blog tour, books

Blog Tour: Unanimity – Alexandra Almeida

Welcome to the book tour for Unanimity, the first book in the Spiral Worlds series by Alexandra Almeida. Read on for more details and get yourself a copy today!

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Unanimity (Spiral Worlds Book #1)

Publication Date: October 18, 2022

Genre: Science Fiction/ Sci-Fi Fantasy/ LGBTQ2
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Shadow is a reluctant god with a broken mind and a death wish. He used to be Thomas Astley-Byron, an affluent young screenwriter whose creativity and idealism saved a world from the brink of collapse. Together with Henry Nowak, an AI expert, Tom created heaven on earth by inventing a Jungian simulated reality that helps humans confront their dark sides. The benevolent manipulation platform turned the two unelected leaders into beloved gods, but now everything is failing. The worlds suffer as a sentimental Tom descends into his own personal hell, becoming the embodiment of everything he despises and a shadow of his former self.

His journey from an optimistic, joyful Tom to a gloomy Shadow is paved with heartache and sinister interference from emerging technology. Humans and bots fight for his heart, but their aims differ: some want to own it, some to dissect it, and others to end its foolish beat. Estranged from the love of his life—the activist poet Nathan Storm—Tom fails to realize the biggest threat comes from within. None of the sticky stories that steer his life end well.

Now, a young goddess—Estelle Ngoie—has been appointed to replace him, and unlike Shadow, Stella takes no prisoners, and her heart bleeds for no one.

Who’s pulling on Shadow’s heartstrings? Are their intentions malign or benign? It’s all a matter of perspective, and Shadow has none left.
The Series Themes

An epic tale spanning across six days—one per book—and forty past decades of life lived across ten worlds and two universes.

Weaving sci-fi elements with social commentary and queer romantic suspense, Spiral Worlds explores the nature of consciousness and how it’s connected to a not-so-secret ingredient—story. As software consumes the world, intelligence is nothing but the appetizer; the human heart is the main course.

“I adored this work by Alexandra Almeida from cover to cover for its modern take on fantasy and the subversion of so many typical themes and ideas that have become tired and overdone in the genre.” “The queer storytelling elements are included beautifully and never made into a gimmick or overdone for the sake of themselves, and as such, they flow naturally with the fantasy and emotional elements of the narrative. I would not hesitate to recommend Unanimity as a sensational opening novel to a very promising series.”

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About the Author

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Alexandra Almeida has over 25 years of experience in technology, strategy, and innovation. In her role as Chief Transformation Officer, she acts as a senior advisor to enterprise executives. Alexandra is an experienced speaker at events such as SXSW, Gartner Symposium, and the Women in Tech Series.

For the time being, and to protect her creative freedoms, Alexandra prefers to write using a number of pen names.

Her debut fantasy novel, released under another pen name, has received the following awards and recognition:
– Reader’s Favorite Awards – Gold Medal Winner – Young Adult – Fantasy – Epic
– Reader Views Awards – 1st Place – Fantasy
– CIPA EVVY Book Awards – 2nd Place – Fiction – Mythology
– B.R.A.G. Medallion Recipient
– Eric Hoffer’s Da Vinci Eye Awards Finalist for Best Cover Artwork
– The Wishing Shelf Book Awards Finalist – Books for Adults
– Awesome Indies Approved

Spiral Worlds

Book Tour Schedule

Book Tour Schedule

January 23rd

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

Cheryl’s Book Nook (Spotlight) https://cherylsbooknook.blogspot.com/

Riss Reviews (Review) https://rissreviewsx.wixsite.com/website

@caffeinatedbibliophilia (Review) https://www.instagram.com/caffeinatedbibliophilia/

I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

I Smell Sheep (Spotlight) http://www.ismellsheep.com/

Rambling Mads (Spotlight) http://ramblingmads.com

January 24th

Lecari’s Live Journal (Review) http://www.lecari.co.uk

@takealookatmybookshelf (Review) https://www.instagram.com/takealookatmybookshelf/

Breakeven Books (Spotlight) https://breakevenbooks.com

@bookishfeatures_ (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/bookishfeatures_/

@wolves_perception (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/wolves_perception/

@latishaslowkeylife (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/latishaslowkeylife/

Books Blog (Spotlight) https://www.booksblog.co.uk/

January 25th

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

Read Write Run (Review) http://readwriterun.ca/

@read_write_run_ – https://instagram.com/read_write_run_?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

