Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Jaymie at Bayou Book Junkie on A Chance for Hope

Blog Tour ~ Love Wins Anthology (#Review, #AuthorGuestPost)

Blog Tour ~ Love Wins Anthology ~ (Review, Author Guest Post and Excerpt)


Title: Love Wins
Authors: Lucie Archer, Kris T. Bethke, Deja Black, M.A. Church, David C. Dawson, Jana Denardo, Nicole Dennis, Grace R. Duncan, Jude Dunn, Tray Ellis, Julie Lynn Hayes, Xenia Melzer, L.A. Merrill, Alicia Nordwell, Ravon Silvius, Renee Stevens, Troy Storm
Release Date: December 12, 2016
Category: Anthology, Contemporary, M/M/M or more, Holiday, Paranormal: Werewolves/Shifters, Fantasy: Urban Fantasy, Science Fiction
Pages: 330


With time comes healing, but Orlando and the LGBT community are still recovering from last June’s tragedy. To show our ongoing support for those affected by the Orlando shooting, our authors, editors, artists, and staff have volunteered their talents to create this second benefit anthology. All proceeds will be donated to LGBT organizations in central Florida. Join us as we reaffirm that no matter the obstacle, love always wins.

Abstract Heart by Lucie Archer
Nick spends nearly every lunch break at the modern art museum, hoping to catch a glimpse of docent Kris. Kris has noticed the cute guy hanging around the exhibits too but never manages to approach him. It will take a matchmaking security guard to bring these two introverts together.

Cats and Christmas Trees: Trouble Waiting to Happen by M.A. Church
What’s a half human to do when Christmas rolls around? Kirk tries ignores it, but his shifter mates Tal and Dolf, being sneaky kitties, persist in finding out what’s troubling him so they can make it better.

A Chance for Hope by Deja Black
In the aftermath of tragedy, freelance writer Brad Truscott is drawn to ease Paul Bachman’s grief. But will Paul ever be ready to take another chance on happiness?

Changing Things by Nicole Dennis
Despite his allergies, Ryan puts up with the two rescue cats his boyfriend, Seth, adores. But when an especially severe asthma attack sends Ryan to the hospital, Seth realizes something has to give—either his relationship with Ryan or his guardianship of Fili and Kili.

Especially in Orlando by Troy Storm
When bighearted mover Dalton is hired to haul away a hot young guy’s belongings after a breakup, he can’t help returning to see how the good-looking older man is dealing with the transition. George is happy to take Dalton up on his offer of solace. But then George’s ex, Peter—aka Mr. Prissy Pout—has second thoughts, and while George isn’t interested in taking him back, he and Dalton are willing to share their experience—and more.

Free to Love by Kris T. Bethke
Henry is tired of hiding their relationship, but Shane is afraid to risk losing his job and his parents by coming out as gay. When his worst fears prove true, Shane finds that life outside his parents’ repressive control is so much better than anything he could have imagined.

Happily Ever After, After All by L.A. Merrill
Once upon a time, Princess Aubergine dreamed of a fairy-tale wedding to the girl of her dreams. Things haven't exactly worked out that way. Locked in a tower for ten years, Aubergine managed to scare off all the princes coming to rescue her. Now it's up to her to do the rescuing—until a band of students from the local Ladies’ Academy happen upon her tower and devise a daring escape plan.

The Importance of Pride by Ravon Silvius
College history professor Patrick Levine is looking for a subject for a research proposal when he discovers his granduncle’s journal. To his shock, not only was Uncle Marty gay, but he’d been at the Stonewall riot in 1969. Will learning more about his uncle’s history help Patrick face his own fears about coming out?

The Insomniac Sommelier by Julie Lynn Hayes
Kirk Westmoreland dreams of owning his own restaurant someday, but for now he fights insomnia while working at family-owned Venezia with his control-freak older brother. After work he tries to de-stress at Sweeties, a small diner run by his sister and her wife. When Kirk meets the diner’s new server, Ashley, he ends up going home with him—to the best sleep he’s had in forever. If he can’t keep his life at Sweeties compartmentalized from his life at Venezia, Kirk will have to decide which one he’s willing to give up.

Looking for George by David C. Dawson
Betty’s innocent crush on actor George Clooney became something more when he saved her from a fall at the hotel she works at in London. When she discovers her Italian holiday trip will take her only a few miles from the actor’s summer villa… well, surely fate means for them to meet again.

