#Review “Carved in Bone” by Michael Nava

Carved in Bone cover

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5/5 Stars!

Henry Rios is not real. Henry Rios is not real.

I had to remind myself Carved in Bone is fiction… several times.

I had to remember there was a mystery to solve, and that I wasn’t reading someone’s journal.

Because the author is just that good, luring me in so deep, I raised my head to look for Henry or Bill. Or Larry.

While investigating an insurance claim after the questionable death of Bill Ryan, Henry pulls the curtain back on San Francisco during the days and years after when AIDS was first identified. It’s not always a pretty picture, or just about AIDS. For some, the virus was the final punch from life after years of rejection, abuse and violence, and addiction and recovery. For those who recovered.

Henry is determined to answer all the questions surrounding Bill’s death, and he does… while dancing through some pretty cool plot twists. So engrossed in the story from the start, I missed the foreshadowing of one of the reveals. Good writing!

Carved in Bone is heavy and emotional. The author’s use of real events, places, and people make it relevant and thought-provoking, even if it is the past. I lost my baby brother to AIDS-related PCP in 1993, so for me it will never be buried in the past but more like yesterday.

Carved in Bone is heartbreaking because it also pulls the curtain back on a civilized society that is anything but when faced with something we don’t understand… or want to understand. There’s no happy ending tied with a pretty bow because life doesn’t guarantee happy endings–even the dead are victimized in this read. But if Henry Rios has nothing else, even at his lowest, he has hope.

Carved in Bone is simply excellent writing that took me there. I highly recommend it.

Enjoy!

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A new mystery by six-time Lambda Literary award winner, Michael Nava. Set in San Francisco in 1984, Henry Rios, a gay criminal defense lawyer, is fresh out of rehab and trying to put his life back together. He’s hired by an insurance company to investigate the apparently accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning of Bill Ryan in the Castro Street apartment he shared with his lover, who survived. As he delves into Bill Ryan’s life, Rios becomes convinced Ryan’s death was no accident, and that his young lover is implicated. Meanwhile, the tsunami of AIDS is bearing down on San Francisco’s gay community.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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#BlogTour “Carved in Bone” by Michael Nava

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Carved in Bone cover

A new mystery by six-time Lambda Literary award winner, Michael Nava. Set in San Francisco in 1984, Henry Rios, a gay criminal defense lawyer, is fresh out of rehab and trying to put his life back together. He’s hired by an insurance company to investigate the apparently accidental death by carbon monoxide poisoning of Bill Ryan in the Castro Street apartment he shared with his lover, who survived. As he delves into Bill Ryan’s life, Rios becomes convinced Ryan’s death was no accident, and that his young lover is implicated. Meanwhile, the tsunami of AIDS is bearing down on San Francisco’s gay community.

Purchase Links

Amazon UK

Amazon US

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Michael NavaAuthor Bio

Michael Nava is the six-time Lambda Literary Award author of the Henry Rios novels and recipient of the Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement in LGBTQ Literature. The New York Times praised him as “one of our best” crime fiction writers. The New Yorker called Henry Rios “a detective unlike any other previous protagonist in American noir.” Carved in Bone is the first Henry Rios novel in 20 years. Says novelist David Ebershoff (The Danish Girl) Carved in Bone is “rich, haunting and deeply engaged with the world.”

Social Media Links  

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook

Podcast: The Henry Rios Mysteries Podcast (I-tune, Spotify, etc.)

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#GuestPost Writing Gay Romances – 4 FAQ by Kelli A. Wilkins

by Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

My name is Kelli Wilkins and I write romances. My books cover nearly every genre and vary in heat level from mild to super-spicy. People have different reactions when they learn what I write. (Sometimes they gasp and pretend to be horrified, and then ask me if I “act out” my love scenes at home. Uh, no. I write fiction—that means I make stuff up!)

But when people find out that I write gay romances—that really gets them going! “Why would you write one of those? You’re not a man or gay.” (Here’s my turn to gasp and act surprised. Really? You’re kidding!) I generally respond with: “Why shouldn’t I write gay romances? I wrote a vampire romance, and I’ve never been a vampire.” (That usually quiets people down for a while.)