@readwritefantasy (Review) https://www.instagram.com/readwritefantasy

@vinamkent_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/vinamkent_author/

@through_the_booking_glass (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/through_the_booking_glass/

@tinabyer (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/tinabyer/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Spotlight) https://lshadowlynauthor.com

January 26th

@its_b.e.l.l.e (Review) https://www.instagram.com/its_b.e.l.l.e/

@moonlightalesbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/moonlightalesbooks/

Liliyana Shadowlyn (Review) https://lshadowlynauthor.com/

@fathomsamidstthelines (Review) https://www.instagram.com/fathomsamidstthelines/

Not Another Bunny Blog (Review) https://notanybunny.wordpress.com/blog

@marie.sinadjan – https://www.instagram.com/marie.sinadjan/

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

January 27th

Emerald Reviews (Spotlight) https://www.emeraldreviews.co.uk/

@thelibrocubicularista (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thelibrocubicularista/

@my_fair_fiction (Review) https://www.instagram.com/my_fair_fiction/

@booksreadbytracy (Review) https://www.instagram.com/booksreadbytracy/?hl=en

@tm_ghent (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/tm_ghent/

Reads & Reels (Spotlight) http://readsandreels.com

@read_dog_reviews (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/read_dog_reviews/

Book Tour Organized By:

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R&R Book Tours

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Woodborn – Heather Nix

Woodborn by Heather Nix is finally on tour and we’re thrilled to share it today! Read on for details and be sure to enter the giveaway at the end – A book box containing the book and other bookish goodies!

Cover

Woodborn (Song of Gods #1)

Expected Publication Date: January 21, 2023

Genre: Sapphic Fantasy/ High Fantasy

“I do not know how I lived in darkness for so many years with this bright world just waiting for me to grasp it.”

Maelwen is a young witch trapped in a harsh and unforgiving life. Friendless and alone, she endures terrible abuse in order to survive in the desolate land of Iowain.

Across the continent, Cicerine, a virtuous young faun, lives in the idyllic glade of Kanitosh Woods. Alongside her mother and closest friend, she is raised with dutiful reverence for the god, Idyth—led by the mysterious Father Farragen.

After escaping her tormentor and seeking a new life of her own, Maelwen finds a fresh start in the seedy trade city of Konidas. Meanwhile, a terrible tragedy befalls the glade, and Cicerine must flee to the same seaside town, leaving behind all she has ever known.

As a dark and menacing force spreads across Idythia, can Maelwen’s gifts and Cicerine’s developing power stand against the threat which faces them all? Alongside found family, new friends, and a crew of sapphic pirates, the line between good and evil is tested as the continent prepares for an epic battle.

CW: This is a sapphic fantasy novel, featuring a great deal of blood. Full list here

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Excerpt

My bare feet pad along the floor of my small apartment as I head toward the bedroom. The desolate and stark journey from Iowain to Konidas took three days’ time, and I arrived two months ago today. I slept on the open ground, wrapped in my cloak beneath the wide sky, full of stars. I did not encounter a single living creature as I flew. The nights were silent but for the whistle of the wind and the soft rustle of my cloak, becoming as familiar to me as a part of my ‌body. Tiny pinprick scars now run along my arms and back from wrist to wrist, where it stitches to my skin for flight, looking like a seam pulled undone. They are the only wounds which my body has not healed. It feels odd, like finding something I did not know belonged to me. The cloak currently lies draped over a chair in my sitting room, humming softly to me as I sit on my bed. Months ago, I only dreamed of freedom. Now, I have it.

This apartment sits over a tavern in Konidas. The owners are human, plump, and kind-hearted. The night I arrived here, the tavern was the first open business I found, and I shook off the chill at a barstool with a tankard of frothy ale. The barkeep made small talk, and after the ale loosened my tongue, I let slip that I had just arrived and had made no arrangements for housing. I had planned on renting a room at the inn by the docks, despite the cost—rooms were rented by the day or the hour, not monthly. Without renting one of the rickety, dilapidated homes in town or an apartment above one of the small businesses, the cost of living in a transient city like Konidas is high. However, by the end of the night, I had made my first friend, the barkeep, Shell. She is the daughter of the tavern owners who coincidentally, and conveniently, had an empty apartment upstairs. I can’t help but feel like this is all too easy, too good. I have never had a home or a friend, and this comfort is unnerving. Some god or goddess must have been on my shoulder, guiding me toward complete strangers who somehow trusted me enough to offer up an apartment within hours of my arrival. I would say thanks if we still recalled the names of the gods. I paid them upfront for three months, a show of good faith that I can at least be counted on in that regard. I am not a friendly face, but money is just as good when it comes to trust. For the second time today, I pull out my sack of coin from beneath my mattress and count it. Jarrus’s savings and my meager hoard made a fair sum, and I have a decent amount left, but soon I will need to come up with a way to make more. I slide beneath my blankets and with a small smile allow myself to drift to sleep—almost happy for the first time in my life.

