Monday, July 12, 2010

Monday Mini Reviews - July 6

Sorry for the late post, I had a dentist appointment today. *Shudder*

InfernoInferno by Dante Alighieri - 4.5/5 Doves
This is the story of a man's journey through Hell to eventually reach Heaven. I absolutely loved this book. Dante had a great imagination and gives us very vivid descriptions of the nine circles of Hell. His descriptions allowed readers to picture exactly what he was describing. The only downfall of this story, is that it is heavy on Italian history. Many of the things he mentions would've been recognized by his audience, but modern Americans require footnotes to get even a little bit of understanding. There is also the heavy influence of Christianity which can distract from the piece. Highly recommended!

And Then There Were Two
And Then There Were Two by Jude Mason - 3/5 Doves
And interesting Sci-Fi/Fantasy short. It was a pretty good beginning, but the way it ends leaves me with more questions than answers. This probably would've been good as a full novella or novel, but as it is now, it's an incomplete story. The story has no real beginning, middle and end. Rather, it only has a middle.

Spoils of WarSpoils of War by Aleksandr Voinov and Raev Gray - 4/5 Doves
After Achilleus, the legendary Greek warrior, falls in battle, Ares comes to collect his soul. I really enjoyed this book. Voinov and Gray did a great job with the descriptions. I wish the piece had been longer, since it only took me about twenty minutes to read it. Definitely recommend for those M/M lovers with an interested in Ancient Greece or Rome.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interview with Rowan Speedwell

Today I would like to welcome author Rowan Speedwell to The Dancing Dove! This interview was actually supposed to go up about two weeks ago but things got a little mixed up. Sorry for the long wait, but here it is!

The Dancing Dove: Where/When was your first book published?
Rowan Speedwell: May 7, 2010 from Dreamspinner Press.

TDD: What was it like when your first book was published?
RS: Well, I read the email and then sat there for a few minutes, hyperventilating and shaking my hands, which had gone numb with shock. Dreamspinner was only the second place I’d submitted it, and it was only three weeks after the submission. I’d been prepared to wait months and then get rejected a dozen times before I found a publisher; all the Creative Writing classes I’d taken all said that your first novel would take at least a year to find a publisher AFTER you finished the book. For me, it was a matter of the book being in print less than a year after I STARTED it. Which was amazing and unbelievable!!

TDD: What was your inspiration for “Finding Zach”?
RS: A Public Service Announcement – actually, a poster of a young, dark-haired man in prison, seen from behind with his hands cuffed behind his back. It was something about not buying guns for felons, but it struck a chord with me—what if it wasn’t anything so mundane as a prison? What if he were being held hostage? How much worse could I make it…? It all sort of snowballed from there. I blended in some elements of a previous (unfinished!) story and came up with the general premise, of a young man trying to find his way back from a horrible experience. Then I tried to ask questions about how the recovery process would work, what would be his feelings, how would the people around him react, what would I do if it were someone I loved who went through that? I’ve had issues that I’ve had to deal with through therapy—the panic attacks were described from personal experience—and so that’s where that came from. In many ways it’s a very personal book, even though the actual events and characters—and even the setting—are outside my ken. (I’ve only ever been through Colorado by train…!)

I started “Zach” as an exercise to see if I could write—and finish!—a book I would enjoy reading. Even though I’ve read it about six hundred times now, I still like it!

TDD: Is there any chance of a sequel to “Finding Zach”?
RS: Mmm… Maybe not a novel, but I’d like to check in on Jerry, David’s ex. I rather liked him. And a couple of people asked me what happens to Brian.

TDD: What made you start writing M/M fiction?
RS: I’ve always found the heroes more interesting than the heroines, whether I’m writing them or reading them. I only started reading m/m a couple of years ago and just loved it—I get to have two heroes and no heroines to distract me! For some reason it makes it easier for me to get deeper into the story. I care more about the characters. There’s more risk, more danger, more angst—and a lot of the time more humor, more honesty, more reality. It may be something about the way humans are hard-wired, but the psychosocial needs of women in regards to relationship seem to depend more on the social courtship rituals. It probably has to do with their need to build social networks for the support of their offspring. Men, not so much. Makes for a different dynamic.

When I started thinking about Zach, I knew right away he was gay; it wasn’t as if I’d just taken a female character and “switched” him the way some writers of m/m do, but an organic part of Zach’s personality. I think what happens to Zach during his captivity is more devastating because he IS gay. Neither David nor Zach is the slightest bit effeminate; they are what they are and they just happen to be gay, too.

TDD: How often do you write?
RS: Five days a week. I try to write at least a thousand words a day, even if I have to throw out most of it the next day. I think about the story constantly, so that when I have the time to actually write, it’s productive time.

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another occupation?
RS: I think if it were my full-time job, I’d probably never write. I’m a procrastinator, so having a very tight schedule actually means I get more done. I’m a law librarian and database manager. I write on my lunch hour.

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
RS: No, those are places I read!! Actually, the library IS where I write, since I’m a librarian, but only on my lunch hour. Sitting in front of a computer all day is my job; when I clock out for lunch, I pull up my story and get to work for an hour. Then I go back to work. Of course, I’m THINKING about the story all the time!!

TDD: What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
RS: Of the actual writing process, the part where I have to throw out huge amounts of text to get the story back on track. That’s sad, but it’s part of the game. I can deal with that. The hardest part of the whole thing is the marketing—I’m SO not a self-promoter. And you really have to sell yourself these days to get your name out there. The whole social media thing is not me.

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
RS: I’m working on a Regency / Napoleonic-era historical involving my two favorite hero tropes of that genre: the dashing rake and the heroic cavalry officer. It’s very different from Zach: different setting, different time, different pacing. I’m not sure how it will be received, but I hope to have at least the first draft done by the time this interview is posted.

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers? (Contact info, upcoming books, exclusive website content, etc.)
RS: I have a Facebook page called “Friends of Rowan Speedwell” and a blog. I’m also on Goodreads and GLBT Bookshelf. I have a LiveJournal account but so far it’s inactive, and I’m too skeered to Tweet.

I hope to have more stuff published soon!!

Thanks for your time, Ralph!!

Thank you for joining me, Rowan! I wish you the best of luck with your work!

You can purchase Finding Zach on

Friday, July 2, 2010

It's July!

Yup, it's finally July! First, I'd like to congratulate kbcutter for winning a copy of A.B. Gayle's Mardi Gras!

Next I'd like to thank all of my loyal viewers. And since I'm such a statistics dork, here are some stats from July!
From June 1 - June 30 we had 622 unique visitors!

Our most popular pages for the month are:
The Homepage  - 343 views
The Martin and the Wolf Giveaway - 154 views
Miles and the Magic Flute Giveaway - 101 views
Interview with Aleksandr Voinov - 88 views
The Mardi Gras Giveaway - 88 views
Interview with Anne Brooke - 53 views

This month I have a few things planned! Look forward to a book review for Finding Zack by Rowan Speedweel and one for Luke by Jan Irving. Also look forward to an interview with Rowan Speedwell and some authors from Untreed Reads and editor A.B. Gayle.

Thanks again for visiting us! Don't for get to check out The Daisy Chain, and M/M romance podcast put together by Blip!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Book Giveaway - A Certain Pressure in the Pipes

A Certain Pressure in the Pipes
Author Clancy Nacht was kind enough to offer up her newest release, A Certain Pressure in the Pipes. Sorry for the delay at posting this one!

Also, don't forget that the giveaway for A.B. Gayle's Mardi Gras ends at Midnight EST tonight!

Story Blurb:
Conrad Lloyd's father, Governor of an old west town, wishes his son wasn't so interested in inventing, or men for that matter. It isn't until Conrad meets Ezhno, a Native American inventor, that Conrad thinks he can find sexual and intellectual fulfillment all in one man. Will they find their way together despite the societal and familial divide that threatens to keep them apart? Or will Conrad have to satisfy himself with his steam-powered Pleasuring Machine?

You can find out more about A Certain Pressure in the Pipes and read an excerpt on Noble Romance's website.

Contest Rules (Borrowed and modified from Stumbling Over Chaos <3<3):
* To enter, leave a comment stating that you are entering the contest. Contest closes Midnight EST on July 7.
* If you share this contest (on Facebook, Goodreads, you blog, etc.) I'll give you an extra entry for each medium you use, up to three extra entries.
* You must leave a valid email address with your comment. If you don't include an email address in your post or on your Google Profile, Chris's Blog Gnomes will turn your post into kitty litter for the Chaos Cat.
* Winners will be selected by random number.
* If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
* If you win, please respect the author’s intellectual property and don’t make copies of the ebook for anyone else.
* This contest is open worldwide!