I get a lot of questions about “why” or “how” I write gay romances. Here are the top four, along with my answers.

#1: You’ve written lots of straight romances. Why write gay romances?

Why not? I’m a writer. And as a writer, I write whatever romance book comes to me, whether it’s a contemporary, historical, paranormal, or gay romance. My stories are about people who meet, fall in love, and overcome obstacles to be with each other.

This basic philosophy applies whether the characters are same-sex, different sex, or space alien and earth girl. Love is love and romance is romance. I’m not married to one specific genre or heat level. I go where the story and the characters take me.

When I wrote Four Days with Jack, A Secret Match, and Killer in Wolf’s Clothing I trusted my instincts and wrote the story that was in my head. Although all three books are contemporary gay romances, they’re very different.

A Secret Match coverIn A Secret Match, a big part of the storyline centers around Everett dealing (or rather, not dealing) with his sexuality, and his (un)willingness to be open about who he really is. Ev has been in a committed relationship for years and is afraid that if he doesn’t come out, he’ll lose the love of his life. He’s also worried about his career. How will the world view a gay wrestler? Will there be backlash if he comes out?

Conversely, David, from Four Days with Jack, has Four Days with Jack covernever come to terms with his sexuality. He’s been lying to himself for years about his orientation and hiding his true desires. David has always loved his gay best friend (Jack) and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.

The main characters in Killer in Wolf’s Clothing are comfortable with their sexuality, but have other issues to deal with (like shapeshifting and a serial killer). This super-hot paranormal is a fun look at the werewolf legend and blends romance, mystery, danger, humor, and sizzling love scenes.

#2: How do you write the gay love scenes?

I approach a same-sex love scene the same way I would if I was writing about a hetero couple. When I write a straight romance, about half of the scenes are written from a male point of view. So I have experience thinking about scenes from a male perspective anyway.

There’s not much difference in writing a story from two male points of view. Writing a love scene isn’t only about the gender or the anatomy of the characters—it’s about creating a believable, intimate scene where two people express their love for each other.

Each character in each book is unique, so the love scenes are always approached from different directions. In Four Days with Jack, David is introduced to a world of new experiences. Everett and Josh’s first kiss in A Secret Match was a tender and sweet moment; while the first time readers meet Deke from Killer in Wolf’s Clothing they realize he’s anything but shy.

#3: What’s the hardest part about writing a gay romance?

The answer to this is quite surprising, and no, it has nothing to do with bedroom activities. The hardest part about writing a same-sex romance or love scene is pronouns.

As I’m writing, I’ll dash off something like: “He ran his hand down his chest and…” Wait, what? He ran his own hand down his own chest? No… I have to pay extra close attention when revising or editing a same-sex scene. Too many “his” references and the reader doesn’t know who is doing what. Better to say: “He ran his hand down Kevin’s chest and…”

#4: Are you concerned about what people will think about you writing gay romances?

Not in the least. People will think whatever they want. I realize that not everyone wants to read the same type of romance. Some readers love historicals, others only read contemporaries or paranormals, and that’s fine. But if readers are turned off to me as an author just because I write gay romances… well, that’s too bad, see ya.

When I wrote my first gay romance, I considered “what people would think” about the book and me writing it—for about three seconds. Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters and scenes that make up the book.

I don’t worry about what people might think of me writing about two male characters kissing, going to bed, or making dinner. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it. As a writer, I’ve made up all sorts of things: an erotic Bigfoot story, a historical Viking tale, detailed ménage scenes (in all combinations), and a first-person vampire love story.

Writers need to turn off their internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters (and the story) take us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated fables.

I once read a blog where a woman was “confessing” to writing an erotic romance, even though she couldn’t tell anyone about it and wouldn’t “dare” put her real name on the story. I got to wondering…why? Why hide your writing? And if you’re “ashamed” to be writing in a particular genre, why invest the time and energy into something you’re not going to stand behind?