I wake with the dawn, the pale pink light of sunrise filtering through my small window. There is a marked quiet to the morning and my brow furrows as I look around. My cloak has gone quiet. The persistent hum has stopped, and my senses feel dulled. I am tired, despite my night of sleep, and my body aches. Hunger grabs onto the pit of my stomach with a twisting cramp and I stand, unsteady on my feet. I dress in a pair of charcoal gray pants and a silk blouse, and I pull my long hair back into a leather tie. The staircase down to the tavern seems to shift beneath my feet, and I grip the railing to keep from falling. Shell is busy wiping down the bar, and I can smell something cooking in the kitchen, but it makes my stomach turn. Nearly gagging, I push my way through the door and out into the morning bustle.

Pre-Order Here

*Cover Art by Anna Doušová

About the Author

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Heather Nix is the debut author of Woodborn, the first book in the Song of Gods series. Born and raised in sunny San Diego, CA she longs to return to the forests of the Pacific Northwest. She is the mother of two human and three cat children, and enjoys tattoos, tabletop RPGs, and creating feminist art in her limited spare time. Heather is passionate about writing queer fantasy and strives to create nuanced characters who resonate with underserved communities.

Books by Nix | Instagram | TikTok

My thoughts: you know when you’re really enjoying a book and then it ends and you’re annoyed? This book did that. I need book 2 now, I need to know my weird gang of lesbians (who are variously a witch, a faun, a nereid and pirates) are all ok, and the rest of the crew too! Is Shell’s tavern in one piece? Did the cat make it?

This starts off with each of the key characters separate but slowly brings them together as they learn who and what they are, what powers they possess, oh and get sexy too!

If the rest of the series is this good, I will be unavailable for the foreseeable as I’ll be busy reading it.

Win a Woodborn book box that includes the book and other goodies (US only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Tour Schedule

January 16th

R&R Book Tours (Kick-Off) http://rrbooktours.com

@afantaseaofbooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/afantaseaofbooks/

@gwendalyn_books_ (Review) https://www.instagram.com/gwendalyn_books_/

Gwendalyn’s Books – https://gwendalynbooks.blog/

@books.and.salt (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/books.and.salt/

Books Blog (Spotlight) https://www.booksblog.co.uk/

January 17th

@fantastic__fiction (Review) https://www.tiktok.com/@fantastic__fiction

@boundbymischief (Review) https://www.instagram.com/boundbymischief

I Love Books & Stuff (Spotlight) https://ilovebooksandstuffblog.wordpress.com

@better_0ff_read (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/better_0ff_read/

Stine Writing (Spotlight) https://christinebialczak.com/

January 18th

@amber.bunch_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/amber.bunch_author/

@margiebythebookcase (Review) https://www.instagram.com/margiebythebookcase/

Bunny’s Reviews (Review) https://bookwormbunnyreviews.blogspot.com/

The Faerie Review (Review) http://www.thefaeriereview.com

Lady Hawkeye (Spotlight) https://www.ladyhawkeye.com/

@kellyatx (Spotlight) https://www.instagram.com/kellyatx/

January 19th

@crazybookloverz (Review) https://www.instagram.com/crazybookloverz/

@laras.litreads (Review) https://www.tiktok.com/@laras.litreads

@littlebonelibrary (Review) https://www.instagram.com/littlebonelibrary/

@r.c.thomson (Review) https://www.instagram.com/r.c.thomson/

@vinamkent_author (Review) https://www.instagram.com/vinamkent_author/

January 20th

@thelibrocubicularista (Review) https://www.instagram.com/thelibrocubicularista/

@mels_booksandhooks (Review) https://www.instagram.com/mels_booksandhooks/

Rambling Mads (Review) http://ramblingmads.com

@elinasbookstagram (Review) https://www.instagram.com/elinasbookstagram/

@booksdogsandcoffee (Review) https://www.tiktok.com/@booksdogsandcoffee

@the_princess_library (Review) https://www.instagram.com/the_princess_library/

Book Tour Organized By:

R&R Button

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R&R Book Tours

books

Books of the Year 2022

Last year was a weird old year and a pretty rubbish one for me personally. Thankfully books continue to be reliable. Most of these were published last year. All should be available from various bookshops and online.

