Thursday, February 28, 2013

Serial Killer? Yes, please! The Following and more...

It's been a while since I talked about what I'm watching, and I've begun to watch some great new shows, so let's get to it!

First, anyone who knows me knows I love serial killers - Hannibal Lecter, Dexter Morgan, Sweeney Todd, Gretchen Lowell... I find them all fascinating. In fact, I've created my own serial killer recently and plan to expand on that short flash that I did, There is a new show on Fox that involves a serial killer, so of course I had to check it out. it didn't hurt that Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy are the main characters.

The Following airs on Fox on Monday nights. James Purefoy is Joe Carroll, the incarcerated serial killer, an English professor with a penchant for Edgar Allan Poe and for killing. He is a very charismatic man, and he has a number of followers whom he has trained to obey his every command, and whom he controls even inside prison. You may remember James Purefoy as Marc Antony in the wonderful series Rome. Kevin Bacon is Ryan Hardy is the FBI agent that brought Joe down - and also had an affair with Mrs. Carroll (played by Natalie Zea, who certainly gets around this year. She's also Raylan Givens' ex Winona in Justified and the crazy lady who tried to kill Hank Moody (David Duchovny) in Californication.

There has been a fantastic storyline going on that involves Joe's young son, Joey, his nanny, and the gay next door neighbors, who kidnap the young boy and all efforts are directed toward finding and rescuing him. This is a really good show, I'm enjoying the heck out of it, and look forward to seeing more of it. Why can't you write Vampire Diaries like this, Kevin Williamson? Maybe it wouldn't suck so much if you did. Just sayin'.

Also on Monday nights is a program I started watching on TNT, believe it or not, an original series called Monday Mornings, involving the morbidity and mortality meetings at Chelsea General, starring Ving Rhames and Alfred Molina. Molina is chief of surgery, Rhames chief of trauma. There's an obnoxious transplant surgeon, an overachieving female doctor, a Korean surgeon with a minimal command of English, a brain surgeon who is cheating on her husband with another member of the staff, and more. I'm really enjoying this show a lot so far. My favorite character is Dr. Sung, who cut to the chase when talking to a patient and his family regarding the proposed surgery: "No do, dead."  I hope my liking this show doesn't doom it to failure.

I would tell you about Do No Harm, which involved a Jekyll/Hyde doctor, and his struggle to keep his evil alter ego in check, but alas, they cancelled it after two episodes, to my great chagrin. I'm pissed at NBC for that, coming on the heels of their cancellation of Awake. You disappoint me greatly, NBC.

Last night saw the finale of Top Chef Seattle, and what a season it was!  ****SPOILERS***** As you may recall, I was bitterly disappointed to see my favorite chef voted off far too early, Kristen, especially when obnoxious chefs were still there, like Josie. (At least Carla was already gone). I was disappointed when Stefan was cut too. But I held on to the hope that Kristen would re-emerge through the auspices of the Last Chance Kitchen, and she did, becoming the third chef, along with Brooke and Sheldon. I was hoping Sheldon would be eliminated and the two women would face off, and that's just how it went. Kristen and Brooke went on to LA for the finale, which was done before a live audience, and they had former team members as sous chefs. I was surprised that Kristen didn't use her "husband" Stefan. Each chef planned five courses. As each course was judged, the judge would pick their favorite between the two, and the first chef to gain three votes in a round was the winner of that round. First chef to win three rounds would win Top Chef. Kristen won the first round, Brooke the second, but then Kristen took the next two and became Top Chef.  Yay! Wonder what they'll do  next, now that this is done?

Sweet Genius ended its seasons, alas, and in its place we have been given Chef Wanted, with Anne Burrell. There was a similar show that didn't last long, Chef Hunter. I have to say that although I like Anne, this show leaves me, not cold, but not exactly excited to watch it either. If I have to record it rather than watch it when it airs, no big deal. It's interesting viewing, but adding Anne to the equation didn't make it better in my book, and it's fairly predictable. Four chefs begin, competing for a spot at a restaurant that is desperate for a new head chef and has turned to Anne for help. Two are eliminated in the first two challenges, and the remaining two each take charge of the restaurant for a night, plan their menus, and do a full dinner service. There is invariably at least one contestant that you look at and wonder why they are even there, they're so obviously mismatched. Then, when it comes to the dinner service, all the auditioning chefs have problems and have to over come them. Then the owner/owners make their selection and all's well (and amazingly they already have the right size chef coat waiting for the new head chef!) Not a bad show, but nothing I'd cry over if it was cancelled.