 If you'd like to know more about Ms. Nacht, you can read her interview with The Dancing Dove or listen to her interview with The Daisy Chain podcast.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Monday Mini Reviews - June 28

Hey guys! I'm sorry for the lack of content lately. Real life has gotten in the way once again. I'm going to try and get everything back on track this week, I promise.

Congrats to Harper Bell who won the giveaway for Anne Brooke's Martin and the Wolf! Also congrats to Tracy who won Heidi Cullinan's Miles and the Magic Flute! Keep your eyes open for another giveaway tomorrow!

And finally, on to our mini reviews!

Neighbors by Victor J. Banis - 3.5/5 Doves
A cute story about a woman who wants to get to know her lesbian neighbor. There wasn't very much plot to the story, but it was a good relaxing read. It felt more like a glimpse into a person's life than an actual story. A well written story and great for those times when you just want a quick, simple read.

Sonny's Blues
Sonny's Blues by James Baldwin - 3.5/5 Doves
A literary story about an African American man who tries to understand his younger brother. I enjoyed reading the story of the two brothers and reading about them trying to understand each other. The story really makes you think about things like drug abuse, African American culture and even Jazz music.

Dead Man Rising
Dead Man Rising by Lilith Saintcrow - 4/5 Doves
The second book in Saintcrow's Dante Valentine series. I didn't enjoy this book as much as the first, but I still enjoyed it. The first half of the story was a little boring and I kept setting the book down and taking a break from it. But the second half more than makes up for it. The second half is full of action and keeps you wanting more.

The Devil's Right HandThe Devil's Right Hand by Lilith Saintcrow - 3/5 Doves
This is the third book in the Dante Valentine series. I didn't much like this one compared to the others. It felt like Danny was whining the majority of the time - either about how she was going to turn back into a human, how she was lied to, or how she felt used by the Devil. Not much really happened in this book which really bugged me. The first two had clear plots that were finished by the end of the book, but this one had you going "Okay… where's the rest of the story?"

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Question and Giveaway!

Author and editor A.B. Gayle has offered up a copy of her upcoming release, Mardi Gras, to any of my readers who answer two opinion questions! Mardi Gras will be released on June 28 from Noble Romance.

Fifty year old Damien, an American novellist, journalist and blogger has arrived in Sydney to write a story about the 2010 Mardi Gras.

He is travelling incognito because in a recent blog he criticised the relevance of the parade and bemoaned the fact it had drifted so far from its roots as a commemoration of the Stonewall Riots - the first time the fairies fought back.

He is met at the airport by Simon, a young Australian who has been asked to look after him and give him a real "Taste of Australia."

Set against the backdrop of Sydney and its world-famous and colorful Mardi Gras, the two men find they have a lot more in common than either at first realize.

What are the questions you ask?

1) What do you think of stories done in First Person (I, me, we, us, etc.)? If you don't like them, why don't you like them? Is it because you can't identify with a narrator who is of a different sex, age, ethnicity, etc?

2) What do you think of stories done in Present Tense? If you don't like them, why don't you like them?

Contest Rules (Borrowed and modified from Stumbling Over Chaos <3<3):
* To enter, leave a comment with your answers to the two questions. Contest closes Midnight EST on June 30.
* If you share this contest (on Facebook, Goodreads, you blog, etc.) I'll give you an extra entry for each medium you use, up to three extra entries. Please include a link to where you've shared the contest.
* You must leave a valid email address with your comment. If you don't include an email address in your post or on your Google Profile, Chris's Blog Gnomes will turn your post into kitty litter for the Chaos Cat.
* Winners will be selected by random number.
* If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
* If you win, please respect the author’s intellectual property and don’t make copies of the ebook for anyone else.
* This contest is open worldwide!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Interview with Barbara Sheridan

Author Barbara Sheridan was kind enough to do an interview with The Dancing Dove this week!

The Dancing Dove: Do you have a favorite book? (Of those you’ve written.) If so, why is it your favorite?
Barbara Sheridan: I think it would have to be Silk & Poison which I co-wrote with Anne Cain. The characters Shu & Toshiro are two of my favorite and their fictional universe spawned many other books and characters.

TDD: I noticed you’ve co-written a lot of books. Do you prefer to co-write or write solo?
BS: Co-writing is a lot of fun in the same way that reading is fun because you’re not quite sure what will happen next and where the other writee will take certain scenes or characters.

TDD: What made you start writing M/M fiction?
BS: I think I have to “blame it” on Anne Rice. I so loved Louis and Lestat back when I read Interview With the Vampire when it first came out and I hated that she let them drift apart.

TDD: How often do you write?
BS: I try to daily, but for the past few weeks I haven’t written a word. Just not been feeling the fictional love.

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another occupation?
BS: Writing is it for the present. My last regular paycheck job was in retail. I was downsized.

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
BS: My “office” also known as a corner of the diningroom.

TDD: What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
BS: Knowing that something in a book is “off” but not quite knowing how to fix it.

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
BS: Aleksandr Voinov and I have started a third book in our espionage series with Dreamspinner Press. I’m trying to work out a few research things for a book that ties in to the Beautiful C*cksucker books with Noble Romance.

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers? (Contact info, upcoming books, exclusive website content, etc.)
BS: On the solo front I have an historical western novella coming From Dreamspinner on June 30th It’s called MOST WANTED and Aleks and I have two things upcoming RISKY MANEUVERS from Loose Id on July 6 and we should soon be editing FIRST BLOOD book two in our spy series with Dreamspinner.

Readers can find out more on the above at my website. There's also some exclusive web content tied into the books I co-wrote with Anne Cain at our Dragon’s Disciple site.

Thank you for joining me, Barbara! I wish you the best of luck with your books.

You can purchase Beautiful C*cksucker II - Such a Good Boy, Blood Brothers, and Clean Slate at

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Interview with Clancy Nacht

Today, I’d like to welcome author Clancy Nacht to The Dancing Dove!

The Dancing Dove: Where/When was your first book published?
Clancy Nacht: My first book, "The Night Caller" was published April of 2009. Before that I was writing fanfiction like a fiend and sort of used to the slings and arrows of criticism. Or so I thought. Like an impatient dork, I self-published and not in the cool Smashwords way, but in the "paying someone more than is reasonable" way. I did buy some editing and con friends into helping me, but I also found out the hard way that people love taking pot shots at self-published titles. Since then I've been published with Ravenous Romance, Noble Romance, Clies Press, and Dreamspinner Press.

TDD: What was it like when your first book was published?
CN: Scary, exciting, but also a little like a drop in an ocean (pre-oil spill.) As exciting and big of a deal as it was to me, the literary world doesn't fall at your feet. But that said, the first commenter I got from someone who understood it? Magic. And even bigger rush than seeing my words in print.

TDD: Do you have a favorite book? (Of yours) If so, why is it your favorite?
CN: Such a "Sophie's Choice" question. I love them all for different reasons. Even that first, black sheep novel because it was something I really believed needed to be published. I really loved "Tricky" published by Noble Romance because those characters were so difficult, so bitter and hurt and angry over a past they each had their own flawed interpretation of. Plus the voice of the main character, a male prostitute, was so strong. But I also have a huge soft spot for a short story I wrote in "Bedknobs and Beanstalks" called "Jack and the Giant Peenstalk." Obviously, that story is much less serious.

TDD: What made you start writing fiction?
CN: It sort of spawned out of role playing, following through on plots that I thought would've been much more interesting had they gone a different way. I was working from home at the time and killing time while waiting for clients to get back to me. After my father died, it turned into a form of therapy. I could work through feelings of regret, loss, anger, poke fun at myself, my situation, the world in general, it just sort of crept up on me. Anymore these stories get in my head and won't go away. Writing's become an exorcism.

TDD: How often do you write?
CN: I try to write at least an hour every day. Usually I write for a couple. Now that I have a regular day job (speaking of therapy, "Dead End Job" sort of covers my feelings on my day job) I have to steal time over lunch or in the evenings.

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another occupation?
CN: Hah! Speaking of.... Yeah, I have a sort of bureaucratic nightmare day job. I'd love to write full time. If there are any virgins to sacrifice, please point me in their direction. They're pretty scarce here in Austin.

Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
I have several desks in the house and I also write at my work desk or in the park, or on my couch, really anywhere. It changes a lot. Makes the netbook my most important asset.

What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
I have a love/hate relationship with editing. We're on an up cycle right now, but I'm sure he'll find some way to do me wrong. I love it when I'm bereft of ideas and I just want to make the ideas I have shine. I hate editing when I have other stories chomping my brain stem.