In no particular order, here’s my 2022 books of the year, let me know what you loved in the comments or tag me on Twitter or even Instagram (which I will remember to post on one day…)

I read the Illumicrate edition which is so beautiful in black and silver. This was really interesting and current discourse shows that a lot of people really didn’t understand any of it. It’s definitely helpful to have some context – historically everything that happened in the book happened, minus the magic stuff. Britain really was the worst. Colonialism is never a good thing and honestly, Oxford (as a city and a university) benefited hugely from the evils of the British Empire.

Coming at the end of 2022, this was a delicious live story between a mindship with a beautiful avatar and her hostage turned wife bot builder. Dealing with the politics of pirates, the wholesale risk of invasion, a resentful son and the death of Rice Fish’s previous wife – the Red Scholar. The two women (is a ship a woman since they’re always female even when, as with some of the others in this book, they’re not?) must navigate all these complications and risks to survive.

I loved it, I thought I might as I really enjoyed Aliette’s alternate Paris set stories of dragons and angels. Drawing on the author’s Vietnamese heritage, it’s a space opera that just blew my mind.

The sequel to A Marvellous Light, this is an ocean set murder mystery with magic and sex and love and I adored it. I think I even liked it more than AML which was one of my favourites last year. I don’t know how the author does it but it works.

In a year when I seem to have read a lot of queer books, here’s another one! The science side of things or magic or whatever it is, is really interesting. A reader can read your mind and an architect can write your actions into you. Combine them with a sync and you have essentially one mind in 2 bodies. And then they fall in love and there’s a coup and the whole universe goes mad and they’re the ones who have to fix it! Just brilliant.

And now for something a bit different, but still LGBTQ+. This was a gut punch of a book, concerning the death of a teenage girl, her boyfriend, his mother and her bees. Absolutely beautiful in a stark, shocking and moving way. Jodi Picoult is the queen of the courtroom drama and this is just incredible. Have tissues on standby, you’ll need them. The two writers alternate protagonists and honestly it’s so well done.

I loved the trilogy before this, I love this series, the ending of this book made me cry. I don’t know how Brandon Sanderson manages to write multiple series but he somehow keeps track of it all, and the plan for the Mistborn universe is inspired. Even if it means saying goodbye to these characters.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Restless Truth – Freya Marsk

A Restless Truth is the second entry in Freya Marske’s beloved, award-winning Last Binding trilogy, the queer historical fantasy series that began with A Marvellous Light.

Magic! Murder! Shipboard romance!

Maud Blyth has always longed for adventure. She expected plenty of it when she volunteered to serve as an old lady’s companion on an ocean liner, in order to help her beloved older brother unravel a magical conspiracy that began generations ago.

What she didn’t expect was for the old lady in question to turn up dead on the first day of the voyage. Now she has to deal with a dead body, a disrespectful parrot, and the lovely, dangerously outrageous Violet Debenham, who’s also returning home to England. Violet is everything that Maud has been trained to distrust yet can’t help but desire: a magician, an actress, and a magnet for scandal.

Surrounded by the open sea and a ship full of suspects, Maud and Violet must first drop the masks that they’ve both learned to wear before they can unmask a murderer and somehow get their hands on a magical object worth killing for—without ending up dead in the water themselves.

My thoughts: I didn’t think this would be better than A Marvellous Light, one of my favourite books of recent years, but oh it is. I loved Maud, I loved Violet, I even like grumpy Hawthorn. Basically I adored this book. A sapphic murder aboard a ship with magic and hijinks and lots of Maud getting a very private education from Violet. And it’s so, so, so good. Elements of Tipping the Velvet, Titanic (do not tell me the hiding in the car scene wasn’t a huge nod, that ended very differently), Agatha Christie style crime novels (made me think of the recently published A Fatal Crossing and Miss Aldridge Regrets) and just tremendous fun.

Maud is undercover, when the lady she’s accompanying across the Atlantic is murdered and she needs to solve the crime, identify the piece of the very important Last Contract, and avoid getting murdered herself, so she can report back to Robin and Edwin safe and sound. So obviously she recruits a team – an actress, a Lord and a reporter/jewel thief, and those are just the people who know they’ve been recruited (there’s a menagerie involved too – cheetahs at sea!)