On a brighter note, I've begun watching Ripper Street on BBC America, and I am enjoying that very much! Saturday nights is when it airs.****SPOILERS AHEAD*** Matthew MacFadyen is Inspector Reid, who's charged with protecting the folks in the Whitechapel area. Yes, that Whitechapel. And no, this isn't about the Ripper, although he does rate mention now and then, mostly as the one that got away. Inspector Reid is married, but tragedy has marred the union through the death of their only child, a daughter, and his wife has pulled away from him, seeking the solace of the church and her work at the mission. This is becoming more and more of an issue, especially as Reid finds himself unexpectedly attracted to a Jewish woman who heads a local orphanage. At Reid's side is Sergeant Drake, who has a thing for a lady of easy virtue in a prominent house of ill repute, but he doesn't want her like that, and she has a living to make, so they have a difficult relationship at best. Then there is Homer Jackson, an American who was once a Pinkerton, and now lives in that same whorehouse, with the madame, and is a very skillful if unorthodox surgeon. I highly recommend this series. I look forward to it every week.

Well, all for now, better get back to writing and stuff. I have another series I want to talk about, but I want to devote more time to it - BBC's Sherlock. Let's just say for now that I am totally in love and intend to buy the first two seasons as soon as I can afford it.

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wednesday Briefs: Stan and Ollie #18

Happy Wednesday! If it's Wednesday, it must be time for a bit of flash fiction from the authors who style themselves the Wednesday Briefers! This week's prompt is: "In what universe did you think..." or use: kumquat, canary and vitamin or "He had to chuckle when he saw..." or use: backwards, light, brandy or "The lady is a tramp..." or any other Cher reference.

Last week, Stan and Ollie met with Egbert in the parking lot of the church, and told him the truth. Just as Egbert was about to say something, Pastor Will Robinson showed up. And then Ollie fainted! See what's up with that in this week's installation of Stan and Ollie.  Enjoy! Don't forget to visit the other Briefers, whose links follow my tale!

Stan and Ollie #18

My heart leaps into my throat but I refuse to give in to the sense of panic that overwhelms me. I manage to catch the crumpling Ollie before he can hit the ground. He’ll be all right in a moment, once he gets past this momentary glitch. He’ll be fine, I know it.
But seconds pass, and he doesn’t open his eyes, and I’m starting to panic now, just a little.

Hold it together, hold it together…

It isn’t until I notice that Xylina has shifted into her human form that I realize the gravity of the situation. The fact that she feels the need to do so speaks volumes to me.

“We have to get him back to the hotel,” she says. “Now.” She reaches out her hand and I know what she wants. I toss her my keys.

No time to argue. No time to worry about Egbert Montauk, or Pastor Will Robinson. My only concern is for Ollie.

Hang in there, Ollie, please…

I don’t know what I’d do if… my mind refuses to fill in the awful blank.

I lift him and cradle him in my arms as I swiftly carry him to the car. Xylina has opened the rear passenger door, and I gently set him on the back seat, before I come around to the other side and get in, taking his head into my lap.

“We’re ready, go,” I tersely command, and she obeys with unwonted obedience and no lip.

The car moves backwards so that we’re facing the rear of the church. A shaft of sunlight strikes the copper-plated steeple bell, bouncing off and hitting me full in the face. I squeeze my eyes shut at the intrusion. She puts the Lincoln into drive and the moment passes.

Ollie still hasn’t opened his eyes. Only the shallow rise and fall of his chest keeps me from completely losing my mind. He’s breathing, that’s got to be good.

 “Ollie, can you hear me?” I whisper. Did I feel him respond, did his body jerk just a little, reacting to the sound of my voice? I hold my breath and wait, but the movement isn’t repeated. I cup his cheek with my hand; it feels too cool or my liking.

“It’s all right, Ollie,” I reassure him in the steadiest voice I can muster. “Everything’s all right.”

We reach the hotel after a ride that feels like forever, but I know Xylina has made good time. Now we have to be circumspect. I’d just as soon not get caught carrying him in, if I can help it.  If we can get past the front desk clerk and make it to the elevator, we should be home free.

