? Don’t try that on me. You’re getting ahead of yourself. There is no corporation or corporate board yet. I’m the one who helped set up this company. There’s only the company. Guess I should be glad you made the ultimate sacrifice and told me in person. Couldn’t bring yourself to do it in an email? ‘El, it’s over. Move out.’” My laser-focused eyes could cut him in half, but he never raises his gaze. “I appreciate the personal touch.” 

 “Like I said, I’m sorry it’s come to this. My decision to do an IPO makes sense, and I know you don’t agree. My team must be behind this one hundred percent, and you’ve made it clear you can’t support my decision. Division in the company is not helpful as we make the announcement. It’s a sign of weakness.” His phone beeps, and he checks it before putting it back in his coat pocket. “I’m sorry, I need to go. Leave the keys to the car and the apartment on the kitchen counter once you’ve finished moving.” He turns and opens the door to leave. 

 “Josh, wait. You’re walking out after telling me this like it’s nothing more than a minor disagreement?” 

 He stops in the doorway, finally glancing back at me. “No, I know it’s not a minor thing, but I’ve made my decision, and I don’t have time to discuss it further. By the time I return, I’m sure you’ll have thought it through and will agree. It’s for the best.” He gives me a slight smile. “You take care.” 

 The sound of the door closing underscores my feelings of anger and frustration. I’m in disbelief. Did this happen for real? My gaze finds the pages of the letter spread across my desk. It’s true. It happened. I should run after him and make him talk this through. But I can’t move. After seven years working with Josh to build this company and almost six years as a couple, the last three of which we lived together, I’m out. I’m thirty-two years old with no job, no car, no home, and I’m alone. Almost halfway through, and 2002 is not going how I thought it would. Where did things go off the rails?

About the Author

Born in Muncie, IN, Craig is as typical middle-America as they come. He was young when his parents divorced and his grandmother came to live with him, his mother, and two sisters. Seeing his grandmother’s faith in God on a regular basis led him to accept and know everything is okay, God’s in charge.

Craig served 20 years in the U.S. Air Force and followed this as a DoD contractor where he had multiple tours overseas and around the U.S. While there were events in his life that tested his faith in God, nothing compared to when his first son was born with major medical issues. As a twenty-one-year-old father with a young devastated wife, his faith had never been tested more. After enduring several surgeries, some considered experimental, his son passed away at six months and two weeks. But even in his brief life, he had a tremendous impact on Craig and others.

Since then, God has blessed Craig with two more sons and has been a constant guidance in his life. Craig’s time in the military and as a contractor afterward included over 20 years overseas, where he was part of local mission churches. On their last return to the states, God led him and his wife to Oklahoma, where he teaches Bible studies and serves in a local church.

The memory of what God did to help him through his parent’s divorce, his son’s illness and death, and many other events in his life, has led him to want to share what impact God had and has with him.

Nowhere are we promised a life without tragedies, setbacks, problems, or devastating events we have no control over, but God’s word does promise, ‘It’s okay, God’s in charge.’


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Twitter: @ch875299_craig




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Return to Lerici Blurb Blitz #GoddessFish


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Rachel Dacus will be awarding a $15 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

A suspenseful, uplifting story of second chances, family bonds, and redemption.

Sisters Elinor and Saffron rarely see eye-to-eye, but they agree that an unknown half-brother appearing in their lives can only spell trouble. The Greene sisters want to support their ailing mother, Betsy, as they gather in their cottage in Lerici, Italy. But they don’t want Betsy to keep searching for Baby Boy, the only name they have on faded adoption papers.

While the Greenes debate, Baby Boy finds them. A rough childhood has led Daniel to a life as a thief. When he learns of his connection to the wealthy Greenes, he decides to scam them. He goes to Italy and using a fake identity observes them at close range. Watching these people makes him ache for what he never had—a loving family.

Betsy is touched by the young man’s story and guesses their hidden connection. Discovering his true identity, she asks the family to help him. But Daniel’s shady past is catching up and putting the Greenes at risk. Should they bring their lost lamb into the fold—and can he claim his heritage if it endangers his family?