I loved this and I can’t wait for my fancy Illumicrate edition to arrive and sit next to its siblibg on the bookcase and there’s still a book three to come and I am very excited as you might be able to tell…

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Wolfsong – T.J. Klune

A Green Creek Novel.

Ox was twelve when his daddy taught him a very valuable lesson. He said that Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then he left.

Ox was sixteen when he met the boy on the road, the boy who talked and talked and talked. Ox found out later the boy hadn’t spoken in almost two years before that day, and that the boy belonged to a family who had moved into the house at the end of the lane.

Ox was seventeen when he found out the boy’s secret, and it painted the world around him in colors of red and orange and violet, of Alpha and Beta and Omega. Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his head and heart. The boy chased after the monster with revenge in his bloodred eyes, leaving Ox behind to pick up the pieces.

It’s been three years since that fateful day—and the boy is back. Except now he’s a man, and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.

My thoughts: this was good stuff. Most werewolves are born, not bitten, especially the Bennetts, an old clan, returned home after years away. Ox lives on the same remote road and his connection to them is almost instantaneous. Especially to Joe.

The pain of their bond and then separation fuels the story – as Joe seeks revenge and Ox must hold the homestead, and the broken remains of their family, their pack, together. Joe’s return changes everything. And their connection sparks.

A bittersweet love story between two young men forced to grow up fast, and the family they find. I loved it.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: A Taste of Iron and Gold – Alexandra Rowland

The Goblin Emperor meets “Magnificent Century” in Alexandra Rowland’s A Taste of Gold and Iron, where a queer central romance unfolds in a fantasy world reminiscent of the Ottoman Empire.

Kadou, the shy prince of Arasht, finds himself at odds with one of the most powerful ambassadors at court—the body-father of the queen’s new child—in an altercation which results in his humiliation.

To prove his loyalty to the queen, his sister, Kadou takes responsibility for the investigation of a break-in at one of their guilds, with the help of his newly appointed bodyguard, the coldly handsome Evemer, who seems to tolerate him at best. In Arasht, where princes can touch-taste precious metals with their fingers and myth runs side by side with history, counterfeiting is heresy, and the conspiracy they discover could cripple the kingdom’s financial standing and bring about its ruin.

My thoughts: it took me a while to understand how the world in this book works, and how people relate to each other as the court is very formal and full of rules about who can do or say what to whom. But once I got my head around all of the traditions and relationships, it all flowed very nicely.

The Prince, Kadou, wants to cement his bond with his sister – the Queen, and his new baby niece, who he’s very fond of, and by taking on a complex investigation into counterfeit coins, the Shipbuilder’s Guild and some of the servants closest to the royal family. There’s a conspiracy here and he must get to the heart of it before anyone he cares for is placed in danger.

I liked the growing connection between Kadou and his bodyguard Evemer, the complex layers of servitude and courtly manners making it hard for them to even say exactly what they mean at times. But as they grow closer, it takes on more complexity as Kadou’s former guard is still around and still trying to foster a relationship with Kadou that he doesn’t want. I really liked Eozena – the guard captain and also the only person allowed to tell the Queen and Prince what to do. She was very funny at times, bossing Kadou about in her affectionate, almost parental way.

Kadou was at first quite hard to read, he’s shy and quite reserved, keeping things to himself and struggling to form friendships and connections. Kept separate from most people because of his status, he struggles to bond but with Evemer, he opens up. It’s rather sweet.

The world building was fascinating and complex, lots of layers and etiquette involved. The story was clever, with the conspiracy and counterfeiting, something you might expect royalty to have nothing to do with, cutting right to the heart and Kadou having to become a detective to solve it with Eozena and Evemer to help him.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Devil’s Chew Toy – Rob Osler

Perfect for fans of T.J. Klune, Becky Albertalli, and David Levithan, this hilarious, big-hearted LGBTQ+ mystery follows an unlucky in love—and life—gay relationship blogger who teams up with a take-charge lesbian and a fiesty bull terrier to find a missing go-go boy and bring down an international crime ring.

When Hayden McCall’s new crush suddenly disappears, the twenty-something gay ginger relationship blogger and middle-school teacher teams up with a take charge butch lesbian, a gentle giant, and a feisty bull terrier to find the missing guy. 

Driven by a belief that the police won’t take the crime seriously, the improbable crime fighters prove that friendship — fueled by a lot of caffeine — has the power to bring down a diabolic international crime ring.