After that, I can only pray that Xylina knows what to do. But first things first…

“I’ll go in first. Give me five minutes, then bring Ollie in. I’ll meet you upstairs.” She doesn’t wait for an answer, tosses me my keys and glides out of the car, heading for the front door of the hotel.

I have no idea what she intends to do, but it damn well better work.

Longest five minutes of my life, spent stroking Ollie’s soft blond hair, whispering words of love and encouragement, watching anxiously for any change. There is none.  But the minutes pass, and I gather him into my arms and carry him up the broad steps of the hotel’s front porch.

As I fumble for the knob, trying not to jostle him, the door suddenly opens and Xylina stands there. She puts her finger to her lips and motions me in.

I carry Ollie inside, wondering what she’s done to engage the desk clerk. I’ve noticed in the short time we’ve been here he is about as nosy as they come. A quick glance at the front desk reveals all.  

I do a double take at the sight. A carbon copy of Xylina stands there, and she’s engaged the man’s attention to the point where he is oblivious to the rest of the world, asking him about something she’s spread out on the desk.

I’m not even going to ask.

I tiptoe as well as I can past Mr. Besotten. Xylina presses the button to call the elevator, and when it arrives, I enter the car and breathe a sigh of relief when the doors close on us.

Third floor at last. Our room  is at the end of the hall. I balance most of Ollie’s weight on one arm so that I can get the key out and unlocked it. At last we’re inside, door closed, and I can lay him gently on the bed.
I kneel on the bed beside him, lean down so he can hear me better. “Ollie… I’m here, Ollie… Come back to me… please…” No response.

I brush my lips across his cheek. No warmer than it was before. I still the trembling of my limbs as I stretch out beside him and lay my arm across his chest, drape one leg over his, offering him the warmth of my own body.  I burrow my face against his chest as well, the better to feel him breathe.

I hear the door open and I know it’s Xylina; I never look up, but I can hear her enter, feel her presence as she closes the door and approaches the bed.

“Has this ever  happened to him before?” I’m  hoping it has, so she’ll know how to deal with it.

“No, never. It’s this damned planet. There are things here that are bad for him,” she fairly hisses and my heart gives a lurch in my breast.

Okay, so this is a first. First time for everything, right?  We’ll figure it out.

I can’t lose Ollie, I just can’t.

I’m drawing blanks, my mind grasping at straws.

“Call Room Service,” I instruct her. “See if they have any brandy.”

She looks at me like I’m crazy.

“Just do it!”

to be continued

Now go visit the other Wednesday Briefers:

Cia Nordwell      
MA Church     
Tali Spencer    
Victoria Adams       

Until  next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Guest Blogger Pender Mackie

Today I'm please to have fellow author Pender Mackie as my guest. She's going to talk about her new release, Stage Fright. Pull up a chair, and I'll grab us some drinks while you begin, Pender.

When I started to write Stage Fright I didn’t think I’d need to come up with dance routines or music. Sure the story’s main character is a dancer in an all-male revue, but how much time would he spend dancing on page?

More than I initially thought. A lot of Jesse’s dancing is seen through the eyes of Val, the new, and infatuated, bartender so the reader gets to see it too.

More than one scene features Jesse’s dancing and I found I needed music. It makes a difference to the way I visualized the scene. Was Jesse pumping his hips to something fast or writhing sensually to a slow ballad?

I have thousands of songs in my Itunes and I love dance music. I thought I’d just pick a couple of tunes and imagine Jesse dancing. No problem, right?   

Turns out choosing songs for a male stripper is harder than I’d thought, but I persevered.     

Here’s some of the songs I came up with, in no particular order. I’d love to hear your suggestions.

Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
A fun song in which Timberlake channels a little bit of James Brown. Love the naughty nod to BDSM. "You see these shackles, baby I'm your slave / I'll let you whip me if I misbehave."

Goldfrapp - Strict Machine
Supposedly a song exploring the links between sex, machines and control. Music reviewer Andy Hermann wrote that the song was "a future S&M club anthem if ever there was one." I just think it’s great to dance to.  

Ginuwine - Pony
Anyone who’s played Grand Theft Auto IV or seen the movie Magic Mike (which I still haven’t seen, damn it) knows this song. Hard to believe it came out in 1996.

