Saturday, August 30, 2008

Book Signing with me and Jon Michaelsen in Atlanta, Oct. 6!

Join me and Jon Michaelsen at Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse in Atlanta, GA Oct. 6, 2008 at 7:30pm!

We will be signing copies of "Men" from loveyoudivine Alterotica, which includes my story "Safe Word" and Jon's story "Voyeur".

Come see us and get an autograph from your favorite authors! (Yes, that would be us!)

Outwrite Bookstore and Coffeehouse
991 Piedmont Ave.
Atlanta, GA 30309

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hex: A Novel of Love Spells by Darieck Scott

Warning: Contains spoilers!

Hex is not only a novel of love spells, but also the love of relationships, unrequited and sex. It contains elements of the supernatural, occult and horror. Throughout the story and more importantly, it has a wonderful sense of humor.

The novel opens in Miami, where news of Castro’s death has sent the city into a frenzy of excitement and celebration, especially among the gay Cubans. Several friends visiting get caught in the midst of the revelry and strange sightings of the supposedly past-on Cuban dictator. Langston Fleetwood, his straight(?) best friend Azaril, friends Reynaldo and Quentin search for Damian who vanished under very serious circumstances during one of these episodes. Their quest takes Langston and Azaril to Key West where Langston’s Aunt Reginia, a respected and formidable psychic sends the foursome on a journey that takers them to the campus of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut to New York City and back to Miami. They learn the strange and bizarre family history of their friend Damian, are stalked by a warlock bent on capturing their secrets and a poor little rich girl who is an odd wild card with the power to bend time and space. In the midst of the chaos, Azaril disappears in a fashion very similar to Damian’s.

Scott’s writing takes a little getting used to at first, since he writes in the present tense. His prose gets a bit wordy at times but he soon grabs the readers and pulls them into a fantastic world of alternative universes, sorcery and the joy and heartaches of gay love. At six hundred and one pages, Hex is a lengthy read but again Scott doesn’t forget his readers. One could easily get bogged down on some of the lengthy descriptions, but not with this author. He keeps us grounded and back in the story, experiencing the action instead of merely reading it.

I found myself absorbing Aunt Reginia Jameson Wolfe’s teachings to Langston to the point that I actually reacted as she did when he asked her a question about the powers in which he was tapping. That’s great writing when you can connect with a character so closely.

Although a powerful psychic, Reginia remains down-to-earth and fiercely protective of her family, including her two sons, typical teenagers in their own world, clueless as to the scope of events happening around them. Reginia is not bothered by four o’ clock in the morning phone calls from her nephew unless, of course, he interrupts her favorite movies. She has some of the best lines in the entire book.

Another character that injects humor into the story is the rich Roan Gillory. She accidentally turns her husband into a dog, morphs her hotel room into a tropical rain forest, and moves it out of the real of the hotel’s physical reality. Roan never completely loses touch with her earthly side as she checks out the warlock’s butt and admits to Langston that she wouldn’t mind making out with his aunt.

The fascinating climax, the rescue of Damian and Azaril, is a journey into the alternate realities with Aunt Reginia leading the way and taking charge. On a hysterical note, as they emerge from the experience, the five young men discover that Reginia used the power they tapped into to bless their already significant endowments and give herself and Roan Gillory a nip and tuck. Who among us wouldn’t take the same advantage of an opportunity like that for a little physical enhancement?

Hex is one of the best books I’ve ever read and certainly the best in gay literature. The not-too-happy ending is a nice dose of reality when Langston must give up the love of his life, Azaril. This digression from the usual pretty-boy-gets-pretty-boy-in-the-end (no pun intended) kept it real and that’s the biggest thing I applaud Darieck Scott. He gives us a powerful love story complete with sci-fi and fantasy elements that blissfully casts a love spell on its readers and keeps them enchanted to the end.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Wine of Violence by Priscilla Royal

I love medieval whodunits, especially those of Ellis Peters, Margaret Frazer and Peter Tremayne, all of whom have cloister residents as sleuths. Priscilla Royal’s young but shrewd prioress Eleanor of Wynethorpe ranks among formidable company as Brother Cadfael, Dame Frevisse and Sister Fidelma.

In her first novel with the uncanny Eleanor, Royal takes us back to the year 1270 during the waning years of Henry III’s reign, who favors Eleanor’s well-connected family by assigning her as prioress of the remote Tyndal priory. Her youth and inexperience does not set well among many of the members. Namely, Sister Ruth, who was elected prioress by the sisters only to be stricken of the title when Eleanor is appointed; and Brother Simeon, an arrogant and self-absorbed monk who ran Tyndal, taking advantage of the elderly Prioress Felicia and the equally-aged Prior Theobold.

Eleanor knows she has to overcome the nun’s negativity and the monks disdain for her, but the new priest, the young Brother Thomas, ignites fires of lust in her that confound her logic. She is confused by her reaction to the monk.

Thomas arrived at Tyndal just after Eleanor to replace Brother Rupert, who was murdered the day after her arrival. Thomas has been sent for reasons other than to care for the sick in the infirmary and hear the nuns’ confessions. His investigative skills are needed to determine why the priory is not as profitable as in recent years, an accusation that came from an anonymous letter written to the mother house.