Read an Excerpt:

Robert sang a few words. “How about this?”

“I don’t know it, but it sounds good.”

“It’s my own. I wrote it.”

He began to strum, accompanying his soft voice, and Betsy had another jolt of recognition. It was the voice. There was so much of a similarity in the timbre that it made her ache. She wondered what Elinor would think if she came in while he was singing and heard Nathan’s singing voice coming out of this young man.

The song soothed her every aching muscle and bone. It did her body good and her nerves too. Like a fond memory, it wrapped her in the sensation that life was good and harmonious, that there was honey in every breeze and heaven just around the corner. He had a gift, this fellow. He definitely had talent. So how had he wound up tinkering with plumbing in Lerici? Maybe her intuition was true, and he had come for them.

Betsy lay back as he sang, her arm across her eyes, and thought of days past when musicians sang just for her, and she went home with one of them. Days long before Nathan and his stuffy circle of academics. The music was pulling her back to a time when she could relax and be herself, and her stuffy daughter didn’t criticize her every impulse and comment. She understood that Elinor felt criticized by her; what Elinor didn’t realize is that she’d adopted Betsy’s habit of sharp comments. And somewhere—God knew where—she’d picked up that skepticism that was going to burn her sweetheart down, if she didn’t marry the wonderful Tonio soon.

Robert strummed a last chord, his voice fading into the silence.

She sat up and looked at him. They stared at each other for a moment.

“You remind me of someone,” she murmured. “My ex-husband, Nathan.”

Why didn’t Robert look surprised?

About the Author
Rachel Dacus is the author of six novels, four time travel books in the Timegathering Series and two books of women’s fiction. She has also published four poetry collections. Rachel’s work has appeared widely in print and online, in journal that include Boulevard, Gargoyle, and Prairie Schooner. Her poetry is in the anthologies Fire and Rain: Ecopoetry of California and Radiant DisUnities: Real Ghazals in English. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.



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Skin and Bones New Release Blitz and Review #GayBookPromotions



Book Title:  SKIN and BONES (London Love)

Author and Publisher: Sophia Soames

Cover Artist: Christina Stern

Release Date: January 31, 2024

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: Hurt/Comfort, Grumpy/Sunshine

Themes: Eating disorder, domestic violence, hotel setting.

Heat Rating: 3 flames

Length: 92 000 words       

SKIN AND BONES is best enjoyed if read after TASTE.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.



Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Universal Link  |    Amazon US  |   Amazon UK    


  Blurb Hugo Burrows has life under control. He's got a decent job, a long-term relationship and a flat in Canary Wharf. It's all under control. It's just becoming a little problematic trying to hold everything together. Keeping the bruises on his skin hidden away. A smile plastered on his face. Controlling the calories he allows his body to consume. And now his boss is on his back with too many questions, and the grumpy French head chef keeps staring at him like he's a freak or something. Everything is under control. It has to be. Ben Desjardins may be the Head Chef at the Clouds Hotel but he definitely hasn't got anything under control. His relationship with his best friend is crumbling and simply turning up for work seems to automatically cause never ending chaotic disasters. Yet there is something about the new concierge that has crawled straight under his prickly skin. Ben doesn't need more complications in his life. The last thing he needs is to inconveniently, and reluctantly... fall in love. SKIN AND BONES is best enjoyed if read after TASTE.

Reader Advisory. This book contains the following topics: Eating disorders, OCD, domestic violence and sexual assault. Please look after yourself and take care if these topics could upset you.   


So, the new concierge, his name was Hugo, and he was tall and skinny—far too skinny if you asked me—with a head full of bouncy blonde curls, thick, dark eyebrows over deep-set eyes, sharp cheekbones and plump, puffy lips. He seemed like a nice bloke, stood up for himself. Finn moaned about him, saying something about the guy being great at his job but an untidy bugger. The floor around his desk was always a disaster zone of scrunched-up pieces of paper and torn-up leaflets. Finn wasn’t wrong. I could see stuff on the floor from where I was, while Hugo gave directions to some guests, arms flailing, his phone miraculously still pinched between his cheek and his shoulder. He smiled at something. I smiled too. He had that kind of smile.