Freestylers - Push Up
Fast and fun. This song is perfect for some serious dancing and maybe a few one-handed push-ups on the stage.

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Give It Away
This one’s good for sexy gyrating and at first listen the lyrics seem tailor made for erotic dancing. Apparently the main phrase is not a plea for sex, but meant to encourage selflessness and altruism. Now I like this song even more. 

Air - Sexy Boy
One of my favorite French bands and one of my favorite songs. Slow and sexy. The song was featured in the UK version of Queer as Folk.

Kiss - I Was Made for Loving You
An oldie but a goodie. Sure to get any members of the Kiss Army in the audience worked up. 

David Guetta - I Want to Make You Sweat
A great tune, but the lyrics are probably far too provocative for an all-male revue, which when compared to a strip club is actually pretty tame.

Def Leppard - Pour Some Sugar on Me
This song makes no sense lyrically, but who cares? It’s a song guaranteed to whip the crowd into a frenzy.

Prince - Kiss
Written and performed by Prince, but Tom does a good version too. My preference is the Prince version but Tom had a few panties thrown at him in his day.

And now here’s the blurb and except for the book to go with this playlist.

Title: Stage Fright
Release date: January 22, 2013
Author: Pender Mackie
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance

Stage Fright Blurb:

After six months dancing in a Las Vegas all-male revue, Jesse Snowe is used to being groped by enthusiastic females, but he's more interested in Val, the sexy new bartender. Jesse's tired of the closet, but when he thinks of coming out he gets stage fright. The thought of telling his fellow dancers he's gay makes his palms sweat and his heart race and not in a good way. Dating Val under the watchful eyes of the dance captain could reveal Jesse's secret and might be more of a gamble than Jesse's willing to take. 

For Val Tremain the glamor of Vegas is wearing thin. He's even less enamored with his new job, but knowing he'll see Jesse's beautiful body makes it easier to go to work. When Jesse hints he's interested, Val can't believe his luck. But Jesse's latest dance routine encourages a little too much audience participation and Val struggles with jealousy. 

Jesse knows his job's hard on their relationship and being closeted doesn't help. Strangers slap his butt every night, yet he's afraid to touch his lover in public. If he wants this relationship to work, Jesse may have to reveal more than just his body. 

Jesse watched Chaz, their dance captain, work his magic. Chaz was an old hand at stripping and made it look so easy. He had a woman from a bachelorette party up onstage. She reached around and gripped his ass hard, her fingers digging into tanned flesh. Chaz pulled her to her feet. Jesse could see his muscular ass bunch and flex as Chaz mimed grinding against her.

Jesse looked over at the bar and sighed. The new bartender was wiping the counter. He wasn’t even watching the show. Maybe the new guy wasn’t gay after all. The guy behind the bar seemed more interested in dirt than dancers.

Jesse scrambled into his next costume, then nodded to Eric, their MC, from the side of the stage. “And now, ladies. Here’s the newest member of our revue and the baby of the group, Firefighter Jesse.”

Jesse bounced onstage to shouts and catcalls. He did a couple of backflips, then slapped on his helmet. His routine went off without a hitch, but as usual he needed to mentally gear himself up for the finale. He grabbed the crotch of his tear-away turnouts and yanked them off, leaving him in nothing but his T-bar. After six months of working as a dancer, he still felt kind of stupid wearing the minuscule thong, but he was grateful for the no-nudity policy. It helped him maintain the illusion that he still had some dignity. He spied a table that didn’t have too many drinks on it and jumped into the crowd.

The audience loved it. Jesse danced the length of the table, shaking his ass for the screaming women—and saw the bartender watching. He faltered, then recovered, leaping lightly off the table, squeezing through the press of bodies. He smiled and high-fived outstretched palms on his way as other hands reached for his chest, his butt, even trying for his package. His ass was slapped at least three times before he managed to return to the stage.

“Let’s hear it for Jesse. Who wants Jesse to put out their fire?” Eric asked the enthusiastic audience.

Backstage Mike threw Jesse a towel. “Holy shit, they’re wild tonight. I wasn’t sure you were going to make it back in one piece.”

Jesse wiped the sweat from his face and chest. “Me neither.” He shook his head, smiling. “Gives a whole new meaning to audience participation.”