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Prior to Devil’s Chew Toy, Rob Osler’s short story, Analogue, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, won the Mystery Writers of America Robert L Fish Award as part of the 2022 Annual Edgar Awards. Rob lives in California with his long-time partner and a tall gray cat. 

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Interview:

On writing:

How did you do research for your book?

As DEVIL’S CHEW TOY is a contemporary novel set in a city I’m extremely familiar with, there was not a heavy research task. Also, because the two main characters are VERY amateur sleuths, I could avoid needing to get a lot of police procedure right—though there is some police interaction. That said, it’s amazing how many little questions arise in every chapter that require a pause and some desk research. 

Which was the hardest character to write? The easiest?

The hardest character to write was Hollister—not that she was too challenging. I strove to be respectful of Hollister’s identity as a Black lesbian in America without going so deeply into her character that hers became a story that wasn’t mine to tell. 

The easiest character to write was Hayden McCall. Why? Because there’s a whole lot of me in him. We are both naturally shy and smaller of stature (though he’s shorter and slighter). I took Hayden on the type of adventure—with a bolder, stronger, and more courageous friend—that I would love to go on.

There are many cozy mysteries out there….What makes yours different?

My story features two extremely amateur sleuths, one mild-mannered gay ginger and one butch lesbian. I’ve heard from some reviewers and readers that while pairing a gay and a lesbian as the main protagonists is not unprecedented it is uncommon. Also, I intentionally wrote a story in which the queer characters are neither the villains nor the tragic victims. 

What advice would you give budding writers?

Understand that whatever amount of patience you have will be depleted and then some. Publishing moves in increments of months. It takes a long time—and a lot of collaborators—to bring a book to market.

Your book is set in Seattle. Have you ever been there?

I set the book in Seattle because it’s my “Spirit City.” I lived there for nearly twenty years and loved it. Given as much time as it takes to write a book, I wanted to return to Seattle and its neighborhoods and hills and waterways during the long writing process.

Do you have another profession besides writing?

I have been a marketing and branding strategist for many decades, both at agency/consultancies and at technology corporations. I think the general mind set of prioritizing activities that matter most has helped me with all aspects of writing and the navigating the publishing process.

How long have you been writing?

I actually started my professional career as advertising copywriter writing television commercials for Kellogg’s and Tropicana and Procter & Gamble. Fiction writing also uses words to communicate but that’s about the only commonality I’ve found! It’s the difference between landing one memorable message versus telling a compelling, captivating story over three hundred-plus pages. Trust me, a novel is way harder.

Do you ever get writer’s block? What helps you overcome it?

You know, I really never do. But then I’m not much of a procrastinator either—not that they’re the same thing. My biggest challenge is going off on a tangent with a character or a scene that needlessly complicates the story and “writes me into a corner.” I do a lot revisions.

What is your next project?

I have recently sold my second short story to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. It features a fifty-something cross-dressing whacky amateur sleuth named Perry Winkle who solves a murder at his Palm Springs condo community.

What genre do you write and why?

I write traditional mysteries because that has been the genre I have always most loved to read. And I feature LGBTQ+ main characters because I am gay and we need more books—of all genres—that represent the great and glorious rainbow of humanity. 

What is the last great book you’ve read?

Two spring to mind. The first: THE SAVAGE KIND by John Copenhaver, who also happens to be a very nice human being. This novel—no surprise—won the Lambda Literary Award for best mystery this year. The second: DEAD LETTERS FROM PARADISE by Ann McMan is sheer delight. Both books are truly terrific.

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

“I can’t wait to read the next one!”

How are you similar to or different from your lead character?

Both Hayden and I are gay, mild-mannered, quiet, but good for an occasionally humorous one-liner. We both play tennis and enjoy big personalities. As Hayden says, “we balance each other out.”

If your book were made into a movie, who would star in the leading roles?

The characters are so distinct in my head, I can’t picture a known movie star playing either Hayden, Hollister or Burley. However, I can see Della Rupert, the oddball proprietress of Barkingham Palace, played superbly by Melissa McCarthy.

If your book were made into a movie, what songs would be on the soundtrack?

Stanley Kellogg’s “Falling Hard,” of course! This song, which was made up along with the new country star himself, reoccurs throughout the story. Fun fact! After the book was published, a good friend, Ben Davis, and I completed the lyrics and Ben wrote the music and produced the track. It’s on my website. Check it out!

What were the biggest rewards with writing your book?

Hearing from readers that they enjoyed it. 

In one sentence, what was the road to publishing like?

Long.

What is one piece of advice you would give to an aspiring author?