Dropping my cigarette on the ground, I squashed out the embers with my shoe. So sue me. I was French. Had grown up there, then moved to England with my mum in my teens and had to adapt to being Ben instead of Benjamin after my arsehole dad kicked us out. I didn’t take shit from anyone.

It hadn’t been bad. Just…my life hadn’t become quite what I’d expected.

I strode back through the lobby with confidence, smiling politely at our maître d’hôtel, who pursed their lips at me. Yeah, I was a dick. I had tomato juice down my front, and my apron was covered in cooking fat. I looked a state and shouldn’t be anywhere near paying guests. I knew it. Mabel knew it. I actually liked them. A lot. Today, our super-efficient restaurant leader rocked a shocking-pink dress and sky-high heels with a face full of make-up. Some days, they presented as a stunning bloke, other days, like today, they wouldn’t look out of place on the cover of a women’s fashion magazine, and they knew it too.

“Looking good, Mabs.”

“Oh shut it, Ben.” They grinned and blushed while giving me a full head-to-toe inspection. “You really need to go change, babes. Honestly, you’ll give Mark a heart attack.”

“You mean I look that good?” I laughed, enjoying another of Mabel’s many smirks.

“You look like shit, babes. How are you ever going to get laid when you walk around looking like someone has dragged you face down through the walk-in fridge?”

“Bah,” I huffed and left them to it. I washed my hands and ripped off my apron, dropping it in the laundry chute and grabbing a fresh one from the shelf before glancing over the line. All under control. Nobody panicking.

“Watch the liquid,” I commented to one of the trainees as they flipped a tray of mushrooms into a serving dish and splattered juice all over the hot plate. Yeah. Newbies. They had to learn, usually the hard way, and there wasn’t much I could do other than show them how to do it the right way, remind them to watch the bloody timings, let them make mistakes and hope they didn’t kill themselves in the process.

I looked down at my own battered hands. I had too many scars to count. Cuts, burns. My hands had survived years of being battered on the rugby pitch, which was nothing compared to getting fingers stuck in blenders and close encounters with sharp knives.

I blamed my mum, getting me into cooking when my hand-eye coordination had been blasted to hell. I had to concentrate, not be stressed, keep focused for my mind to function the way it was supposed to, not that it ever did, and this was a working kitchen. My entire shift was always one huge, stress-induced, disaster-prone trial.

“You all right?” Mark appeared next to me in his immaculate suit, his hair up in a tidy man-bun and eyebrows tightly knitted. Arms crossed, he surveyed our little world. Him and me, we were brothers, partners in crime, a duo of idiots who should have known better, but we worked well together, and there was nowhere else I would rather work than here with him by my side.

“All good,” I said, mirroring his pose.

“The boys out there,” he said conspiratorially. “They’re placing bets on who can get a hook-up with Hugo. There’s good money involved.”

“Hell.” I sighed, rolled my eyes harder than Mabel. “He gay then?”

“I went over and asked him. He just laughed, so yeah. Between you and me, he lives with his long-term boyfriend down in Canary Wharf, so I think all the boys are barking up a dead tree, but I’m not going to tell them. Are you?”

“Nah.” I laughed. I wasn’t. As long as they did their job and made my food look good, I wasn’t getting involved with anything. And anyway, this Hugo? None of my business.

Rolling up my sleeves, I plonked my arse down by my little office set-up and logged into the laptop. I had orders to sign off, menus to plan, things to do. A life to live. Mark shook his head and disappeared back out to the restaurant.

This Hugo? God help him.

About the Author

Sophia Soames should be old enough to know better but has barely grown up. She has been known to fangirl over TV shows, has fallen in and out of love with more popstars than she dares to remember, and has a ridiculously high-flying (un-)glamourous real-life job.

Her long-suffering husband just laughs at her antics. Their children are feral. The dogs are too.