Buy links:


Author website & blog:

That sounds hot, Pender!  Thanks for stopping by, come back soon!

Until  next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Monday, February 25, 2013

Virtual Book Tour: Seven Year Itch by SD Skye

Please welcome today author S.D. Skye who is doing a virtual book tour for her new release, Seven Year Itch, a J.J. McCall novel in the FBI series. S.D. is going to tell us about her book, but first she has answered my infamous Rick Reed questions. Make yourself at home, and we'll get started! Don't forget to read to the end to find out about the giveaway!

 The Questions
1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?

My man and a solar-powered MacBook. As long as I can love and write, what else could I possibly need?

2)      Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life – and which character in that musical are you?

Mary Poppins. Firm but fair. Sensible. Sweet as sugar…at least until you cross or me or try to pull the wool over my eyes. Then you should pray for a spoonful of sugar. However, I can’t sing worth diddly…although I did involuntarily attempt a graceless flight with an umbrella in the middle of a monsoon once.

   3)   Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  customary, ethical, ran.

I ran my fingers through my hair to relieve my frustration.  For while it may be customary to ask “uncaffeinated” writers to strain their brains at the butt-crack of dawn and devise a scenario for three random, unconnected words, I’m quite certain it is not ethical. J

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why?

Mr. Darcy. He seriously needed to loosen up and I think a little hot, sweaty sex would’ve done the trick.

5)      What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other?

For me, romance isn’t about where we are or what we do, but how we feel. Sitting together in front of a cozy fire, cuddled up on the couch, laughing, joking, and sharing our feelings (as a precursor to the hot, sweaty sex of course) would be ideal for me. It’s very hard these days to find people who you can do nothing with and be happy together in all of that nothingness.

6)      When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot?

Usually characters come to me first. I hear voices…but in a good, non-psychotic way. Then I faces usually appear in the form of movie stars. After that I just watch, listen, and follow to see where they go, what kind of trouble they get into, and how they manage to get themselves out of it…and transcribe along the way. From this process grows my best story ideas.

7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?

I think I should play me. If offered the part, I could hear a choir of stars say, “Uhhh…this chick is crazy with the voices in her head. Thanks, but no thanks!”

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?

Chucky. It always amused me that people would be scared of a psycho doll. If I were in the movie, it would end about 20 seconds after it began because I’d stomp that sucker to death and call it a day.

   9)    Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it?

It’s a toss-up between JFK and RFK. As a life-long Redskins fan, I’m leaning toward RFK because I have a strong affinity for the stadium.

10)   Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
Oh yes. I’m writing it as we speak. My new series, beginning with the Seven Year Itch, is probably a little before it’s time. It features an alcoholic female African American FBI Agent with a Black Panther father, who falls in love with her Italian partner from a prominent mafia crime family. They recruit and catch Russian spies. Oh, by the way, her family was cursed by a Creole magic worker so she’s also a lie detector.
I swear, I wasn’t smoking the wacky weed when I came up with this story idea. It is the result of mostly lucid thoughts. And if that doesn’t scare you, you will probably love these books. 

The Seven Year Itch
 (A J.J. McCall Novel – the FBI Series)
by S. D. Skye



Her Family Was Vexed With a Generational Curse. Now for Lie Detecting FBI Spy Catcher J.J. McCall, the Truth is in The Seven Year Itch.

FBI Special Agent J.J. McCall is a born lie detector who recruits foreign spies to catch American traitors. She and co-case agent Tony Donato have lost two of their most critical Russian sources in the past two years, and they may lose another in just a few short days if they don’t catch him, The ICE PHANTOM, a rumored insider spy more insidious and elusive than Ames and Hanssen combined. They suspect he might be burrowed deep inside FBI counterintelligence—and his body count is going up.

Drawn into an unsanctioned mole hunt, they have a week to catch him, save a key source’s life—and their own. While J.J.’s lie detecting ability helps them narrow down the list of suspects, the lie she tells to herself may help the ICE PHANTOM defect to Moscow and get away with the murder of the man she loves.

Skye's debut FBI Series, filled with mystery, espionage, romance, and suspense, will keep you burning through the pages until J.J. catches the very last spy.