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
CN: Oh well I have a cyberpunk scifi story that's almost finished. The last one of those I wrote didn't go far, but I put it on Smashwords as "Stay." Someone called it innovative, which I'm so proud of. This one has more romance involved but there's a lot going on, a lot of issues involving an alternate reality where the ozone layer went away and an alien race came in that saved us, but there's more subtle politics going on there with technology and tracking and people who are Subversives, people who want to live their lives as they see fit.

The other is of a similar vein, in that it's post-apocolyptic with zombies, but this time it's magic that's the culprit. It's very cracky and fun, but it has some real human moments and some real human issues with gay rights.

Then I have a co-written May-December DILF story that I'm pretty proud of because I feel like you see a wider range of homosexual behavior that doesn't completely center around penetration. It has a lot of themes of regret, on doing what you're told to do rather than what you want to do and then experiencing life as it's meant to be. I really love it. It says a lot of things I want to say, I hope it broadens readers minds a little beyond the traditional romance trope. The December gentleman is dealing with coming to the close of his life having done everything he was supposed to do, his regret. The May man is dealing with the loss of his best friend and with how life goes on, how he finds love and finds his own way. I love how they fit together though they're opposites in some ways. But they turn out to be just what they need.

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers? (Contact info, upcoming books, exclusive website content, etc.)
CN: Upcoming is "A Certain Pressure in the Pipes" on Noble Romance, which is a m/m Steampunk story set in the US in the Gilded Age. It centers around an unusual Indian and a bratty Governor's son who are both inventors and both a little different. It's pretty hot and funny. I think it's a perfect summer read. I would call this very low angst and a whole lot of fun and silly and lusting over the hot alpha Indian. It's out June 28 from Noble Romance. I love the story and the publisher, so I hope everyone else loves it as much as I do.

Please feel free to see what I'm babbling about on my website, Twitter, or Facebook.

Thank you so much for joining us, Clancy! I wish you the best of luck with your writing. =)

You can purchase The Night Caller and Bedknobs and Beanstalks on

Friday, June 18, 2010

Book Giveaway - Martin and the Wolf

Author Anne Brooke was kind enough to donate a copy of her new release, Martin and the Wolf for me to giveaway!

Story Blurb:
When thirty-six-year-old lecturer Martin meets the mysterious Lucas at a neighbor’s midsummer party, the attraction is instant and hot. The two men soon start a relationship, but Martin is puzzled by Lucas’ behavior. He’s not like any man Martin has ever known—indeed, sometimes Lucas hardly seems human at all—and Martin wants to find out why.

But on one August night, when Martin tracks Lucas to the depths of the local park, he discovers eye-opening, fantastical realities about his new lover and the pack of strange wolves Lucas runs with than he had ever thought possible. Can Martin handle the truth?

You can find out more about Martin and the Wolf and read an excerpt on Amber Allure's website.

Contest Rules (Borrowed and modified from Stumbling Over Chaos <3<3):
* To enter, leave a comment stating that you are entering the contest. Contest closes Midnight EST on June 25.
* If you share this contest (on Facebook, Goodreads, you blog, etc.) I'll give you an extra entry for each medium you use, up to three extra entries.
* You must leave a valid email address with your comment. If you don't include an email address in your post or on your Google Profile, Chris's Blog Gnomes will turn your post into kitty litter for the Chaos Cat.
* Winners will be selected by random number.
* If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
* If you win, please respect the author’s intellectual property and don’t make copies of the ebook for anyone else.
* This contest is open worldwide!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Idaho Pride - Review

Idaho Pride
Title: Idaho Pride
Author: Sarah Black
Series: N/A
Rating:5/5 Doves

After an attempt to diffuse an explosive situation, Lee Hunter and Jeremy Sheridan end up taking the heat for the conflict and become friends. While researching a tragic local story for Jeremy’s magazine, Idaho Pride, Lee agrees to mentor Luis, a troubled young intern. But Jeremy has a problem of his own: a jealous ex-lover who threatens not only Jeremy and Lee's new romance, but also the fledgling family they're trying to create.

I loved the characters in this novel. Black was able to create two very different characters who both seemed real. They each had their own quirks and personalities and you could easily tell them apart. Even the side characters she created had a pretty good amount of depth to them.

I really enjoyed the plot of this book. It had mixings of a few different genres - romance (duh), suspense, and a little bit of mystery. For the most part, all of her plot ideas were fleshed out and meshed together well. Usually when I read a novel like this with multiple plots mingling, some of them aren't fleshed out, but Black managed to make all of her plots work and seem like they were straight out of real life.

The only real problem I had with this book was it wasn't long enough! There were so many things I wish she would've gone into detail about. I would've liked to have seen more about Captain McClain and his son, and the article for Idaho Pride. I also would've liked to see more about Julius - did he still try and convert BLANK or did he finally come to understand homosexuality?

Also, the blurb is very misleading. Jeremy's ex-lover wasn't that much of a threat to the relationship. In fact, there wasn't even much focus placed on him. The ex-lover is merely one of many plots instead of the main plot point like the blurb makes it out to be

The book was very well written and very much enjoyed. I would highly recommend this book for any fans of contemporary M/M romance. If you like your romance to have a good amount of plot in it, this is the book for you.

** Warning ** This novel contains sex scenes and may not be appropriate for readers under than age of 18.

You can purchase Idaho Pride at

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Book Giveaway - Miles and the Magic Flute

The wonderful Heidi Cullinan was kind enough to donate a copy of her newest release Miles and the Magic Flute to be given away!

Here's the blurb for her book:
When the forest behind a Minnesota pawn shop turns out to be the doorway into a faerie paradise, Miles Larson doesn't see any reason to complain. He's bankrupt, single, and living in a trailer in his backwoods hometown after being laid off from his big city job: yes, he could use a little downtime in a homoerotic dreamland.

But Miles soon learns that in the faerie world nothing is quite as simple as it seems. The beautiful faerie man who has captured Miles's heart might also be after Miles's soul. The frightening beast-man who chases him through the forest is actually a noble-hearted human under a terrible curse. And at the center of it all is the deathly beautiful Lord of Dreams, a faerie so powerful that if Miles so much as looks at his face, he will be lost in dreamland forever.

The only hope for Miles's escape lies in a magic silver flute, an enchanted instrument that holds the answer to the faerie lord's defeat. But even if Miles is smart and strong enough to wield it, will he dare? All dreams must stay in dreamland, and when the cold light of truth dawns, if there is no reality beneath the love he's found in the faerie realm, Miles will have to return to his own world—alone.

You can find out more about Miles and the Magic Flute and read an excerpt on Dreamspinner's website. The novel is available in PDF format.

Contest Rules (Borrowed and modified from Stumbling Over Chaos <3<3):
* To enter, leave a comment stating that you are entering the contest. Contest closes Midnight EST on June 22.
* If you share this contest (on Facebook, Goodreads, you blog, etc.) I'll give you an extra entry for each medium you use, up to three extra entries.
* You must leave a valid email address with your comment. If you don't include an email address in your post or on your Google Profile, Chris's Blog Gnomes will turn your post into kitty litter for the Chaos Cat.
* Winners will be selected by random number.
* If a winner doesn’t respond to my congratulations email within 48 hours, I will select another winner.
* If you win, please respect the author’s intellectual property and don’t make copies of the ebook for anyone else.
* This contest is open worldwide!

Interview with Noah Bogdonoff

The Dancing Dove: Hello, Noah! Welcome to The Dancing Dove. Thank you for joining us today!
Noah Bogdonoff: Thanks for having me! It’s always nice to think that there are people reading my writing.

TDD: Where/When was your first book published? What was it about?
NB: “Number Theory”, my recently-released short story, was actually my first published work. It’s available in eBook form from Untreed Reads (more about that later). “Number Theory” is a story that I think needed telling. It’s about self-awareness – the moment in a boy’s life when he gains the knowledge that allows him to truly look at himself and see everything. Until that moment, the narrator has been strictly defined and in turn allowed himself to define everything strictly. So I guess “Number Theory” is about opening up to the world around oneself.

TDD: What was it like when your first book was published?
NB: Astounding. I’m not the best writer that I know. I have friends who write circles around me and haven’t been published yet. So that was weird. But it was also really exciting. Only a few days after having submitted “Number Theory” to Untreed, I got this incredibly complimentary email from the man who is now my editor, Jay Hartman. At the time, I was at a friend’s house and embarrassingly ran around going, “WHAT. AAHHHHHHH!” This story might be my first published work, but it’s not the first thing I’ve submitted for publication. Untreed’s positive feedback was so affirming. Jay and the CEO of Untreed Reads, K.D. Sullivan, literally walked me through everything I could possibly want to know about getting published digitally and were very cautious not to pressure or rush me. It made the experience that much better.