She lives in a creaky old house in rural London, although her heart is still in her native Scandinavia.

Discovering that the stories in her head make sense when written down has been part of the most hilarious midlife crisis ever, and she hopes it may long continue.


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Ornery Owl's Review

Four out of Five Stars

This book tackles difficult topics and does so in both a realistic and a sensitive fashion. Ben is a gifted chef who lives with the results of a brain injury sustained years earlier when he was attacked. Hugo is a concierge living with an eating disorder. He severely restricts his food intake, living mostly on nutrition bars. He is also hiding the secret of the abusive relationship he remains trapped in. When Ben offers Hugo a place to live while he gets on his feet, an unexpected bond forms between the pair.

It is rare to find stories willing to include characters with neurological differences in more than a peripheral fashion. It is also rare even in stories that address issues such as escape from domestic abuse and recovery from disordered eating in a realistic way. Many stories covering these topics end on an overly optimistic note. Hugo acknowledges that he will always be broken and he will always fight the battle with PTSD from the sexual and physical assaults on him by his abusive partner as well as always having to be vigilant about falling back into the grip of his eating disorder. 

I appreciated the fact that the author did not deem it necessary for Ben and Hugo to fall into the sex as healing trope/trap. Their emotional connection was the most significant part of their bond. This was refreshing. 

The author managed to discuss Hugo's obsession with thinness without shaming larger people. I found this commendable. 

The sole reason why I did not rate this book five stars is because I find the term "queer" problematic. I acknowledge that the author used this term with the intention of being inclusive. I would personally never use it. I realize the term is currently in vogue, but for many homosexuals, it remains an abusive slur. 

Overall, Skin and Bones is a well-written and powerful story that I recommend for readers who enjoy slow-burn, low-heat romance that tackles difficult topics.

Review for Taste

Four out of five stars

This book tells the story of Finn Christensen, the front office manager of the Clouds Hotel, and Mark Quinton, the restaurant manager. This story comes in hot with Finn sitting in the balcony at London's Bound and Caged nightclub, which is exactly the kind of place it sounds like. The patrons get busy in view of one another. Finn's attention is focused on an attractive guy getting his groove on with two other men. Finn eventually approaches the guy and they get busy up against the wall in a grungy corridor. When they finish, the object of Finn's desire shouts that this will never happen again. This is when the reader begins to learn about Finn and Mark's dysfunctional pushme-pullyou relationship. 

There is a lot of drama in this story and there were times when I found myself thinking these characters were really, really, really bad for each other. Sometimes things are worth fighting for and sometimes fighting for them will tear people apart. I won't reveal the outcome. I will say you should read this book before reading Skin and Bones.

Sophia Soames excels at creating relatable, troubled characters. You won't find any Gary Stus stinking up the place. Finn and Mark both have their own troubles to work through if their toxic, co-dependent relationship has a snowball's chance in hell of becoming a healthy, healing bond. 

My only issue with the book was the same issue I have with a lot of modern gay fiction. It's similar to the issue I have with the blockbuster film Avatar. In Avatar's case, James Cameron was too heavy-handed with the message that destroying natural resources and native habitats is bad. It is a message I agree with, but I don't need it crammed down my throat.

Similarly, in Taste, Mark prides himself (no pun intended) on the eatery's "new and improved concept seating, our awesome new bar area, the uber-cool, LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere and, of course, the locally sourced, simplified, home-cooked menu."

In modern times, unless one is in a deeply backward location, the staff is not going to behave in a hostile manner towards gay patrons. Even in the little podunk town where I live, the flamboyant young man who wears stereotypically feminine clothing (dresses and high heels) could walk into the general store, order food, and be treated respectfully. I'm not even sure what would differentiate an LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere from a neutral atmosphere other than a plethora of pride flags.

Taste has a quicker pace than Skin and Bones. The atmosphere tends to be more lively. This isn't a criticism of either book. Both of them have the correct tone and setting for their particular situation. 

Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Game On #GayBookPromotions


Author and Publisher: Amy Aislin

Cover Artist: LC Chase

Release Date: January 30, 2024

Genre: Contemporary M/M hockey romance

Tropes: Roommates, forced proximity, hockey, slow burn

Themes: taking risks, trusting yourself

Length: 69 000 words / 275 pages

Heat Rating:  3 flames

 It’s book three in the Vancouver Orcas trilogy, but can be read on its own.

It does not end on a cliffhanger.


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When he broke off his engagement to his team captain's brother the day before their wedding, Jamie Jamieson swore he'd never get involved with anyone associated with a teammate again. Getting traded to the Orcas is a chance at a fresh start, but one glance at his new housemate, and Jamie knows he's in way over his head. 

Dorian is his new coach's cousin. And his team's social media coordinator. And his housemate. 

It's the trifecta of bad ideas.

Dorian Shore doesn't do hockey. He's lived by that rule for years, ever since a season playing as a kid left him with emotional scars. But his new housemate—a big, buff, beautiful athlete who gets under his skin—makes him seriously consider doing a hockey player.

It’s not a good idea.

They live together.

They work together.

When the sparks between them ignite, will it be game on or game over?

Start the trilogy with Game Plan (Vancouver Orcas 1) 

for only $0.99 until February 4


It was Jamie’s own bad luck that Dorian looked like a walking, talking version of his every wet dream. He was tall—more or less Jamie’s own height of six two—and slender but toned, with a pointed chin and a small nose. His skin was winter pale, several shades lighter than Jamie’s more naturally tan tones, and it contrasted sharply with the two days’ worth of stubble on his jaw and upper lip and the rich brown hair that looked thick enough for Jamie to grab onto.


“Where’s the rest of your stuff?” Dorian peered around him. “Still in the car?”

“Nah, this is it,” Jamie said, forcing his mind back on track. “I’ll head back to Charlotte at the end of the season for the rest of it and have it shipped to a storage unit so I don’t clutter up your home.” Assuming Jamie hadn’t found a place to live by then.

“You don’t have to do that. I’ve got the space. We can store your stuff in the basement.”

“I thought you were putting Jamieson in the basement,” Coach piped in, arms crossed over his chest. With his height, thick beard, and broad shoulders, it made him look imposing as fuck.

“There’s no bed down there,” Dorian said.

“You could’ve gotten one.”

“Uh, I’d really rather have a bedroom than a basement,” Jamie interjected, picturing a lone bed among exposed pipes, insulation, and spiders. The stuff a kid’s nightmares were made of.

“Oh, it’s finished,” Dorian said, waving a hand. “There are three bedrooms down there, as well as a full kitchen and a separate entrance.”

Three bedrooms? In the basement?

“Exactly,” Coach said. “Had you put a bed in one of the rooms, Jamieson would’ve had his own apartment.”

Dorian crossed his arms over his chest, matching Coach’s posture, and glared, his eyes going all fiery. “Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose? You’re the one who said you didn’t want him in a sterile apartment. Trust me, my basement is very fucking sterile.”

Jamie had just come from a team where he’d been treated like a pariah after his breakup with the team captain’s brother, and now he had two men arguing over what would make him most comfortable.

He didn’t quite swallow a laugh. His aborted chuckle drew the gaze of both men.

Rolling his eyes, Dorian huffed a breath. “You’re right. We’re being stupid.”

Now Jamie laughed outright. “I didn’t say anything.”

“Your face said it all.”

Well. That was probably true.

About the Author 

Amy’s lived with her head in the clouds since she first picked up a book as a child, and being fluent in two languages means she’s read a lot of books! She first picked up a pen on a rainy day in fourth grade when her class had to stay inside for recess. Tales of treasure hunts with her classmates eventually morphed into love stories between men, and she’s been writing ever since. She writes evenings and weekends—or whenever she isn’t at her full-time day job saving the planet at Canada’s largest environmental non-profit.