J.J searched for serenity in bottom of a Belvedere bottle. The wait for his sugar-coated lies had dragged on for too long, and she’d lost patience. After glancing around the small reception area to ensure no one was watching, she removed from her purse a silver flask and smiled. It was filled to the brim with relief. One small gulp and the soothing burn slipped down her throat, calming her prickly nerves. Inside she felt on the brink of dissolution. The 10 am swallow was just a necessary evil. It would get her through the meeting, until time for her next dose of repose.

Another dead source. She couldn’t stomach the thought of his demise. Two had been more than her fair share. The unceasing cycle of loss had worn her resolve thin. She’d refused to let another family suffer that pain if she could in any way prevent it. J.J. wanted to tell the FBI where to stick her badge and gun, but she had promises to keep. Promises to Viktor. Promises to herself. No matter what Cartwright said, she’d see her case through until the end. And the end was as near as nightfall because the op was simple and would go off without a hitch.

J.J. stiffened her back and squared her shoulders as the elixir took effect. Her posture mirrored that of the powerful yet graceful eagle perched atop her FBI badge. She’d eyed it, waiting for the carefully choreographed denial and deception ritual to begin.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Author Bio and any links you want to include (Website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, as well as buy links for your book, etc) in an attached .doc or .rtf file

S.D. Skye is a former FBI Russian Counterintelligence Program Intelligence Analyst and supported several key cases during her 12-year tenure at the Bureau. She has personally witnessed the blowback the Intelligence Community suffered due to the most significant compromises in U.S. history, including the arrests of former CIA Case Officer Aldrich Ames and two of the Bureau's own--FBI Agents Earl Pitts and Robert Hanssen. She has spent 20 years supporting counterintelligence, intelligence, and military missions in the U.S. Intelligence Community.

An award-winning author of romantic comedies in her other life, Skye is a member of the Maryland Writer's Association, Romance Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers. She's addicted to writing and chocolate--not necessarily in that order--and currently lives in the Washington D.C. area with her son. Skye is hard at work on the next installment of the series.

Buy Links



  Now for the giveaway I mentioned earlier:

S.D. will be awarding a Kindle Fire and a $25 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour. (US and Canada only). The more you enter, the better your chances. If you want to follow the rest of the tour, go here!

Thanks for stopping by! Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Secretary's Job Review

Secretary’s Job  
Author: Miki Araya
Publisher: June Manga/DMP
American release date: July 24, 2012
Format/Genre/Length: Manga/Yaoi/200 pages
Publisher/Industry Age Rating: 19+
Overall Personal Rating: ★★★★★

Takase is well-known at the company he works for—he’s not only cute and adorable, but he has the ability to take anyone he works with a success! And now his boss has given him a challenge. The president wishes Takase to work with his slacker son, Toshiaka. Is Takase up to the challenge?


Secretary’s Job: Honjou is surprised to learn he’s been given a secretary. After all,, he’s a low level employee in his father’s company. But he accepts Takase with his usual indifference, although the rest of his department is delighted to have Takase working with them. Takase finds that Honjou is not interested in working, but he doesn’t give up and inspires Honjou to actually make an effort.

When a colleague’s stay in the hospital is extended, Takase volunteers Honjou to take his place at a business golf meeting over the weekend, to Honjou’s dismay. When Honjou criticizes Takase, the younger man breaks into tears, engendering the sympathy of the department and driving Honjou to accept the golf date.

Takase continues to spur Honjou on to greater and greater efforts. One day he realizes that Honjou doesn’t eat very well, so the next day he brings him a box lunch that he’s made himself. Touched, Honjou gives Takase thanks—with a kiss! Why did he just do that? Honjou has no idea!

As they begin to grow closer, Takase realizes, to his horror, that Honjou needs to find someone he can marry and have a child with, so he asks to be removed from his assignment, which leads to more trouble than he bargained for. Is there any way for Takase and Honjou to be more than colleagues? Will love find a way?

I’ll Make You My Prisoner:  Monma has a great deal of charm, which goes a long way toward making him successful. And he isn’t shy about using that charm to get his way. When a co-worker, Takada, confides that the secretary she had eyes for took no interest in her, Monma’s competitive spirit takes that as a challenge, so they make a bet. If Monma can’t get into this guy’s pants, he owes Takada an expensive dinner.