TDD: What’s it like being published at such a young age?
NB: In a word: confusing. At first, I was tempted to conceal my age. While I love to hear it, part of me really rejects the idea of being “good for an 18-year-old”. You know? My age is helpful in writing for young readers and young characters, but I don’t want it to directly influence my readers’ views of me.

The other thing is that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed or pressured into staying “safe”, writing the same thing again. Because I’m so young and impressionable, my writing style changes easily. My interests change easily. As a young author, there’s this pressure to – I don’t know – find a comfortable place and stay there. The pressure obviously comes from myself. Jay and K.D. have been supportive of my branching out, but there’s always the fear that I’m a one-trick pony.

But it’s also awesome. Can’t pretend it isn’t!

TDD: What made you start writing fiction?
NB: Reading fiction! Pretty much as soon as I began reading, I began writing. Especially once I learned to type on my family’s old Apple II. I started off with these horribly cliché fantasy novels (and I do mean novels. I was much more prolific back then) and as my life view expanded, so did my concept of writing. It’s progressed from the need to imitate and “be like” my favorite authors to the urge to tell a story, or a feeling, or an image. There’s always something I’m trying to get at. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I fail, and sometimes I find something new.

TDD: How often do you write?
NB: Depends. Since getting published, I’ve done some writing every day. Before that, I would go weeks or months without touching a story and then write thousands of words in a night. Sometimes it spills out, sometimes I have to squeeze it. I’ve never felt pressured to write, so we’ll see what happens now that I’m published!

TDD: Do you plan on writing full time or will it just be a hobby of sorts for you?
NB: That’s really hard to say. Will writing be my only career path? Probably not. I’m also planning on being an actor and a research anthropologist, and maybe a linguist while I’m at it. Heh. My interests are way too varied for me to even think about a full-time career. Everything’s a hobby and everything’s my life. I’ve noticed that I start to suck when I get too serious about anything. I lose perspective, I lose that sense of fun. So writing will always be a hobby for me, because I couldn’t bear to make it un-fun. I wouldn’t mind it being a lucrative hobby, though!

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
NB: I don’t have a laptop, and writing longhand is too slow for me in most cases, so no. I write in front of my desk. When I go off to college next fall, this all will change and I’m kind of worried about that. But I’m also not one for ritual. I love being torn away from my habits (usually that’s the only way I can kick ‘em), so college should produce some new and interesting effects on my writing.

TDD: What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
NB: A favorite English teacher of mine once said, “I don’t like writing. I like having written.” I don’t completely agree, but I will say this: writing is annoying. If the words aren’t flowing and the sentences aren’t interesting, my writing is crap. Usually I develop plots in the same way I develop sentences – spur-of-the-moment and randomly. If my sentences are lousy, so are my plots, and thus my stories. So my least favorite part would be getting in the mood. Because I don’t know how.

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
NB: Yes! I’ve just finished a story titled “A Shallow Warning”, which is nothing like anything I’ve ever written. It’s inspired by the author Kelly Link. It’s also probably the piece of fiction I’m most proud of, which is stupid because it’s almost incoherent. It’s magical realism and has the same basic moral center of “Number Theory”, but is much more complex. Hopefully you’ll see. I’m also co-writing a sort of supernatural novella with Andy Frankham-Allen that’s called “Through a Glass, Darkly We See”. Never co-written before, so that should be fun. And I’m tossing around a few more stories just for the heck of it. Oh, and a novel that I conceptualized with my best friend, but that’s years away from seeing the light of day. I hope you’ll check them all out when they hit!

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers? (Contact info, upcoming books, exclusive website content, etc.)
NB: All I have to say is: Thank you, thank you, thank you. Getting published has been so strange and so rewarding. The responses I’ve gotten to “Number Theory” have blown my mind. I can’t express how appreciative I am for the support of Untreed Reads and, most importantly, anyone who reads my work. And thank you for having me!

If anyone would like to drop me a line, my email is (can you tell I wasn’t prepared for professional life?). I want to hear anything you have to say. No, really. I do.

Thank you so much for joining us, Noah! I wish you the best of luck with everything!

You can purchase Number Theory on Amazon.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Monday Mini Reviews - June 14

Welcome to our second Monday Mini Reviews! I've got five short stories to review this week, four of which are from my Study of Fiction course.

Stay tuned later this week for an interview with the author of Number Theory, Noah Bohdonoff.

Cathedral by Raymond Carver - 3/5 Stars
There wasn't really anything special about this one. It felt like the author was trying to portray a value or theme, but to me all I saw was a guy who likes to complain and smoke pot.

Everything That Rises Must ConvergeEverything That Rises Must Converge by Flanner O'Connor - 3/5 Stars
Another mediocre short story. I got the anti-racism theme for this one, but the story itself wasn't very likeable. I didn't really like either of the two main characters and if I wasn't reading this for a class, there wouldn't have been anything to keep me reading it.

The Conversion of the Jews The Conversion of the Jews by Philip Roth - 4/5 Stars
This was my favorite out of the three stories. It was very well written, had a clear moral and kept me interested! This is a story I'd highly recommend for those who are interested in literary fiction. Although it has a clear religious bias, it doesn't try to push the religion or smother you with it like some books do. It's a great book for younger readers as well since it teaches them to question things rather than blindly follow what others tell them and to think for themselves.

Number Theory
Number Theory by Noah Bogdonoff - 4/5 Stars
This was a cute piece of literary fiction. It was short and sweet with a little bit of m/m thrown in for flavor. It could've used some more details, but the author definitely has talent. I look forward to reading more from Noah.

The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven by Sherman Alexie - 4/5 Stars
I really enjoyed reading this story. It was another literary fiction piece that I had to read for my Study of Fiction class. It has a clear theme (cultural identity) and is pretty easy to relate to, even for those who aren't part of an ethnic minority. It was also an interesting read that made you want to keep reading.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Amazon Links

At the bottom of some of my posts now you may see a link that says "You can purchase BOOKTITLE at" These are new links that are part of the "Amazon Associates" program. Each time someone buys a book through those links, I'll get a percentage of the sale. My goal for this program is to make some extra money to put into the blog for a domain name and a new, professional layout. I figured these links would be more relevant to my readers than just spamming the page with ads. (Plus, if you're not interested, you can easily ignore the link, unlike giant banner ads.)

If these links become a problem, please let me know and I'll take them down.

Interview with Raev Gray

Today I’d like to welcome author Raev Gray to The Dancing Dove!

The Dancing Dove: When was your first book published?
Raev GrayThe ink is still wet on my m/m cred! “Test of Faith” was my first bound book published. It came out officially on May 3 of this year. Before that, we (Aleks and I) released “Spoils of War,” our Greek myth-inspired short, on Smashwords.

TDD: How does the co-writing with Aleks work? Do you alternate between chapters, does one person write it and the other go in and edit it?
RG: We’ve done it a couple of different ways. A lot of our work was written roleplay-style, with each of us controlling specific characters. I’d write maybe 50 words, then he’d do the same. For our more recent stuff, we’ve tried a different method. We share characters and do the story round-robin style. He’ll write 250 words or so, then I’ll add to it. For either method, we use(d) Etherpad. That’s now defunct, but there are a couple of clones we’ve been eyeing. You can’t beat programs like that for real-time collaboration. I can see what Aleks is typing as he’s typing. It’s sort of spooky, but it’s very convenient.

TDD: Out of all of your characters, do you have a favorite?
RG: Abdul Basir from “Test of Faith” is definitely one, and Lucian from Blood Run Cold. I also love Micah from Chaosborn, one of our WIPs. I tend to become absolutely infatuated with at least one character per story. Usually it’s the one who does whatever the hell he wants and screw everybody else, or the one who’s so f’ed up he almost can’t bear his own company. (Sometimes that happens in the same character.) I find character neuroses fascinating.

TDD: What made you want to write M/M romance?
RG: I’m a “why not?” kind of person. When Aleks and I first started writing together, it (the project that turned into Blood Run Cold) was basically crack-fic, a crossover between two of our more amusing characters (they turned into Lucian and Frederik). I never considered publication, to be honest, until Aleks mentioned it. I blame him for my addiction.

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another occupation?
RG: *laughs* You could say writing indeed is my full-time job. I teach writing. This summer, I’m teaching two classes of non-native speakers for a special program at my graduate alma mater, and starting this fall, I’ll be teaching full-time at a community college.

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
RG: Oddly, I don’t have a special place I like to write. I write long-hand, so I can do it anywhere: at my desk at work, outside, at home on my bed, on the couch, at Starbucks (no dirty thoughts!). Anywhere suits me just fine. It really depends on my mood. I like a little background noise most of the time. It can be music or just the white noise of people talking.