An unapologetic introvert, Amy reads too much and socializes too little, with no regrets. She loves connecting with readers. Join her Facebook Group to stay up-to-date on upcoming releases and for access to early teasers, find her on Instagram, or sign up for her infrequent newsletter.

Social Media Links

Blog/Website  |  Facebook  |  Instagram

Newsletter Sign-up  |  Facebook Group 


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Grimdarke Teaser Tuesday #rabtbooktours

Maw of Mayhem MC, Book 1


Shifter Romance

Date to be Published: February 2, 2024

Publisher: Changeling Press


Out of options and on the run after her psychotic father’s released from prison, Kit Parson heads to the only place she might be safe from him, the Maw of Mayhem MC. The unexpected move buys her time, but also puts her at risk. Surrounded by shifters, her inner cat begs to be released, and after witnessing a brutal attack on her mother as a child, she refuses to let the monster out. Totally doable, provided no bodily fluids are ever exchanged.

That takes the MC’s hot-as-hell VP, Grimdarke James, officially off the table. Mourning the recent murder of the club’s alpha and struggling to control his inner cat, the tattooed Viking god is on thin ice. If he goes feral again, he’ll be put down. Which makes his cat’s insistence that Kit belongs to him problematic, upsetting the delicate balance of the MC’s internal politics, and the woman blackmailing Grim.

But when Kit’s father catches up with her, Grim has no choice but to trust his cat, and Kit can’t deny their chemistry. Can they hold on to each other when everything is trying to tear them apart? After a gruesome triple murder propels them deeper into the paranormal world, they find themselves with unlikely allies, even as their enemies threaten to destroy everything they hold dear.


Copyright ©2024 AK Nevermore


Upstate New York in the fall was beautiful, and it made Kit want to puke.

She gripped the steering wheel tighter, her sweaty palms slicking the leather, and glanced in her rearview, then at her phone’s GPS. No service -- again. Damn it. This was not where she wanted to be…

Wait. Signs for a trailhead were coming up. Thank you, sweet baby Jesus. She pulled onto the shoulder, staring blankly at the plexi-covered map tacked onto the tiny shelter in front of the car. Woodbine Swamp Trail. Shit. She’d missed the turn-off for the house. Ugh! How could everything in this shit town look the same and so frickin’ different all at once?!

Fifteen years will do that, genius.

Her forehead dropped to the steering wheel, bumping it thrice. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. She couldn’t do this. She couldn’t --

Goddamnit, girl, grow a pair!

Enough. Wasn’t like she had a choice. She pushed back in her seat and slapped the car in reverse, hoping like hell there wasn’t anything behind her. Frickin’ hatchback was stuffed to the gills with the sad remains of her life, and she wasn’t up for losing any more of it.

Kit dashed away a tear. And whose fault was that?

She just had to blow shit up. Couldn’t duck her head and keep punching numbers, because lay low was too big of a fucking ask. Nope, fuck overtime at the accounting firm, had to go out there and twerk her ass at the club, knowing full well that milkshake wasn’t gonna bring anything but trouble to her yard.

Her mind leapt to that tall drink of golden Viking god pissing in a sink, covered in tattoos and oozing temptation. Yup. Case in point, and as much as it shocked the shit out of her, she’d been into him.

So fucking into him, like, wanted him into her.

Not happening.

She bit at a cuticle, trying to ignore the very real possibility she was about to deliver herself to his doorstep, and the fact that her panties had just soaked clean through.

Son of a -- Chanté would quip something about chickens coming home to roost, but they weren’t even Kit’s damned chickens. And why the fuck chickens? Woman was NYC born and raised, you’d think she’d have useless witticisms about pigeons.

Damn, though. He was fiiine…

Stop it.

You’d think she’d be more concerned about the shifter shadowing her for the past two weeks… the one whose face starred in her nightmares. Reaper hadn’t approached her, but his message was clear, and like a fucking cat, he’d been playing with her.

… Run, little mouse…

Kit’s teeth clenched at the memory of her father’s gravelly twang. She put the car in gear and kept driving in the wrong direction. Away from the house, toward the last damned place she wanted to go, and the only place she had left. Two weeks of couch surfing and shitty motels had made that abundantly clear, and her flat fucking broke.