Figuring that his job will be easy, Monma targets his prey, Setoguchi, and “runs” into him. The guy is very cute and just as clueless as Takada said, and Monma finds himself forgetting what he was going to do. He starts to spend more and more time with Setoguchi, taking him to different places, wining and dining him. At one point, he gets the other man drunk and into his bed! But something  has changed, and Monma is suddenly unsure he can go through with the bet because of it.

Falling in Love With You: Tokuno is a very popular student. All the girls love him and are more than willing to lend him their notes. Tokuno is very stuck on himself. So when he notices another student, Kanbe, garnering their attention, he doesn’t like it. He’s determined to make them not like Kanbe as much as him, so he sets out to find out something that will ruin his reputation. In order to do this, he gets as close to him as he can. But then he discovers that Kanbe is more than just a great guy. Can he go through with his master plan?

Jealousy 1 and 2: Takase, Honjou, Monma and Setoguchi return in these mini stories about jealousy.


I really loved the development of the characters in this, and their storyline, co-workers to friends to lovers. It wasn’t insta-love on anyone’s part, and it felt natural. Each of these stories has a similar central theme, but the characters are all unique. I like stories where characters start out as less than stellar people but end up redeeming themselves through their actions.

This is a really good book, one I would gladly re-read. The artwork is good, the guys are good looking, the romance element is strong, and the sex is hot. What more do you want from a yaoi?  I give this book an enthusiastic thumbs up and look forward to reading it again.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Guest Blogger Brandi Schmidt

Please welcome author Brandi Schmidt today! She's bravely answered my infamous Rick Reed questions, and is going to talk about her newest release, The Kindling. And about the giveaway to go with it. Brandi, why don't you  make yourself at home, and go ahead and start?

The Questions
1)      You’re marooned on a small island with one person and one item of your choice—who is that person and what item do you have?
My husband and sunscreen (lame – I know, but sunburns suck!)

2)      Which musical would you say best exemplifies your life—and which character in that musical are you?
Grease—cross between Sandy and Rizzo J

   3)    Take these three words and give me a 100 word or less scenario using them:  daughter, light, no

“No honey, monsters aren’t real” the mother said while stoking the hair of her four year old daughter.
“But brother said that he saw one in the closet!”
“Your brother was just trying to scare you, it’s okay, and there are no monsters in there.” The mother smiled at the sweet young face and kissed her forehead. “We can keep the light on, if that helps.” She nodded frantically and scooted into her covers.  The mother left her alone. Not tonight I thought but soon. Quietly, I maneuvered out of the bushes below her window. Sometimes monsters are real. 

SO – I don’t know where that came from, but it’s totally creepy and yucky to boot! UGH…who knows what goes on in a writer’s mind? I think it’s fear more than anything since I have two daughters. If it’s fiction, then it can’t be real…right? Yep—and yes I do hover over my children.

4)      You’ve just been let loose in the world of fiction, with permission to do anyone you want. Who do you fuck first and why? N/A J

5)      What is your idea of how to spend romantic time with your significant other? Dinner, drinks and talking...then to bed.

6)      When you start a new story, do you begin with a character, or a plot? All of the above, I usually know the entire plot first and all my characters, it’s just their names I need to figure out. God has given me many stories to tell. I just need the time to get them all out.

7)      If they were to make the story of your life into a movie, who should play you?
Reese Witherspoon

8)      Who’s your favorite horror villain and why?
Freddy Kruger…he was always a bit witty and funny before he killed you.

   9)   Do you have an historical crush and if so, who is it? No…I’m not good at this game J

  10) Is there a story that you’d like to tell but you think the world isn’t ready to receive it?
Yes – there is one that I need to tell. It’s a YA paranormal novel called SINNERS. I think it would help a lot of kids that are struggling through high school, but it’s just not in the cards right now.

Excerpt:   The Kindling

“Hi there,” Ginger bounced onto a barstool next to me, her spark still all a tingle.

“Hey, how are you? You look so much better than you did the other day.”

“Oh yeah, that.” Ginger looked down and fiddled with a coaster. “I’m sorry about that. I was kind of crazy for a moment. I really didn’t mean to unload on you like that. But thank you so much for talking to me. I really took what you had to say to heart and got a new outlook on the dating world.”

“Really? What do you mean?”

“Well, you said that I have a soul mate. I figured, why can’t it be Garrett? So I called him, and we’re dating again. It was all a huge misunderstanding. He apologized, and everything is, well, great.”