Now more than ever, I’m just as proud/PRIDEful of my gay romances as I am of my straight romances. Why? Because I’m a romance writer—and in my books, everyone deserves to be in love and live happily-ever-after with whatever partner they choose.

And that’s the way it should be… in fiction and in real life. Here’s the book summary to my first gay romance, Four Days with Jack. I hope you’ll check it out. I fell in love with the characters, and I hope readers will too. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes!

Enjoy & Happy Reading!

Kelli A. Wilkins

FOUR DAYS WITH JACK

When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…

Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.

Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship. He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?

Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?

Order Four Days with Jack here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071FTMWHL

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bo6Rap

 ~~~

Kelli A WilkinsABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her historical romance, Dangerous Indenture, was released in March 2019. This full-length novel is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense. Look for another historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, coming in July.

She published the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her NEW website www.KelliWilkins.com or blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

#GuestPost Celebrate Pride Month by Kelli A. Wilkins

Celebrate Pride Month with… Four Days with Jack

By Romance Author Kelli A. Wilkins

Hi everyone,

To celebrate Pride Month, I’m sharing a look at the making of my gay romance, Four Days with Jack. In this contemporary novella, best friends David and Jack embark on a sexual relationship. David has always loved Jack and has fantasized about being his lover, but he lacked the courage to admit his feelings—until now.

Four Days with Jack cover

Four Days with Jack is one of the few books I wrote without an outline. I think not having a pre-planned structure let the characters write their own story (so to speak), and took the book in new directions.

At first, I didn’t know what the story would be. All I had was a basic plot (straight guy comes out to his gay best friend), a title, and one pivotal scene that takes place in a bathroom. (For those of you who have read the book, you know which scene I’m talking about—but I won’t give it away here.)

From there, I let my imagination wander and came up with the resort, the rest of the plot, and the unusual cast of characters that Jack and David encounter. As I wrote, David quickly revealed a major conflict—inner turmoil. Over four days, David and Jack learn a lot about themselves, each other, and what sacrifices they’ll make to stay together.

David has kept his true desires a secret from himself and everyone else. He’s afraid of what people will think about him if they know (or even suspect) that he’s gay. How will they react? Will they judge him? If so, how will his life change?

These aren’t the typical types of questions that my straight characters have to face in their romances. And this line of thinking really got me wondering about what it’s like for people to come out in real life. Will they be shunned by friends and family? Should they tell anyone? Live a lie? Move to a new state? What if they live in a state that’s more conservative and not gay-friendly? What will their coworkers think? Is their preference really anybody’s business?

I picked up on this theme of “What will people think?” and ran with it. In the book, David points out that Jack’s family disowned him when he came out, and David doesn’t want to go through the same type of heartache. Jack’s reply is pretty much: “So? They’ll get over it.”

As I was writing this story, I considered “what people would think” about this book. How can a woman write a gay romance? What will people think about the love scenes? Then I reminded myself that I’m a writer, and I create the characters and scenes that make up the book. Basically, the story needs to be told, and I’m the one telling it.

Writers need to turn off their internal editors and forge ahead with the story as it should be (and needs to be) told. If we constantly worried about what grandma would think about our writing, or if we were afraid to open up and let the characters and story take us into the bedroom, we’d never write anything except G-rated bedtime fables. And if a friend/relative/whoever has a problem with the subject matter, Jack’s right: they’ll get over it.

Or maybe not. One reader commented that she didn’t like the antagonist (Frank). As a writer, I’m glad to hear that! Frank is a blatant homophobic ass who says some pretty awful things to David and Jack, and he treats his own wife like crap.

So why is he in the story? For two reasons: 1. to show that not everyone accepts openly gay couples, and 2. to add a level of confrontation and intolerance that help band David and Jack together during a crisis moment. Is Frank an over-the-top stereotype? No, I don’t think so, because he’s a compilation of a few real people I’ve encountered.

Even in this day and age, some people are offended by gay romances and consider them “icky” or immoral. (Yes, I was actually told by a book reviewer that gay romances are icky!) My philosophy is pretty simple when it comes to that: it’s a free country, so read whatever you want —but don’t expect me to censor what I write because you have a problem with it.

Now more than ever, I’m just as proud of my gay romances as I am of my straight romances. Why? Because I’m a romance writer—and in my books, everyone deserves to be in love and live happily-ever-after with whatever partner they choose.

And that’s the way it should be… in fiction and in real life.

Here’s the book summary and links:

 

Four Days with JackFour Days with Jack cover

When David invited his best friend on vacation, he never expected them to fall in love…

Spending four days in a tropical paradise with Jack is a dream come true. For years, David has lived a lie and denied his romantic feelings for Jack. Now that they’re together in an isolated Caribbean resort, he finally admits what he really wants—to be Jack’s lover.

Jack has been in love with David for years and is encouraged by his desire to explore a sexual relationship. He’s more than willing to introduce David to the life he has always fantasized about. Their sizzling nighttime encounters confirm David’s long-hidden cravings, but what will happen when they leave the resort?

Will David come out and start a new life with Jack? Or will he go back to his old ways and risk losing the best friend he ever had?

Order Four Days with Jack here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071FTMWHL

All other platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bo6Rap

I hope you’ll check it out. I fell in love with the characters, and I hope readers will too. It’s got a good blend of humor, drama, and plenty of sizzling love scenes that will heat up your summer!

Happy Reading,

Kelli A. Wilkins