Back to the scene of the crime, the one place she hoped like hell he didn’t have the balls to go back to.

Motorcycles rumbled in the distance and her gut threatened to rebel, cold sweat pebbling her skin. She licked the anxiety from her lips.

The rumble grew, and a moment later a stream of leather and exhaust whipped by her as a convoy of bikes sped past, heading back toward civilization. A manic giggle burbled from her throat, and she took a slow --

Shit! Gas pedal, girl, you gotta keep your shit together…

Focus. Drive to the damned compound. One more mile.

… And keep it together. Hah! Fat fucking chance. She blew out a breath, her temples thudding with the beginnings of a migraine. Goddamn. After all those years of praying to be out from under Claymore James’s thumb… this had not been part of the fantasy.

Getting shit-faced, twerking on his grave, and then setting the MC’s compound on fire, yes. Pulling up to the chain-link gate and asking to see Mud Knuckle?

Nope. Can’t say that’d made the list, but here she was.

I mean really, Mud Knuckle? Kit sighed, rubbing a temple. If she needed any further confirmation her life had officially gone to shit: Ta-frickin’-da.

One of the dopey-looking prospects manning the gate eyed her, pursing his lips. The scraggly little pornstache he was rocking made his mouth look like a porcupine’s asshole.

Moron leaned in her window. “Ain’t no muddy knuckles here.” He snickered, shooting his zit-infested buddy a look.

Kit sighed. Great, they were gonna fuck with he

“Nah,” Zits said, ambling closer to leer. “But I ain’t opposed to rectifyin’ that situation.” He grinned, making a lewd gesture.

Whoo. Ten points for originality there, son. She rolled her eyes and unbuckled her seatbelt. It was showtime. The two high school rejects scrambled back, wide-eyed when she threw open the door and got out, leaving the hoodie she’d permanently borrowed from Chanté on the seat. Fuck, it was hypothermia cold.

“What? I thought we was ‘wreck-t-fyin’ that sits-e-ate-shon,’” she finger quoted, mimicking his dipshit twang and cocking a hip.

Pornstache’s throat bobbed, taking in her tight tee and yoga pants. God, men were pigs. Pathetic, predictable pigs. Flash them braless DDs, and their brains shorted out faster than a hairdryer in a bathtub. Add the fact that her nipples were hard enough to cut glass, and the poor boys didn’t stand a chance.

“Uh, yeah.” Pornstache tugged on his cut and cleared the squeak from his throat. Slack-jawed, Zits smacked his shoulder, earning himself a glare. “I mean, hell yeah. We’re down, baby.”

Kit arched her back, stretching. Damn, that felt good after five hours behind the wheel. Pornstache groaned like he was about to wreck-t-fy in his pants. She sauntered over and ran a finger down his sternum.

“Then how ‘bout you boys open the gate so I can move my car out of the way and get down to business.”

Zits moved so fast he just about face-planted rushing to unlatch the big chain-link section on wheels blocking the compound’s access road. He’d pulled it halfway across the pavement by the time Kit got back into her car. Pornstache shook his head like a dog, blinking as the door clunked shut, and he stumbled over to help his buddy.


Kit almost felt bad as she drove past, waggling her fingers.

Okay, no, she didn’t. She wriggled back into the hoodie, one hand on the wheel and shivering. Her stomach churned as she drove around the last bend to the chapter house, half expecting the entire club to be out there waiting for her. The woods opened up --

And the lot was empty.

Of frickin’ course it was empty. The funeral was today. Now. She could still make it. Wasn’t that why she’d blown out of the city so fast? To spit on Claymore’s grave like she’d told Chanté she was going to? Get some kind of fucked-up closure?

Yeah, has nothing to do with the fact you’re being stalked by a psycho.

Kit bit back a sob, coasting the last few hundred feet to a stop in front of the long, two-storied building. It was ugly. A dark, cinderblock gray, squatting against a barren hillside. She bit her lip, eyes flicking to the last window on the left, waiting for the shitty mini blinds to part.