Love Over Lotto by Jude Dunn
Craig Batson and Tom Rendelle have plenty of joy together but not so much money. Determined to improve their finances, Craig borrows a library book on the secrets of winning the lottery and empties their rainy-day fund to buy dozens of lottery tickets. Tom explodes when he finds out, leaving Craig to wonder if their love can survive.

More Than His Scars by Jana Denardo
Facing the anniversary of the day he lost his arm while serving in the Middle East, Aaron is understandably depressed. It’s up to his lover, Rhys, to plan a special day to help Aaron see how amazing he really is.

Overcoming Fear by Grace R. Duncan
In the year since a global pandemic ravaged their world, Duncan has done everything he can to ease Mark’s fears of losing him. When a minister and his wife seek out Mark for help, Duncan sees an opportunity to show Mark another level of commitment—if Mark will dare to take it.

Prevailing Zzz's by Tray Ellis
After eight months together, Greg wants Win to move in with him. But how can Win agree when Greg's snoring leaves him sleep-deprived and miserable?

Pushing Back Oblivion by Alicia Nordwell
Fighting a rapidly growing brain tumor, Cohen promises his partner, Jaime, that he’ll never give up. Through surgeries and setbacks, at times that promise and Jaime’s voice are all Cohen has to cling to.

Reluctant Valentine by Xenia Melzer
A best-selling thriller novelist, Dean writes romances as a relaxing hobby. But when writer’s block strikes, sexy handyman Morgan shows up to provide all the inspiration he needs.

Taking a Chance by Renee Stevens
Gabe and Toby work for the same company, Gabe in the US and Toby in London. After meeting at a convention, they spend nearly every moment of their time together, but when they both have to return home, their only option is to attempt a long-distance relationship.



A Chance for Hope by Deja Black

In the aftermath of tragedy, freelance writer Brad Truscott is drawn to ease Paul Bachman’s grief. But will Paul ever be ready to take another chance on happiness?

Excerpt from A Chance for Hope:

Be waiting when I get there, Paul’s text read. How many times had Brad almost called, almost texted? And now this message. Brad wasn’t sure what to do or what that even meant. One thing was certain, though. He wasn’t getting any more work done today.
Brad shut his computer down.
As he drove down to Publix to pick up some things, he remembered Saturday evening, the second kiss Paul and he’d shared. He’d been over and over it again in his head. Too fast! Slow down! But he didn’t and he couldn’t.
He didn’t know when the need for Paul had outweighed his logic or his desire to taste him overwhelmed his ability to remember they were just friends, but he wasn’t going back. Somewhere along the line, Brad had fallen in love with Paul, and he hoped that just maybe Paul felt the same.
Had Paul’s text meant what he hoped he did? Was Paul ready for more between them?



Thank you for allowing me the opportunity. This is my second visit with Bayou Book Junkie, and I'm so pleased to be invited to return.

 Ten Things I wish I had Known before Becoming a Published Author:

  1. Planner or Pantser – Neither the two shall simply be. I struggled with this thought until I realized something. It depends on what I’m writing. If I know the book is going to require some intense research, then I’m planning. If I’m just feeling the story, I may just start with an idea of the characters and go from there. For me, it’s about the story I’m telling. It’s about the goal I’m trying to reach. My method or approach varies on need. 
  2. Establish a Platform – As writers, we tend to be solitary creatures. But, if you’re going to write, you have to get past that. Get to know others.  Make friends. Get to know people who write and read. The growth you’ll experience in your craft will astound you. Be social and use those social networking sites! Create a blog. Make a Facebook page. Twitter. Pinterest. Goodreads? Use it, but don’t fall into the abyss. Find ways to get yourself out there. Still, don’t forget to time yourself, though. Would hate for you to get lost socializing more than you’re writing.
  3. Don’t Compare – Such an easy trap to fall into, comparing yourself to others. I don’t write like this author. Should I add more detail like this author? Yes, you can learn from other writers, but you have to write like you. Find your own niche, your own style. Find what speaks to you. A good friend told me, “Write your way, and your people will find you.” I’m finally seeing this happen.  Everyone is at a different stage. You still have time to reach yours. But, do read your favorite books and the new ones, too. Check out how they approach what troubles you. I read for timeline help all the time, and it helps.
  4. Have a Writing Schedule – I have to get in the right headspace to write. In the beginning, I thought it was when the kids went to bed. Then, I read an article and learned that the best time may actually be an hour before I have to get up for work. I’m a teacher, so I already have to get up early. Lose another hour of sleep? So didn’t want to, but I tried it anyway. And, it works. No interruptions, no children up that early, no hubby, either. My time and my time alone without requests or needs or calls. Nothing. I’ve been doing it ever since. Now, I can actually do more with my family and the other parts of life that need to be done. Hey, I can even clean the house. I’m not talking Martha Stewart. Never going to happen. But, up at 4:30 am writing? Best thing ever.
  5. The “Write” Music – Can’t write without music, and just like any other writer, I have my favorites. What I had to realize was that I needed different playlists for different moments: Banks, FKA twigs, Tank, Evanescence, Basement Jaxx, Dubstep in general, Pink, Transformers Soundtrack, Miley Cyrus, Rhianna, Rap, Disturbed, Metallica, Classical sometimes, even Disney movie soundtracks, an Irish tune here or there. I generally choose songs based on where I am in a piece.
  6. Read Aloud – I’ve done this with writing term papers. Took me a second to realize the same thing needed to happen when writing books. You read what you see. Read it aloud, and you hear what’s missing. 
  7. Beta Readers – Yes, I need beta readers. You will, too. Problem is your beta readers need to know what you want. Type a list of look fors. Know your typical problem areas, and have them help you locate the little demons. Timeline, overuse of a word, character development. Whatever your troubles. With that in mind, you have beta readers for a reason. They aren’t there to like everything. They’re there to make you better. So, don’t take it personal. It’s about the story, not about you. And, appreciate them.
  8. Write – Write every moment you can, not just your established time. Keep a journal for the ideas that you will definitely forget if you don’t put them somewhere. You’ll be surprised how much you can add to your story by just keeping track of those random thoughts. 
  9. Take Care of Yourself – It’s okay to take a moment to think, to have fun with your family, to see a movie you like, to read, to enjoy a good meal. You can’t be complete if you don’t remember you. Writing is love and work, not just work. 
  10. Reviews – Reviews can be helpful, but try to read the ones that are knowledgeable of the craft.  I read one once, and the pain was crushing. Then I read an article on reviews by Amy Lane, spoke to friends and healed. Reviews are opinions. Everyone has them. If you’re going to read them, read with the intent of improving.  




*Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie by Dreamspinner Press for my reading pleasure in hopes of an unbiased opinion, a review was not a requirement.*


Abstract Heart by Lucie Archer 

4 Stars!

Can shy and socially awkward Nick and museum docent Kris get together?

Cute story of two men who are both interested in each other but due to Nick's sometimes debilitating shyness and Kris's inability to find the perfect moment, these men just can't seem to catch a break. With Nick's sister Courtney pushing for Nick to get a boyfriend and museum security guard Henry trying to help Kris to interact with Nick, these two men have plenty of help in the love department. With one private tour of the museum, Nick and Kris finally find happiness. 

❤ 

Cats and Christmas Trees 

4 Stars! 

I loved Kirk, Tal and Dolf. While Tal and Dolf may be werecats, Kirk is still half-human and he misses the traditional Christmas holiday he used to celebrate. Wanting to make their mate happy, Tal and Dolf agree to come up with a way to make the holiday work for all of them. And work for them it did!

This is like a quick sexy snack with a little fun werecat antics. Cats love Christmas trees and decorations and that includes Dolf and Tal. Kirk enjoys watching them play but after a bit decides he would rather them play with him. 

💛 

A Chance For Hope by Deja Black 

4 Stars

Paul lost his husband, the man he'd spent the last 14 years loving to the Orlando Tragedy. Weighed down by his grief, Paul is wary of Brad, a freelance writer who introduces himself as wanting to be a friend. Paul has no idea that as Brad has seen him dealing with his loss and drawing inside of himself, Brad has longed to be a shoulder for him. Paul accepts Brad in his life and slowly Brad is able to help him learn to live again.

This is a sweet story about tragic loss and healing, a second chance at love story. I was a tad apprehensive at first, because I saw Brad almost like a borderline stalker. He's sweet and sincere and a good person, so I let it go. I just focused on how he took care of Paul and the fact that the two of them were good together.

I do believe though that if this were at least a novella as opposed to a short story and we could have gotten more substance and death with the characters, this could be an incredible story. 

💚 

Changing Things by Nicole Dennis 

3.5 Stars!

Seth and Ryan are in love but their relationship is tested when Ryan's allergy to Seth's cats becomes detrimental to his asthma. Now Seth will need to decide between Ryan or his beloved cats.