TDD: What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
RG: About halfway through, I’ve usually tied myself in a Gordian knot and have to pick my way out of the hot mess I’ve made of the plot. I’m a problem-solver by nature, so eventually I get it untied, but I find it really frustrating. I actually don’t mind editing so much. Again with the problem-solving.

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
RG: Oh, do I. Actually, I’m working on a couple of solo urban fantasy projects under the pen name Vivien Weaver, which I use for non-erotic work. One is part of a series, and one is a serial novel slated for Candlemark & Gleam, a new publishing venture run by the awesome K.S. Olcott. Aleks and I always have several projects on the burners, as well. I won’t get started, or I’ll be here all day. For fans of “Test of Faith,” I plan on writing an Abdul-centric prequel sometime before the year is up, too.

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers? (Contact info, upcoming books, exclusive website content, etc.)
RG: I’m everywhere. You can find me on Facebook, at LiveJournal, Twitter, and Wordpress (all raevgray) and at My email is raev . gray at gmail.

I also do graphic design—I made the covers for all of our work thus far. My graphic design site is I take commissions, although because this summer is extremely hectic because I’m moving in August, I can’t put a real rush on anything at the moment. August, though, I should be well settled.

If you’re interested in my non-erotic urban fantasy work, my pen name, as I mentioned above, is Vivien Weaver. Still working on most of that stuff, but I plan on making a website eventually with outtakes and maybe some free stuff. I’ll post updates about that on my Wordpress.

Thanks for having me, Ralph! It’s been a pleasure. I’d also like to thank all of our/my readers. You guys seriously make my life with your reviews and comments. I’m so happy to know and interact with so many amazing people.

Thank you so much for joining us, Raev! I enjoyed interviewing you and I wish you the best with your books.

You can purchase Blood Run Cold  and Test of Faith on

Monday, June 7, 2010

Promote Literacy

I stumbled upon a charity called We Give Books today. Through their website, you select a charity to sponsor, and then you get to read free books online to and with your child. With every book you read, a book is donated to the charity you chose. The best part? It's completely free to you.

There are a mix of different books for all children from infants to age 10. If you have children, or just enjoy reading children's books, check out the site for yourself. You can visit We Give Books here and support the literary charity of your choice.

Interview with Aleksandr Voinov

The Dancing Dove would like to welcome author Aleksandr Voinov! Aleks was kind enough to take a few moments out of his busy schedule to do an interview with us! I hope you enjoy it. =)

Aleks is the author and co-author of many popular M/M romance books including "Test of Faith," "Special Forces," "Spoils of War" and many others. Aleks has written about 13 novels and has published with five German publishers. He has been called a "workaholic speed-writing freak."

The Dancing Dove: When/where was your first book published?
Aleksandr Voinov: That’s a tricky question, since I published five fantasy/sci-fi paperbacks in Germany. I think the first one was in 2001ish, but I had two short story sales before that. The first sale ever was when I was around 15/16.
The first English-language fiction sale was a historical m/m short story, “Deliverance”, which is about a Templar choosing between faith, hour, love and obligation. “Deliverance” went into the “Forbidden Love” anthology by Noble Romance.

TDD: What was it like when your first book was published?
AV: I think I was high for about three weeks to actually see something solid with my name on it. I did what everybody does – run around telling everybody, expecting the world to stop and worship me and I thought I was God’s gift to literature. It took a few years to beat that out of me.

TDD: I see that you have a book coming out soon with Carina Press. What’s it like working with the new publishing house? Are they any different than the smaller M/M publishing houses?
AV: My editor, Deborah Nemeth, originally worked at Samhain, so I met her when I subbed something to Samhain which she turned down. We stayed in loose contact and then she told me that she’s going to join Carina. So I subbed to them because Deborah went there, rather than because of the publisher.
The editing process itself was super-smooth and very pleasant. Deborah has a real passion to support the writers she works with (it’s a co-prodcution with the awesome Kate Cotoner). So far I’m well impressed with Carina.
Are they different? I’ve had limited experience with other UK/US publishers. What’s definitely different is the contract. Carina’s contract is more modeled after Harlequin’s, so you sign different rights away and the royalty rate is also quite different.

TDD: You’ve been published with a whole slew of publishing houses, is there one that’s your favorite or that you prefer to work with?
AV: So far, I’ve had mostly positive relations with publishers. Noble Romance is great, Dreamspinner and Carina, too. I’ve had a bad experience with one publisher – basically their acquisitions editor was rude and told me I write like a beginner, which means I’ll never sub to them again. After twenty years of publishing, that was the singular case where I felt the publisher was full of sh*t.

TDD: I know you’ve tried your hand at self-publishing through Smashwords with “Spoils of War.” How did that work out for you?
AV: It worked out great, actually. We self-published “Spoils of War” (which is co-written with Raev Gray and deals with Achilles meeting Ares after having been killed) because we donated the story to eXcessica and didn’t have the exclusive rights anymore, which means we couldn’t sell it to a traditional publisher. On the whole, we’ve made as much money from that release as from selling it to a publisher. I was certainly surprised how well it worked, and there will be other books that we’ll self-publish if we don’t find a good fit with any of the publishers.

TDD: The book was offered at “Set Your Own Price,” how well did it sell? Did a lot of people actually pay for it or did more take it for free?
AV: That was a very interesting experiment. Most people took it for free – around 50-60% of them. However, those that DID pay paid enough that the average download for that story came out at around $2.50 – which, you’ll agree, is a lot of money for a short story of less than 7k words. So some people just paid a tenner, or a fiver. Some people emailed me and said they felt guilty for paying too little – because after they’d read it, they felt it was worth a lot more. If you calculate that a short story of similar length cost around 99 cents or maybe $1.29, I call that a resounding success. (And it surprised the hell out of me).

TDD: Out of the books you’ve written and co-written, do you have a favorite?
AV: Oh hell, that’s not easy. I love them all, in different ways. The thriller “Clean Slate” with Barbara Sheridan is high up the list, because it’s the kind of campy action fun with a dark psychological edge that I’d love to read more of. The historical novella “Test of Faith” with Raev Gray is some of the best and intense stuff I’ve ever done – even if publishers didn’t like it. Or, rather, they liked it fine, but asked for a different ending, which would have sold more copies but would have broken the story.
The historical “Lion of Kent” with Kate Cotoner was just so intense to write – the story is brimming with flavour and life and was just pure joy to write. One of my favourites ever is “Collateral”, which is a fanfiction novel I wrote with Gileonnen. That novel helped me avoid burn-out – I was in a bad place, creatively, in 2008, and “Collateral” (and Gil) reminded me that writing can be fun. Shocker, I know.
Generally speaking, the current favourite is the one I’m writing right now (trite, I know, but I have to love them or I wouldn’t find the discipline and faith to do it). I don’t write stuff I don’t believe in and I don’t like spending time with characters I don’t love/or love to hate.

TDD: What made you want to write M/M romance?
AV: I’ve always done it. With two exceptions, even my fantasy/sci-fi releases had a strong gay relationship at the core. But since I was writing for what the publisher thought were teenagers (fantasy/sci-fi has a lot of bad press in Germany), I couldn’t really explore the “icky” relationship, let alone write the sex. Doesn’t mean my characters weren’t doing it, but I had to exclude those scenes. With the stuff I’m writing and selling as “m/m romance”, I can finally keep the camera on when the guys do it.

TDD: How often do you write?
AV: I’m a compulsive-obsessive workaholic, so I get huge guilt-trips when I don’t write every day. Right now my life’s out of whack because I just moved into my own house and that was a huge project that consumed the muse and any creativity I have left goes into buying and placing furniture. I hope to be back to normal, but I keep sending my co-writers emails where I apologize that I’m “no good” at the moment.

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another job?
I like to say that I live off writing, but truth is, I actually get a pay cheque for being a financial journalist reporting on stuff in markets that most people have never heard about, and even more people don’t care about. Which is fine. I also earn some money teaching advanced creative writing (so that publisher telling me I write like a beginner didn’t go down too well).

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy chair?
AV: My desk, which has a huge flatscreen and faces a window looking out over the garden – before that, I was staring at a crème-coloured wall. But I can write in just about any location (apart from the office – I never want to get caught writing sex while at work, that would be just too weird. Also, the office is probably the least sexy place in the universe. At least ours was).

TDD: What part of the writing process is your least favorite?
AV: Writing blurbs. Condensing those thousands and thousands of words into 100-200 suspenseful words is a high art. I’m a trade journalist by profession, not a marketer, so that’s two totally different ways of writing.