~~~

Kelli A WilkinsABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.

Her historical romance, Dangerous Indenture, was released in March 2019. This full-length novel is set in Pennsylvania Colony and blends a sensual romance with mystery and suspense. Look for another historical romance, The Viking’s Witch, coming in late June.

She published the second half of her flash fiction series, Cupid’s Schemes, in early 2019. These two volumes of lighthearted mini-romances are perfect reads for a quick lunchtime escape or an after-work indulgence.

Kelli released her latest Teachable mini-course, Fiction Basics: Finding Ideas in February 2019. She authored Fiction Writing for Beginners through Teachable in 2018. These courses are perfect for anyone who wants to learn how to write. Visit: https://kelliwilkins.teachable.com/ for more details.

If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her latest novella, Nightmare in the North.

Not just an author, Kelli is also an amateur photographer. Visit her pages on Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com/g/kelli+wilkins and iStock https://www.istockphoto.com/portfolio/kelliwilkins to view her photos.

Kelli posts on her Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorKelliWilkins and Twitter: www.Twitter.com/KWilkinsauthor.

Visit her new website www.KelliWilkins.com or blog http://kelliwilkinsauthor.blogspot.com/ to learn more about all of her writings.

“Rogue Nights (The Rogue Series Book 6)”

Rogue Nights cover

Rogue Nights (The Rogue Series Book 6)

Genre: Romance/LGBT/Anthology

3.99 at time of posting!

Seven tales of romance, hope, and passion. Even after the roughest night, dawn promises new beginnings.

Resisting Desire by Talia Hibbert

Activist, womanist and journalist Nina Chapman is in love with her brother’s best friend. Oops. When her attempt to seduce calm, reliable James Foster backfires, Nina’s mortified—but as much as she’d like to avoid him, she can’t. No; she literally can’t. Because Nina’s latest article has made her public enemy number one, and now the man who broke her heart just might be her only protection…

Dropped Stitches by Annabeth Albert

When activist knitter Bea goes to vote, the last person she expects to run into is her high school crush. The two women forge an unlikely election day connection, but can they see a future beyond the victory party?

Parking Lot Cowboy by Rebecca Crowley

Margot Dunn has spent months making up an elaborate fantasy about the tall, silent cowboy who serves as her fellow volunteer escort at a family planning clinic in Topeka. Then one morning he speaks, and the complicated reality of ranch-hand Tyler Olsen is better than any story she could make up.

Dare to Dream by Hudson Lin

After the 2016 election, Derek Lam kicked his political activism into high gear—it’s what anyone with half a conscience would do. Which is why he doesn’t understand how Diego Ortega, a classmate from law school and a Dreamer, could be so politically disengaged.