This was a short story about the sacrifices some of us have to make in the name of love. In this case Seth had to decide if he loved Ryan or his cats more. I understand this as a pet owner but I have to say when you love someone, you do what you have to. I couldn't allow my partner to have to be taken to the ER because of my cats. I'd be researching good homes with family and or friends immediately. 

💙 

Especially in Orlando by Troy Storm DNF!

💙 

Free to Love by Kris T. Bethke 

3.5 Stars!

Henry wants his lover to be free. Free to love who he wants, free to be who he is, free to be happy and live his life how he wants. Shane is terrified to come out to his family. He loves Henry and they want to start a life together so Henry is determined to tell his parents the truth even if it means losing his family and his job.

Coming out stories always get to me. I can't understand how parents can turn their backs on their child, no matter the age, because of their sexual orientation. Even if they can't understand it, to tell your own child they are no longer welcome in their home, it makes me angry. So I knew I was going to tear up.

This was a sweet story though because Shane and Henry love each other so much. Henry supports Shane and is determined to help him get through whatever he faces. He has a good family that also love Shane and Shane has a sister that loves and supports him as well. So he's not truly alone like so many and it makes Shane's story not as sad as it could be. 

💜 

Happily Ever After, After All by L.A. Merrill 

3 Stars!

As punishment for wanting to marry a Princess instead of a Prince, Aubergine's father King Rex locks her away in a tower. Whichever prince rescues her will earn her hand in marriage. However, Aubergine has spent the last decade scaring male suitors away. In a fortunate turn of events, she gets rescued but not by a prince but by a magical Miss Persimmon.

A cute humorous mix of modern fairytales. Instead of the damsel in distress, we have a strong-willed, intelligent and self reliant woman. She may need someone to rescue her from the tower but she's perfectly able to take care of herself. 

❤ 

The Importance of Pride by Ravon Silvius 

4 Stars!

Discovering his uncle's journal gives Patrick a different perspective on his own sexuality and coming out.

I really enjoyed the journal entries. There was a good contrast between the life Patrick was leading and the life his uncle was basically forced to live. And the hint of mystery surrounding Todd, his uncle's lover and partner, was a nice added bonus even if in all it was a bit bittersweet. 

💛 

The Insomniac Sommelier by Julie Lynn Hayes 

3.5 Stars!

I like Julie Lynn Hayes and generally enjoy her books. I really think this story like many of the others would be a great novella. It's hard to truly connect with the characters when a story is so short. 

💚 

Looking for George by David C. Dawson 

3 Stars!

Definitely not my favorite. 

💙 

Love Over Lotto by Jude Dunn 

3 Stars! 

💜 

More Than His Scars by Jana Denardo 

4.5 Stars! 

Dealing with PTSD can be extremely difficult and frustrating. Aaron is lucky to have people around who love and support him.

I really liked Aaron and Rhys and enjoyed their story. However, I really want to know more about them. Now I'll have to read the story of how they met and fell in love in Kept Tears. 

❤ 

Overcoming Fear by Grace R. Duncan 

4 Stars!

Different read than the rest but very enjoyable. Definitely could use the setting in a full length novel or novella. 

💛 

Prevailing Zzz's by Tray Ellis 

5 Stars!

As weird as it sounds, this was probably my favorite story of the whole book. The reason being that it is so realistic it's right out of my own life in some ways. I have fought that battle of sleeping in the same bed as your significant other and having to deal with snoring or sleeping separately but getting great, comfortable sleep. It's frustrating and sometimes sad. I liked how these men figured out a solution that works for them. 

💚 

Pushing Back Oblivion by Alicia Nordwell 

4 Stars!

Sweet and touching. It's about holding on to the one thing that keeps you tethered to the world (in Cohen's case it's Jaime) and fighting your way out of the darkness.

For being so short it really packs a punch. 

💙 

Reluctant Valentine by Xenia Melzer 

4 Stars!

Dean is extremely jaded in my opinion and I had trouble with that at first but he grows on you. Truth be told I like curmudgeonly men in stories. Morgan doesn't take Dean's attitude though and they are good together. 

💜 

Taking a Chance by Renee Stevens 

4 Stars !

Meeting at a work event and starting a long distance relationship leads to Gabe and Toby falling in love. Now they must make the ultimate decision for their relationship.

We've all been in a situation where you just have to take a chance in a relationship and for better or for worse you learn from them.

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