TDD: Can you tell us about one of your works-in-progress?
AV: That one’s actually a solo project and called “Iron Cross” – it’s the story of a US Spitfire pilot getting shot down over France in 1941, where he meets a German officer. That one is very close to the bone, since I’m dealing with some family history there and my national history, or maybe “trauma” is the better word. Especially the latter part of the book, when Germany is in ruins and the German officer is only kept upright by his sense of integrity and his love for another man will be a pain to write. But it’s a story that hasn’t been done and needs to be told. Some stories choose you, rather than the other way round, and that one kicked down my door and demanded to be written, even though I thought it’s madness to try and write such a novel. However, it might be the one book, the best I’ll ever do, so I better get to it. Sometimes you just have to face it and grow with your challenges. This challenge is huge.

TDD: Do you have anything else you’d like to tell our readers? (Upcoming releases, giveaways, contact info, exclusive website content, etc.)
AV: Ah, yeah, more about me is on, which has all the links and background info, and there’s a few free stories there (such as “Collateral”). My blog’s on I hang out a lot on Goodreads and Facebook. Next release is “Risky Maneuvers” with Barbara Sheridan from Loose Id in July, and “The Lion of Kent” with Kate Cotoner in August. In September, Dreamspinner is going to release “First Blood”, the sequel to “Clean Slate”. I did mention I’m a compulsive workaholic, right?

Thanks for having me!

Thank you for joining us, Aleks! I wish you the best of luck with everything.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Everything Under the Sun - Review

Everything Under the Sun
Title: Everything Under the Sun
Author: Rachel West
Series: N/A
Rating: 4/5 stars
What do you do when you have every choice in the world at your fingertips and no idea what you want? 
Ever since Chris Bennett graduated high school a year ago, he's been trying to figure out what's next. His lifeguarding job has kept him busy, and in southern California, poolside isn't a bad place to be. But he's spent most of his time thinking about Seth, the former classmate who became something more for a few brief moments last summer. Now Seth is back, but he seems to be running toward Chris and running away from him at the same time. Meanwhile, Chris is increasingly drawn to Alex, his gorgeous new neighbor who puts up a sexy, confident front but may be harboring a few romantic demons of his own. 
Chris doesn't know which direction to go, either in life or in love. But by the time he figures it out, will the right person still be around to want him back?

I really enjoyed the plot of this one. I was curious throughout the entire story to see which character Chris would end up with. Normally in a story like this, I have a favorite that I really want him to end up with (and if anyone mentions a certain book with sparkling stalkers, I will shoot them. Multiple times.) but in this I kept flip flopping over whether I wanted him with Alex or Seth.

I liked the characters in this book. Each one felt real and believable to me. Seth, however, seemed to be a bit bi-polar and his constant flip flopping got on my nerves a bit. Also, why is it romance novels have either a fag hag (a girl that the gay guy is best friends with and he tells everything to) or a really swishy gay guy that the guy tells everything to? I probably would've liked the book a lot better without Marty.

There were a couple things that the author didn't explain that I would've liked explained. We have no real sense of any of the character's pasts. We only get a brief glimpse of Alex's relationship with his ex, which really bothered me. The whole situation with his ex bugged him throughout the novel, but near the end, it was kinda just swept under the rug. I also have no idea how Seth and Chris met, or their past relationship. And the brief mention of Chris's father could've been left out since it was never really elaborated on.

*Warning: Spoiler Ahead. If you wish to avoid this, skip down until you see the end tag.*
The big thing that bothered me though, was Seth. We don't really know what happens with him at the end. Does he go back to Maine and never look back? Does he find a guy of his own or does he end up with a woman? Does he stay friends with Chris? Do him and Alex ever get along? So many questions! (Sequel maybe?)


I did like this book over all. It was very well written and kept me wanting to read more. For once, I don't like the cover Dreamspinner Press did for this book. The three boys look poorly photoshopped together. Maybe the regular cover artist was sick that day? Either way, I'd definitely recommend this book. If you like a sweet contemporary romance with a good amount of sex, this book's for you!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Interview with Anne Brooke

Today I’d like to welcome author Anne Brooke to The Dancing Dove! Anne was kind enough to take the time out of her busy writing schedule to do an interview with me.

Short bio:
Anne Brooke’s fiction has been shortlisted for the Harry Bowling Novel Award, the Royal Literary Fund Awards and the Asham Award for Women Writers. She has also twice been the winner of the DSJT Charitable Trust Open Poetry Competition. Her latest novel is The Hit List, a romantic comedy about friends, family and fantasy hit lists.

The Dancing Dove: What was it like when your first book was published?
Anne Brooke: My first book to be published was my gay psychological thriller, A Dangerous Man, and I was hugely excited about it! I actually ran round the house dancing when my author copies arrived and I couldn’t stop looking at it. Which just goes to show how seriously sad I am!

TDD: Where/When was your first book published?
AB: A Dangerous Man was published in 2007 by a small UK publisher. I’m now thrilled to say that a new edition is set to be published in the US (and worldwide) later this year by Cheyenne Publishing, so I’m very much looking forward to that.

TDD: Do you have a favorite book? (Of yours) If so, why is it your favorite?
AB: Actually, I think I’d have to choose A Dangerous Man. It’s one of the darkest of my gay thriller novels, and I had the voice of my main character, artist/prostitute Michael Jones, in my head for so long that he all but took over. Which could on occasions be scary! Especially for my long-suffering husband. Even now I can hear Michael’s voice every so often, but he’s a whole lot stronger (and odder) than me so it can be useful sometimes …

TDD: Can you tell us a little about your upcoming book Martin and the Wolf?
AB: Yes, Martin and the Wolf is a fantasy short story about how different love can be. When 36-year-old lecturer Martin meets the mysterious Lucas at a midsummer party, the attraction is instant. The two men soon start a relationship, but Martin is puzzled by Lucas’ behaviour as he’s not like any other man he’s ever known. When one night, he tracks Lucas to the depths of the local park, Martin realizes more eye-opening truths about his new lover and the pack of strange wolves he runs with than he'd ever before thought possible.

TDD: What made you start writing fiction?
AB: I’ve been writing poetry for years, but then in 2000 I stalled due to personal reasons. After several months of being unable to write poetry, I complained bitterly to my mother about it (as usual!) and she told me to stop feeling sorry for myself and just to write prose instead. Brutal but it worked. I’ve been writing fiction ever since, and the poetry came back too in the end. Phew!
TDD: How often do you write?
AB: I try to write something every day, even if I’ve only got time for a poem or a haiku. I also try to continue whatever short story is on the go during half my week, and then the other half is spend on the current novel. On Sundays, I usually work on my spiritual novel, The Prayer Seeker’s Journa;, which I am blogging here:

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another occupation?
AB: From Mondays to Wednesdays I work as an Executive Assistant in the Student Care Services department at my local university (and those are the evenings I tend to devote to short story writing). On Thursdays and Fridays, I spend as much time as I can writing the current novel, and aim to complete about 1000 words per day. I also work as a regular reviewer for Vulpes Libris book reviews –

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
AB: In terms of fiction, I always – or almost always! – write on my computer in the spare room. Beyond it, I can see out to the local woods, so that’s always very comforting when things aren’t going smoothly. Occasionally, I’ll write in longhand, but that’s rare. For poetry, I always write it out on paper first and then transfer to the computer. I couldn’t ever write poetry directly to the screen – I don’t know why but the very thought makes me go all peculiar!

TDD: What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
AB: Struggling with where a novel/story section is going – I hate it when the ideas dry up or when a scene just isn’t working out. I start to panic, thinking I’ll never solve it, but my husband is always very calming and supportive which is great. These days, I tend to leave it for a bit and write another scene or another story entirely, and when I come back to the one that was causing the problems, it doesn’t seem so bad.

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
AB: Yes, at the moment, I’m writing the third book of my ongoing fantasy trilogy, The Executioner’s Cane, and I’m about one-third through. The first of the series, The Gifting, has been accepted for publication by Bluewood Publishing in New Zealand, so I’m thrilled about that. I’m also writing a lesbian erotic short story, Butterfly Girl, which is in the very early stages but I think I’ve got the ending in mind now, so that’s a relief. Alongside all this, the ongoing prayer novel continues, as does the poetry. So I’m keeping busy!

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers? (Contact info, upcoming books, exclusive website content, etc.)
AB: Thanks very much for the interview – the questions have really made me think. I can be contacted via my website at which has a contact page and where all information on me and my writing can be found. I also blog regularly at: Upcoming books are:

Angels and Airheads (gay fantasy short story) on 12 June at Torquere Press.

Martin and the Wolf (gay fantasy short story) on 13 June at Amber Allure Press.

The Boilerman and the Bride (romantic short story with erotic content) on 4 July at Amber Quill Press.

Tuluscan Six and the Time Circle (gay fantasy short story) on 18 July at Amber Allure Press.