For Diego, pursuing law had never been about social justice. His priority has always been providing for and protecting his undocumented mother and his kid sister. Getting political did nothing but draw attention his family didn’t need.

Working on a class assignment together, Diego and Derek’s mutual attraction bubbles just under the surface. But any potential relationship will have to survive the sparks that fly from their clashing political views.

The Coffee Shop Around the Corner by Shae Connor

Political discourse is Madeline Maloney’s jam. Social media manager for a progressive mayoral candidate, she finds her interest piqued by an email exchange with a local businessman—but also by the cute guy at the coffee shop where she buys her morning cup. Palmer Harrison spends his mornings smiling at the beautiful woman who orders a caramel latte every day and his off hours emailing with a mystery woman who works for a mayoral campaign. Their parallel relationships intersect on Election Day…

Love Your Face by Ainsley Booth

Fifteen years ago, Fred left the Midwest behind and moved to New York City. Return visits have been rocky, and this Thanksgiving promises more family drama Fred really doesn’t want to deal with. Her best friend’s surprise appearance smooths over a difficult holiday, but raises new, complicated personal feelings when the very straight Ami confesses she’s not very straight after all.

Sacred Son by Robin Covington

Adam Woodson has dedicated his life to fighting for the rights of Native Americans in court and in the legislature, a career that has kept him too busy to regret the man who got away. Judah Nighthorse is rebuilding his life after prison, fighting to regain custody of his son from a non-Native foster family so he swallows his pride and asks the man he left behind for help. When fighting the good fight together sparks desire they can’t resist, they must decide if their future holds a second chance or a final goodbye.

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“Buckle Up (Commitment, a Gay Romance Series Book 1)” by Karen Botha

Buckle Up cover

Buckle Up (Commitment, a Gay Romance Series Book 1)

by Karen Botha

Genre: LGBT/Literary Fiction/Action Adventure/Sports

99¢ at time of posting! Kindle Unlimited!

Passion, lust and desire are the fuel that drives us. So, buckle up for the ride of your life.
Elliott Judd is a superstar race car driver and hotter than hell. Men and women fall at his feet and he enjoys the easy pickings. No one has tamed this wild stallion, but is he ready to settle down for the right person?

Kyle Beaumont, a straight mechanic with a body to die for joins the racing team of his dreams, and with his mind fixed on the job, he doesn’t realise that he is Elliott’s next trophy of choice.

As the racing season and the fight to be the world number one starts, so too does Elliott’s game of seduction.

Will Elliott crash and burn, or will Kyle succumb to this gorgeous man’s onslaught?

Buckle Up is the first book in a gay romance series by Karen Botha and a story of unlikely love.

Download your copy of Buckle Up now.

A note from Karen
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this and my other series, it’s always great to hear what readers say directly. All my contact details are on my Amazon Author Page, feel free to message me.

Amazon KU

 

 

#PreOrder “Bound to Liberty” by Kiru Taye, Kai Tyler

cover

PRE-ORDER

Title: Bound To Liberty

Author: Kiru Taye, Kai Tyler

Series: Bound, Book 5

Genre: Contemporary Romance, LGBT, African-American, Romantic Suspense

BLURB

As if life isn’t tough enough for James Coker, rejected and nearly killed by family, he is also a closeted gay man in a country where being gay is outlawed. So when the first man he’s ever loved gets engaged to a woman, James’s solution to heartbreak is to indulge in a holiday fling.

In contrast, Ethan Eze has had life relatively easy. Born in the ‘Land of the Free’ and nurtured within a family where he can be whoever he wants to be, he’s a military veteran who is not afraid of going for what he wants. When he meets James, Ethan wants him.

Desire burns between them and soon blurs into devotion. But James is not ready to lose his heart again, certainly not to another man who can eat his cake and have it. Ethan has fought for his country. Now, will he fight for love?

Bound to Liberty is a story about breaking free from mental chains and living a life of boundless love.

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E N T E R

FOR A CHANCE TO WIN $10/£10 PAYPAL OR N3000 OKADABOOKS CREDIT

 

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