Every time you are certain you’re done working on a book, know that you aren’t.

Which authors inspired you to write?

Agatha Christie and Armistead Maupin.

What is something you had to cut from your book that you wish you could have kept?

There’s a line that 91-year-old Jerry delivers in reply to Hayden’s question: “How did you get to be so wise old man?” Over the whistle of the kettle, Jerry replies, “I managed to live a long damn time.”  That “damn” was an Eff-bomb until the final edit. It was the only strong swear word in the book. By removing it the book avoided an R rating, if you will. But I still love the idea of Jerry saying the line with more gusto!

On rituals:

Do you snack while writing? Favorite snack?

No snacking. But I do try to drink plenty of water.

Where do you write?

I have a home office. I’ve never been able to do the coffee shop thing. I am too easily distracted.

Do you write every day?

Not every day. But I do write most days. 

What is your writing schedule?

I usually write in two- to three-hour spurts. In a mystery, context and pacing is so important I am not skilled enough to dipping in and out.

Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do during your writing time?

Nope. I just plop my butt down and starting tap, tap, tapping. I will say I find it very difficult to stop writing before I finish a chapter, even in the roughest draft form.

In today’s tech savvy world, most writers use a computer or laptop. Have you ever written parts of your book on paper?

No. But I do use notebook paper to scribble plot ideas before I write.

Fun stuff:

If you could go back in time, where would you go?

The seventies. The music was awesome. Though I’m still wary of bell bottom pants.

Favorite travel spot?

Switzerland.

Favorite dessert?

Raspberry rhubarb pie

If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you? 

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Tales of the City

All the Light We Cannot See

What’s the most courageous thing you’ve ever done?

I set off for Alaska to work on fish processing barge after my sophomore year at college. If fish were running, the shift was 16 hours, every day until all the fish were processed. I still don’t know why I did it, but I returned two more summers. 

Any hobbies? or Name a quirky thing you like to do.

I have been life-long tennis player and watcher. I can usually name the top twenty men players—and often in order!

If there is one thing you want readers to remember about you, what would it be?

Rob Osler writes traditional mysteries featuring LGBTQ+ main characters. 

What is something you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?

We are social creatures who need human interaction.

What TV series are you currently binge watching?

Inventing Anna by Shonda Rhimes on Netflix.

What is your theme song?

“Sultans of Swing” by Dire Straits. 

What song is currently playing on a loop in your head?

“The Seaside” by The Lazy Eyes

What is something that made you laugh recently?

Jinx Monsoon’s roast performance on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Hi-lar-ious.

What is your go-to breakfast item?

Toast and yogurt with berries.

What is the oldest item of clothing you own?

I have a green argyle sweater I bought in Seattle thrift store about forty years ago.

Tell us about your longest friendship.

Twin girls, Kelly and Shelly. I grew up with them. We went to elementary, middle school, high school and then to the same out-of-state college! Just a few months back, I did a book event at the wonderful Boise bookshop Rediscovered Books. Guess who was in the front row?

Who was your childhood celebrity crush?

Willy Ames who played the role of Tommy on Eight is Enough.


My thoughts: this is a very funny book. I loved Hayden and Hollister, the world’s most ridiculous PIs, in their very recognisable car, hunting for their missing friend, ably assisted by the excellent Burley (who bakes, this book made me hungry!)

The characters are great fun, the plot completely bonkers at times and there’s an adorable dog in the mix too. It reminded me of How I Paid For College by Marc Acito (one of my favourite books) and several other highly entertaining capers I’ve read. I really want more of Hayden and Hollister solving crimes and getting in way too deep with things that are maybe best left to actual law enforcement.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: Twelve Percent Dread – Emily McGovern

A fast-paced, laugh-a-page graphic novel about friendship, capitalism, and never putting your f***ing phone away!

Katie and Nas are best friends, exes, co-dependents. They share everything, including a tiny room in a North London townhouse belonging to their landlord Jeremy, former host of the hit 90s show ‘Football Lads’.

While Katie bounces from job to job and obsesses about falling behind in life, Nas has bigger things in mind—waiting endlessly for their visa to come through, while working on a seismic art project that will revolutionize politics and society as we know it. Their friend Emma, meanwhile, seems to have it all figured out—job, mortgage, engagement—yet the long hours working for tech giant Arko and endless wedding admin prove equally dread-inducing.