Plus Cheyenne Publishing will bring out the new edition of A Dangerous Man in the autumn.

Many thanks for reading!

Thanks again for joining us, Anne! I wish you great success with your books.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Interview with Kate Cotoner

Today, I’d like to welcome author Kate Cotoner to The Dancing Dove. Kate was kind enough to stop by and do an interview with me.

The Dancing Dove: What was it like when your first book was published?
Kate Cotoner: It’s a terribly unglamorous answer, I’m afraid *g* As is usual with small presses, release dates aren’t set in stone and I didn’t know when the story would be published. I went on holiday well out of range of the internet and when I came back I’d had a series of increasingly worried emails from my editor saying ‘um, where are you, we want to release this in a few days!’ I was a bit ‘OMG’ about it but fortunately the edits were extremely light, about twenty minutes’ work. So when release day came around, I was just pleased that we’d managed to beat the deadline!

TDD: Where/When was your first book published?
KC: It’s a wee short story called Enslaved, about a crusader and a Saracen, which I wrote in response to an anthology call from Torquere Press. The anthology didn’t happen, but Torquere published the story as a standalone in September last year. There was a limit of something like 7000 words, and if I could do things differently I’d have extended it a little as the characters were interesting guys in an interesting situation and time.

TDD: Do you have a favorite book? If so, why is it your favorite?
KC: Of my own? (I hope so, because I couldn’t pick my favorite book from anyone else—the list is too long!) Hmm, this is difficult, because generally as soon as I’ve finished a story I kind of forget about it and move on. I have a couple of unpublished books that I love, but they need editing! So of my published works, my favorite is ‘Conduit’, which is actually a short story in the anthology Echoes of the Future (Noble Romance). It’s a dystopian sort-of cyberpunk story about a baseline human cop, Ismail, who’s called upon by his ex-husband Toki, who’s a genetic upgrade and former city-state oligarch, to investigate a portable AI criminal who wants to wipe out all the baseline humans in Dun Eideann (Edinburgh). I never thought I’d write sci-fi, it was one of those genres that did nothing for me, but the anthology editor Aleksandr Voinov invited me to write something and I gave it a go. First attempt was rubbish, second attempt I nailed it, and I like the characters so much I want to continue writing about them. That doesn’t happen very often!

TDD: I see that you also have a book published in Chinese (forgive me if I’m wrong with the language, I’m horrible at telling them apart). Was the writing process any different for that book? Can you tell us a little about the book?
KC: You’re right, it is Chinese *g* It’s called Fire On The Mountain, though the title is slightly different in Chinese to fit a particular proverb. A Taiwanese friend and I had a fiction column on a huge Chinese site called MyFreshNet, where readers vote for their favorite stories—I would write the stories in English, my friend translated them—and we were pretty popular, especially since I was something of a ‘novelty Westerner’. I decided to try and write a story geared towards a Chinese audience, but using a European setting. I tend to write a lot hotter than the average Chinese BL story, so we had some pretty funny comments on the erotic content! Eventually the story was picked up by Uei-Shiang, which is the biggest BL publisher in Taiwan. The process was slightly different in that I had to sometimes amend the thinking or behavior of the characters to better reflect Chinese attitudes, and my friend pushed me to explain certain things—usually turns of phrase or general knowledge stuff—that a Westerner takes for granted. The story itself is about an archaeologist and a museum curator ‘armchair historian’ who both want the permit for a particular dig site in Greece. They’re sent to excavate together and end up fighting off antiquities thieves and dealing with the machinations of Greek gods as they argue their way into bed and into love. It’s very tongue-in-cheek and it’s a story that was a lot of fun to write.

TDD: What made you start writing fiction?
KC: I guess it’s the desire to entertain and educate, in a way—in terms of myself and the reader. All fiction should entertain, and I believe fiction has a didactic purpose, too. When I read a book, whether it’s Wolf Hall or The Brazilian Playboy’s Secret Mistress, I like to be able to learn something from it—doesn’t matter what, I just like to finish the book thinking, ‘wow, I never knew X ’. Maybe this has something to do with the fact that I first started writing stories for my friends at the back of English classes in school!

TDD: How often do you write?
KC: I try to write every day, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. Everyone says you should write every day, and for me it’s true—I find that if I have significant time away (longer than a week), it takes forever for me to get back into the groove and I’m constantly being distracted by things like washing up or folding clothes or checking Twitter!

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another occupation?
KC: Writing is more of a hobby. I have two day-jobs—I work in a museum as an archivist, researcher, and exhibitions organizer, and I also do freelance academic and technical editing. I used to edit erotic romance for an e-publisher, but had to give that up due to time restrictions. There are only so many hours in the day, after all…

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
KC: I have a space screened off in a bedroom—literally I have a folding screen that’s pulled out to mark the area, and behind it I have my very untidy desk and a laptop and a printer that needs to be replaced. The writing space used to be beside the window, but my optician told me that positioning a laptop near a source of sunlight is a bad idea—it’s better for your eyes if the area around the laptop is slightly darker. So now my writing space is at the back of the room.

TDD: What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
KC: Honestly, this changes from story to story. Sometimes I fuss about the start, sometimes I get bogged down in the middle, sometimes I can’t find the right title, sometimes I fret about whether or not I’ve gathered up all the loose ends as I go towards the end of a project… Editing is usually an interesting process, and I usually learn something from it, even if I often wish there could be a consistent set of rules applied across all publishers, just to make authors’ lives easier!

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
KC: Sure—I’m working on two novellas for Torquere at the moment, one called The Puppet Master, which is set in the coffee houses of early 17th century Istanbul. The plot revolves around the owner of a coffee house who’s in love with his friend, a puppet master of Karagöz theatre (Turkish shadow plays). I love Istanbul and the period of Ottoman rule is something I find particularly interesting for its uneasy and often hypocritical marriage of public morality and private excess.

Still in the planning and research stage is a story tentatively entitled Malachite, for Torquere’s Color Box line—I picked, yep, you guessed it: malachite! I really enjoy the concept of this series, and have contributed two books towards it—Thunder (violet) is already out, and The Imperial Cat (kikujin, olive green) is due to be released in October. Malachite will be set in the Old Kingdom of ancient Egypt and the plot revolves around the copper mines of Sinai.

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers?
KC: I have a bunch of releases coming up in the next few months! Four of ‘em *gulp* ranging from contemporary to historical to paranormal. First up is Hand of Glory (June 12, from Torquere Press), a contemporary mystery/suspense about an architect and an Anglican priest who are trying to unravel the mystery of a rather grisly artifact, a Hand of Glory (the hand of a criminal chopped off after death and used as a candle to light the way for thieves!). It’s my first attempt at writing a ‘sweet’ romance, too.

Later in June there’s The Fall of a State (date TBA, from Dreamspinner Press), a historical set in ancient China about an Emperor and his new favorite, a qin player (a qin is a type of zither), set against the backdrop of palace politics. This is based on actual historical personalities.

Then in July there’s a contemporary paranormal, Basilisk (July 7, from Torquere Press), a light-hearted romp about an American in London who accidentally gets caught up in the secret underground world of Greek gods and who ends up partnered with a sweet-natured but ultimately deadly basilisk.

Finally, there’s The Lion of Kent (August, from Carina Press), co-written with Aleksandr Voinov, a historical set in 12th century England about a medieval squire determined to win his spurs and impress his lord. This is the first in a trilogy about the most typical and symbolic of masculine medieval pursuits—hunting, tournaments, and crusading—and Lion of Kent explores the first of those themes.

Interested readers can always check out the latest updates and excerpts on my website:

Thank you, Dancing Dove, for having me here today and for such a fun interview!

Thank you, Kate, for joining us today! I wish you great success with your books!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Monday Mini Reviews

Here is the first installment of our Monday Mini Reviews!

Keeping Promise Rock Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane - 5/5 Stars
One word: Amazing. I loved the detail Lane put into this work. Her characters felt like they were real people and I really cared about them. Each one had their own unique personality, too. I love how we got to see their relationship evolve from childhood through adulthood. Lane even brought me to tears a couple times. Highly Recommended.

Rough Ride
Rough Ride by Carol Lynne - 4/5 Stars
This was a pretty good story. It wasn't great, but it had a good mix of plot/sex. It was also fairly angst free. If you've liked the earlier Cattle Valley books, you'll probably like this one too.

Play On
Play On by J.M. Synder - 3/5 Stars
I think this is the worst of her Playing the Field books yet. I didn't much care for any of these characters, and the way they spoke annoyed me to no end. Her characters felt extremely shallow, immature and uneducated through out the piece. There's not much going on is this story besides non-stop sex.