“What? I said he was not the guy, not your soul mate.”

“Yeah, I know, but really, how do you know that for sure?”

“Because I know,” I almost yelled at her.

She leaned away from me, looking totally freaked. Taking a deep breath, I tried to calm my voice. “What I meant to say is that there is someone better for you, a perfect fit. Someone that won’t make you cry, no matter the misunderstanding.” I was almost pleading with her.

“Yeah, yeah, I know, like a fairytale. That’s all good and stuff, but this is reality. Sometimes you just take what you can get.”

“What? Don’t you want your boyfriend to be ‘the one?’ Why on earth would you settle?” I couldn’t believe she would just give up. I guessed that was what most people did, settle. If you cannot be with the one you love…love the one you’re with.

“I don’t really know you, but you seem like a good person. A little too intense, but a good person. Thanks for the opinion, but I know what I’m doing.” She thought she was much wiser than me, but I could see the little girl inside her that just wanted to be loved. I couldn’t think too badly of her. I remembered not too long ago, lying on the cold ground outside my garage wishing I had someone, anyone, just so I wasn’t alone. But that was before, before I knew what true love was, before I knew it actually existed.

“But,” I started to protest. She held up a hand, and I knew there was no talking to her tonight. Why should I continue to fight? She’d given up. Why couldn’t I?

The burst of cold air rocked the restaurant, making us both shiver and whip our heads towards the open front door. There stood a hooded man covered with snow. He was stamping his feet and cursing the weather under his breath. Then I noticed the small, snow-covered bouquet he held in his hands. It was him, it was Kevin. I almost jumped out of my chair, but something inside me said to sit and wait, to let things happen naturally.
Ginger sat next to me sipping her Coke. I could tell she was about to leave. I overheard the manager talking to Kevin

“I have these flowers to deliver. I’m late. The snow caught everyone off-guard, and it was a parking lot out there.” He took his hood off, and I saw his lovely spark. It pulsed with excitement, and so did my heart. “Is there a Ginger here?”

“Hey, Ginger, I think that guy over there said your name. They may want you or something,” I said, trying to be as nonchalant as I could, although my heart was about to burst. She turned, smiled, and bounced out of the stool. I watched breathlessly.

“You need something?” Ginger asked cheerfully.

“Oh, you are here. These are for you,” the manager said, surprised. Ginger smiled and grabbed the bouquet from Kevin. She buried her nose in the flowers and pulled out the card. She didn’t see him yet. She didn’t look up. He was still standing in front of her, staring at her with wide eyes. Reading the card, she froze, obviously not expecting what was written. I remembered it clearly, since it was from me. It read, Look up to see your future; there was always only One.

Slowly, she raised her head. The spark pulsed, and she saw him. For the first time, she saw him. Kevin looked at her, and his spark intensified. It was so beautiful. The most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. Ginger’s spark grew to an intensity I had never seen from her. It was bright and big and completely full of life. The sparks’ yellow edges melted into each other, just as Kyle’s and Jessica’s had. The two sparks enveloped each other, fusing into one. The center was pink, then radiated to a yellow. It filled the entire restaurant. They pulsed to their own beat until they fused completely. Then they beat as one, one amazing love. I gasped and grabbed the bar with my right hand. I could feel my eyes begin to burn from the light, but I couldn’t look away. My head spun, and I could feel myself being drained of energy.
I didn’t notice at first, but I wasn’t alone. He held me from behind with his arm around my waist. He whispered, “You’ve done well, Tru.” I remembered his soft voice from the day Kyle and Jessica fused.
My phantom helper was back. I had thought it was my imagination that day in the church, that he wasn’t real. Now he was here again to support me. He was someone to lean on, someone that could see what I saw, and someone to share this with.

“I thought this would get easier,” I whispered to him.

“It will. I promise,” he whispered. “As the eyes are the windows to the soul, love is a spark of the divine. Bask in its love. Be more than you ever thought you could be. Today and forever, you are gifted.” 

And now for the giveaway!  One lucky commenter will win a cover card and a $5 GC to Muse to purchase the ebook. Brandi will sign the card and dedicate it to the person of your choice! All you have to do is comment to win, and be sure to leave an email address. No address, no entry!

Brandi will pick a winner at the end of the weekend!

Thanks for stopping by, Brandi!

Until next time, take care!

♥ Julie