But when Katie’s latest job finds her tutoring the daughter of Arko’s formidable CEO, Michelle, and Emma welcomes the eccentric and enigmatic Alicia to her team at Arko, none of the three women are aware that their lives—and possibly the future of society itself—are about to change forever.

Twelve Percent Dread is a fast-paced, laugh-a-page graphic novel about friendship, capitalism, and never putting your f***ing phone away from Emily McGovern, author of Bloodlust & Bonnets and the hugely popular webcomic My Life As A Background Slytherin.

My thoughts: Bloodlust & Bonnets is still one of my favourite graphic novels of the last few years – it’s very, very funny and we need a sequel please! So I was delighted to be gifted a copy of Twelve Percent Dread to review.

It didn’t disappoint, funny, insightful, intelligent and wry, this is very much a book for right now. With a giant tech firm, its megalomaniac founder poised to try to take over everyone’s lives, while threatening the Prime Minister and barely parenting her teenage daughter, and two young people who have to share a room even though they broke up – rent is not cheap people, just trying to get through life, make enough money to survive, oh and not get deported, this is the satirical read we need!

Katie and Nas are just about surviving, Katie’s addicted to her phone, just lost her job and needs to get a new one – not least because the rent is due. Nas is hoping to stay in the UK (why?) and isn’t allowed to get a job. And now they want to bring down Arko. As things start to spiral out of control, will they be ok?

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, reviews

Blog Tour: The Grooms Wore White – Charlie Lyndhurst

Even wedding planners struggle to get it right…
Jason is the best wedding planner around, known as the Fairy Godfather to the couples whose special days he plans. But coming up against workplace prejudice is taking a toll on his love for his job.
His mother-in-law, Mel, has just discovered her husband has been cheating on her with a younger woman. Nearing fifty, jobless and struggling, she needs to work out who she is aside from a mum and a wife, and get her life back on track.
Meanwhile, up-tight wedding planner Harriet is struggling to find her own true love – if such a thing exists. Between liars, married men, and disaster dates, she thinks she may never find the one. And
her outdated attitude toward LGBT marriages make her even more bitter.
When Jason starts Extra Weddings – helping people marry whoever they like, in whatever way they want – he, Mel and Harriet find themselves coming together to help couples make memories to last
a lifetime. But can they bridge their gaps, and be a unit when others need them most?
Fans of Casey McQuiston, Lindsey Kelk and Justin Myers are invited to the most heart-warming and extravagant wedding event of 2022.

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Charlie Lyndhurst is an award-shortlisted gay romance novelist, writing tutor, ghostwriter, and the Diversity Officer of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. The Grooms Wore White is his first commercial crossover novel.
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My thoughts: I really enjoyed this, Jason and Pete were lovely and Mel getting her groove back made me cheer. Her stupid husband deserved everything he’d done to himself. It took a while to warm to Harriet, whose opinions were stuck in the 1950s, and needed a good sharp shock to jump into the 2020s.

I liked the clever use of almost the correct names – The Fridays, Appledrama, for real bands and brands, that made me laugh. Having planned my own wedding, nightmare!, I think I’d hire a wedding planner like Jason if I ever had to do it again. Let someone else deal with all the chaos and stress.

Funny, thought provoking, sweet and heartfelt, a really enjoyable book. Hope for more from this author soon.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.

blog tour, books, instagram

Instagram Tour: Atonement Camp for Redemption – Evan J. Corbin

Head over to Instagram to find out my thoughts on today’s book – sequel to Atonement Camp for Unrepentant Homophobes

Rick Harris finds himself back at a place he never thought he’d return—the Atonement Camp. With Marilyn now serving as camp director, Rick turns away from his empty home—and his equally vacant pursuits with headless online suiters—to accept a job teaching at the camp. With Garrett missing, Rick and his friends soon learn that there’s more to the jobs they were offered than they were led to believe.

Meanwhile, Missy Bottom seeks revenge against Rick and those who thwarted her plan: to invalidate the New Revelation and gain her esteemed Luminary membership. Caught in the middle of warring factions of Luminaries and camp spies, Rick and his friends struggle to uncover Missy’s plans while concealing their true purpose at camp from those who begin to suspect their teaching credentials are somewhat lacking.

Old enemies become allies as Rick and his friends are forced to choose between those who would seek to invalidate the New Revelation and sacrifice all the newfound LGBTQ freedoms that came with it, and those who would leverage the ancient teaching for retribution. Rick faces an equally intractable decision—whom does he truly love? And why? Rick soon learns that the answer to those questions may be the key to solving more than one problem.

*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.