They didn’t. Wouldn’t.

Dead. Everything looked fucking dead. Probably because it was.

Fuck this shit. She jerked up the emergency brake and killed the engine. Slammed the door open, then shut. Stomped across the half-frozen muddy lot, odd bits of gravel and glass crunching beneath her boots. Eyes fixed on the burnt-out jaws scored into the surface of the MC’s chapter house door, she approached the belly of the beast -- and stepped into the Maw of Mayhem.

About the Author

AK Nevermore enjoys operating heavy machinery, freebases coffee, and gives up sarcasm for Lent every year. A Jane-of-all-trades, she’s a certified chef, restores antiques, and dabbles in beekeeping when she’s not reading voraciously or running down the dream in her beat-up camo Chucks.

Unable to ignore the voices in her head, and unwilling to become medicated, she writes Science Fiction and Fantasy full time.

She pays the bills editing, wielding a wicked hot pink pen and writing a column on SFF. She also belongs to the Authors Guild, is a chapter treasurer for the RWA, teaches creative writing, and on the rare occasion, sleeps.


Contact Links

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Publisher on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok: @changelingpress

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Ornery's Gambit Teaser Tuesday #rabtbooktours

Ornery Owl's Poetry Collection


Date Published: 02-15-2024

Publisher: Naughty Netherworld Press


The poems, story, and thoughts included in this brief volume were inspired by the independently produced album Wayward and Upward by Spinoza Gambit. The story Prodigal Moon and the poem 401 Rush were included in the Wayward and Upward anthology published by Off Topic Press.

I opted to publish this book on my 59th birthday. It would be a wonderful gift to learn that my work inspired you or led you to learn more about the Wayward and Upward album and anthology.


With love,

Ornery Owl 


About Prodigal Moon

I was inspired by the idea of something that disappears and returns on a predictable schedule (the visible moon) and something that cannot return (a lost love.)

Prodigal Moon

Prodigal moon

You can spin me a silent tune

But you can’t return my love to me

I dare you to try

Catch him on the fly

Before he escapes ‘cross the sea 

Prodigal Moon

A short story about a long-lasting friendship.

Deborah Virgo and Valentins Hines met on the first day of summer 2017. The youngsters lived at the wrong end of Fox Avenue. The electricity had been turned off in Valentins’s house, but he didn’t mind sitting on the covered porch painting figurines. His mother, Doriend Hines, was gone most of the time, working at the Daily Grind Bistro or The Zealous Whistle Tavern or staying overnight with old folks who paid her under the table for her caregiving services. Doriend was a workaholic who would have been thriving monetarily if not for being a functional alcoholic and opioid addict with a love of gambling. 

Valentins was sitting on the porch at dusk, painting a vampire figurine for his haunted house, when a wraithlike girl with an alabaster complexion and waves of xanthic hair flowing to her mid-back entered the gate. She was wearing a knee-length olive-green gown that looked like it might have been all the rage in the 1920s and a pair of shiny, malachite-green shoes. 

 “Hello,” the girl greeted.

 “Hi yourself,” Valentins returned. 

“I’m Deborah Virgo. My family just moved into the house across the road from you.” 

“Valentins Hines.” 

“Could I see what you’re working on?” 

“Sure. Come on up.” 

The girl appeared to float just above the ground as she crossed the lawn. Her rose-colored lips bowed in a reserved smile. As she drew closer, Valentins noticed her unusual eyes. At first, he supposed that the rufous shade was a trick of the light, but the color remained constant when the battery-operated lantern shone directly on the girl’s face.

About the Author

Ornery Owl is a wise old bird who seeks the truth behind the lies. She uses her observations to heal the wounded soul. In essence, she is the spirit of an odd little bird whose wings were clipped at a young age. She is at once a whimsical manifestation of poetic expression and a fierce protector of those targeted for derision by an angry and unsympathetic world. Depending on how you perceive her, she can be either a goddamned delight or your worst nightmare.


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