Although he initiates strong feelings in Eleanor, Thomas has no interest in women. I find it interesting that Royal chose a gay man as a sleuth in this situation and environment. He’s dumped into a thirteenth century priory where the perpetrator of the crimes turns out to be a homosexual, also. And they’re not the only ones connected to the priory.

It’s her main character, Eleanor of Wynethorpe that is the most vivid and complex. She rules Tyndal with wit, intelligence and a common sense well beyond her twenty years. Wine of Violence is a great read which is why I’ve read it twice now. Beautifully written and rich in details, it’s one of a few books that is very hard to put down. I look forward to more from Priscilla Royal.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Face Down in the Marrow Bone Pie by Kathy Lynn Emerson

The Elizabethan era is one of the most intriguing and fascinating times of England’s colorful history. This may be the reason why so many authors, such as Fiona Buckley, Karen Harper, Edward Marston and Kathy Lynn Emerson, choose that time period as the backdrop for their mysteries. The glamour of court life, wars against Spain and France, and the strife at home give the authors plenty of events as a basis of their stories.

Emerson’s first mystery with Lady Susanna Appleton is set in the first year of Elizabeth’s reign. The Lady’s husband Sir Robert is sent to France by good Queen Bess on a reconnaissance mission loosely disguised as a gift giving gesture to the new French king.

During his absence, Susanna travels to her husband’s ancestral home Appleton Manor where the steward died under circumstances she finds odd. Although she and her retinue arrive several weeks after the death and there is no evidence that the man’s passing was anything other than natural, Susanna continues to probe, snoop and ask questions surrounding the deaths of the steward and her father-in-law’s two years prior.

Her investigation is thwarted by the local villagers’ mistrust of the newcomers to the manor, the strange family of the neighboring manor and the general opinion that Sir Robert’s boyhood home is haunted by a vengeful ghost.

Slowly but persevering, Lady Appleton finds out more about her husband’s family and their history than he ever told her.

Emerson’s Susanna is a very strong-will and stubborn woman who doesn’t exactly bully her husband but forces her wishes and does what she wants. Sir Robert appears almost cuckolded. His trip to France in intermingled in the novel but adds nothing to the mystery and becomes more a distraction rather than a sub-plot. It was as if Emerson only used it to show her knowledge of the French monarchy during Elizabeth’s early reign and get Sir Robert out of the way to allow Susanna her freedom to investigate the steward’s death without interruption. The only cross-connect between the two stories is a brief but very important event at the climax of the mystery.

It seems that Susanna is based loosely on Queen Elizabeth I, whose intelligence, wit and eccentricities are portrayed accurately although the monarch makes a very brief appearance. But Lady Appleton becomes almost too over-bearing for the reader because she is always right with few flaws.

Even with all that, Face Down in the Marrow-Bone Pie is a fun read and does whet the readers’ appetite for more. I definitely plan to continue reading Emerson’s Face Down series.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

First You Fall by Scott Sherman

For someone who writes about detectives with arcane powers such as telekinesis and telepathy, I had a difficult time (at first) wrapping my mind around the concept of a male prostitute as a sleuth. Kevin Connor is a hustler who sucks off, jerks off and otherwise gets off half the population of NYC. The male half that is. There’s not a straight male to be found anywhere in First You Fall. Once you get past the narcissism, Kevin and his best friend Freddy are a likeable pair.

When a friend of his takes a multi-story dive out of his posh, high-rise apartment, Kevin is convinced that it was not an open-and-shut case of suicide as the police are too quick to conclude. He begins his own investigation into Allen Harrington’s death, which becomes complicated when an old boyfriend from seven years ago reappears as the detective on the case. Although Tony is married, it is clear that he still has the hots for Kevin, who uses the sexual tension to his advantage. Occasionally, the mystery took a back seat to the off-and-on, up-and-down relationship between them and, in a sense, turning the reader into a voyeur.

Where Miss Marple uses gossip and Dr. Elizabeth Chase uses her psychic powers to solve mysteries, Kevin Connor uses his body. In nearly every situation, he employs his looks, his dress and his physique to get answers to the questions he’s asking. In other words, just as Robert Rodi’s Kept Boy, only young, fit and pretty get sex, unless Kevin wants something from you. If you don’t fit at least one of these criteria, you must pay. But everyone wants to have sex with Kevin Connor. Guess what? The murderer is someone who doesn't want to have sex with him!

There is a lot of humor in First You Fall in the form of Kevin’s best friend Freddy, who is a loveable if not over-the-top queen; and Kevin’s mother who has little idea how to be a mother. These two give the reader good laughs.

First You Fall is an enjoyable read once you overlook the main character’s constant preening, primping and arrogance. Then it is an engrossing story that’s difficult to put down. Sherman leaves us with a cliff hanger so we look forward to Kevin Connor’s next adventure.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Men - The Anthology is now available on!

This is my short story and six other stories also sizzling hot by Carol McKenzie, Anastasia Rabiyah, Max Griffin, Patricia Oshier Bruening, Jon Michaelsen and ME (Alex Morgan)

(including my story, Safe Word)

ISBN 978-1-60054-240-4

Genre: Gay Lit