Interview with Sam C. Leonhard

I'd like to welcome Sam C. Leonhard, author of "Tainted Blood", to The Dancing Dove today! Sam has agreed to do a short interview with me today.

The Dancing Dove: What was it like when your first novel, "Tainted Blood,” was published?
Sam Leonhard: Actually, submitting the first four chapters to my publisher rather than the publication date was the most exciting part, and when they asked for more, I was thrilled. Three weeks later, they agreed to publish it, and I couldn’t stop yelling Hooray. It is my first novel and Dreamspinner Press was the first publisher I contacted… I simply couldn’t believe my luck. Somehow, I still can’t believe it, especially because English is not my first language.

TDD: What is the novel about? Where/when was it published?
SL: It is a fantasy novel and was published on May 3rd, 2010 by Dreamspinner Press. Basically, it is about a murder mystery, portals to other worlds, runes, and magic – that sort of stuff. I am a big fantasy fan and I felt the genre could do with a bit of gay love, which is an integral part of the story.

TDD: What inspired your novel "Tainted Blood"?
SL: About three years ago, I began writing fanfiction, and I stumbled upon a page where readers could leave reviews. Reviews, now, are a big motivation for me, but eventually, I wanted to write something original. "Tainted Blood" was inspired by a scene I couldn’t use in the fanfiction world. It is the scene with the centaurs – a bit too cruel and too bloody to be used in my fandom, so I wrapped my own story around it.

TDD:What made you start writing fiction?
SL: I read my first fantasy novel with twelve, loved it, and never grew out of it. I enjoy playing with words, I enjoy twisting fate, and it was wonderful to find fandom, where people tick just like me. Writing fanfiction was and still is great, but eventually I learned that writing about characters someone else invented is not wholly satisfying. So now I create my own worlds, my own stories, and make my own characters beat the fate I invent for them.

TDD: How often do you write?
SL: I try to write on a daily basis, but don’t always make it. Sometimes, half a week passes before I manage to open my notebook. If I don’t write for too long, I get miserable, I must admit. I guess I just need my fix.

TDD: Is writing your full time job or do you have another occupation?
SL: I don’t know if I would like writing fantasy novels to be a full-time job. At the moment, it is my way into other worlds. I can leave reality behind for the time being, and this might very well change if I had to do it for a living. I am working as a technical editor, which earns me my bread and butter. When at home, I spend some of my time as a fantasy author, which is very satisfying. Perfect combination, in my opinion.

TDD: Is there a certain place you like to write? The beach, the library, a comfy spot on the couch?
SL: I prefer to write at home, and mostly on the couch. Occasionally, I choose the armchair in the dining room, but only if the living room is too hot. Writing outside doesn’t work for me, although I always have a pen and paper on me in case I have an idea about the next chapter. Writing things down helps me to concentrate on the task ahead, and that I can do everywhere.

TDD: What's your least favorite part of the writing process?
SL: Writing is what I love to do, and when I am not at my notebook, I think about the story and the next chapters. The only part I have my problems with is getting myself kicked into editing a story I consider finished. Reading and rereading and rewriting and correcting is not what I like to do. Editing and reworking a story, awaiting and incorporating feedback is a very important part of the writing process, but I don’t like it anyway.

TDD: Do you have any works-in-progress you'd like to tell the readers about?
SL: I am working on the sequel to Tainted Blood, which is my first priority at the moment. In addition, I am writing a story about an assassin. The main character, Rage, is usually a man who does the job he got paid for without questioning it. This time, though, he makes the mistake of feeling sorry for one of his victims, a young girl deeply hated by her father. Instead of killing her, Rage saves her, and has now to deal with a spoiled princess, a jealous lord, an annoying cat, and a very cruel, sadistic killer. The content is adult, but the love story between Rage and the gardener’s son is only a small part of the plot. I will post a draft blurb on my LiveJournal next weekend, hoping I can gather some early feedback.

TDD: Do you have anything else you'd like to tell the readers? (Contact info, upcoming books, exclusive website content, etc.)
SL: I made it to Facebook only recently, so anyone who likes can find and friend me. I’m always happy for feedback, and whoever likes can mail me directly. As soon as there are news concerning the sequel to Tainted Blood or Rage, I will put it on my LiveJournal and on Facebook. Also, I plan to post the first chapter of Tainted Blood to a friend’s website; under all reviewers I will raffle two PDF-copies of the novel. I’ll announce on Facebook and LJ once the chapter is up and give a link to the site as well.

Thank you very much for the interview!
Sam C. Leonhard

You can contact Sam at the following places: Facebook, LiveJournal or by email at sc.leonhard (at) googlemail (dot) com

You can learn more about Tainted Blood at Dreamspinner Press’s website. Information about the Ebook can be found here here. Information about the Paperback can be found here.

Thank you so much for joining us, Sam! I hope everyone enjoyed the interview. =)

Saturday, May 29, 2010


I have some good things planned for next week! I'm starting a new thing called "Monday Mini Reviews" where I'll post short reviews and ratings for a few books I've read recently. It won't replace my normal reviews, but it'll allow me to put reviews of books that I either liked or didn't like but don't have a whole lot to say.

I've also got three interviews coming up next week. So far I have the following authors scheduled:

Sam Leonhard on May 31
Kate Cotoner on June 1
and Anne Brooke on June 2

I'm going to try and do more interviews with people from the literary world - authors, editors, beta readers and possibly some publishers. If you're any of the above, please feel free to email me to schedule and interview.

I've also got a couple book reviews planned for next week, too! Keep any eye out for those. ;)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Short Fiction Piece - William Cooper

Hello, guys! My name is William Cooper. My first story - Broken Bones, Mended Hearts - was released today from Dreamspinner Press.

When Noah wakes up in the hospital, he's relieved to see his best friend Mark at his side. Mark's always been there for him—ever since a school bully tried to steal Noah's lunch money. Is it too much for Noah to hope that Mark will want to be a more permanent part of his life?

You can find out more about Broken Bones, Mended Hearts on Dreamspinner's website.

In order to celebrate, I'm posting this short piece exclusively here, on The Dancing Dove. I hope you enjoy it.

Josh had his arm around my waist as the two of us walked down the sidewalk. The street lamps cast a romantic glow on everything. Most of the shops along the main street were closed, except for the few that remained open late.

I glanced up at Josh’s face; he looked even more handsome with the bright white moon behind him. “I can’t believe you picked such an expensive restaurant for our Valentine’s dinner.” Every year we went out to dinner for Valentine’s Day, and each year we switched who got to decide – this year was Josh’s year. “You know we don’t need to go to fancy places to enjoy ourselves.”

Josh pulled me closer to him, planting a kiss on my cheek. “I know, but I wanted tonight to be special. We’ve been dating for six years now.”

My heart rate sped up. God, even after six years he can still make me hard as a rock with a single kiss.

The two of us walked along in silence for a little while longer. There were other couples walking around, enjoying the rest of their Valentine’s Day evening.

“Where are we going?” I asked after a few minutes.

“To the park.”

I looked over to see a huge grin on Josh’s face. “Why are we going to the park? It’s nearly eleven.”

Josh’s grin got even bigger. “You’ll see . . .” He leaned over and kissed me again, this time on the lips. I eagerly kissed him back, probing the inside of his mouth with my tongue. I groaned when Josh pulled away from me.

“We’re in public, remember?” he chastised.

I blushed and wished we were heading home, rather than to the park. The two of us continued walking towards the park, Josh still with his arm around my waist.

When we got to the park, Josh led me to a secluded area by a small lake. The crickets were chirping as the two of us gazed at the lake. The night sky was littered with stars, giving us plenty of light to see by.

As I enjoyed the serenity of the lake, Josh stood behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. I leaned back against him, content to just stand in his arms. Sex with Josh was always amazing, but nothing compared to just holding each other.

Josh turned me around to face him. “Tyler . . . You know I love you, right?”

I nodded. God, I hope he’s not breaking up with me. That would be such a shitty way to end a perfect evening.

Josh grinned and backed away. He fished in his pocket for a moment before he knelt down onto the grass. In his hand was a dark blue box containing a small ring. “Tyler Barret, will you marry me?”

Is he serious? My mouth went completely dry as I tried to avoid falling over. One glance was all it took for me to see that he was very serious. I smiled at Josh and pulled him into an embrace. I pressed my lips to his, letting our tongues entwine.

“I’ll take that as a yes?” he asked when we pulled apart.

Both of us panted from the intensity of the kiss. “Yes, it’s a yes. This was the most perfect night ever. Of course I’ll marry you, Josh!” I hugged him again. “I love you.”

I felt his arms tighten around me. “I love you, too.”

Everything felt right in my world.


Thank you for reading! You can visit my website at