on m/m romance, baking, knitting, and occasional smut

Tag Archives: Clare London

2254Hello again everyone and I hope you all are having a wonderful weekend! I finally finished Lost! And OMGOMGOMG I loved it!!! I know that some of you are Lost fans as well, so I will tell you that I was worried about how the series would end. I ended up making it 5 years?? now (something like that) since it ended and still not learning much about it, which is good. I hate getting spoilered, especially about something that I spent years really caring about. But I was worried because the middle seasons lost the thread of the story a bit and even I could see that when it was happening, not just in retrospect. But from the middle of Season 5 to the end of Season 6 it was go.go.go.go and right on target. That’s why I spent several days this week finishing it instead of reviewing 😉 But, I will say that I LOVED it to pieces and I cried like a baby. It would be worth watching again, that’s for sure!

I have a lot to update you about, so let’s get going 🙂


take_a_breakFirst off, this week is going to be a slow week for us. We’re taking a week off — sort of. We still have a few guest posts this week and a few reviews and giveaways that were intended to go up, so those will still be on. But it’s a naturally slow week and since we have a large group of reviews we’re working on for the next few weeks, we’re going to use this slow week to try to get a bit ahead.

samhainbannerNow, this is exciting 🙂 We’re now going to be posting reviews from Samhain Publishing! While we often review books that we’ve bought or acquired from authors, we get the bulk of our books from the publisher for review. And until now that included just about all of them except Samhain. The good news about this is that because our books acquired for review take precedence over books that we buy and might decide to review, that means that we’ll be posting a lot more reviews of those Samhain books. First review up this week is Burden by Annmarie McKenna, reviewed by Sadonna.

This Week’s Wrapup

cover3_frontAnyta Sunday stopped by this week with a really great post called “On (Not) Coming Out as a Gay Romance Writer” that generated a lot of really interesting comments. Her book, Taboo for You is available here from Amazon!

03 SurfeitTalya Andor visited for a third time to talk about her third book in the Appetite series from Less Than Three Press, Surfeit For the Senses (all 3 are now on sale!). Every time she visits to talk about these books I have a day or two of severe cravings! But this was a really interesting post talking about the evolution of a multi-course meal in relation to writing a series. Read her post, “Themes of Progression”, here.

CH_BeginningOfKnowledge_cvrThe lovely and talented (and my friend) Anne Brooke visited this week for the first time here at The Armchair Reader! Her post, “Erotica or How to be Fully Human” generated a lot of interest and I love the insight that she has into writing about sex! Check it out and get her book The Beginning of Knowledge from Wilde City Press here. Or, read my review here.

CH_TruckerFucker_100dpi_cvrBarry Lowe was here to talk about why he writes the erotica he does and I really liked seeing his views on his own work (that I’m addicted to, which I said in my review). This is Barry’s first time at The Armchair Reader and you still have a chance to win Trucker Fucker by commenting in the post! Ends tonight at Midnight! Buy Trucker Fucker here at Wilde City Press.


Dev Bentham, Clare London and Jordan Castillo Price (three of my favorite authors!) stopped here on Thursday for the last stop in their 3-part Art Appreciation Blog Tour! The other two stops were at Joyfully Jay and Book Reviews and More by Kathy. At TAR, they answered a whole group of random art questions and talked about their characters and their feelings about art. It’s a great tour, so check our their post here and make sure to check out the others as well!

dance only for meAnd last this week in a full week of guest posts and visits from authors, Megan Derr stopped by to talk about her new release in the Dance with the Devil series (one of my all time favorites!), Dance Only for Me,talking about the origins of the series in her post, “How Did We Get Here”. I loved this book like I loved the others so make sure to look out for my review, coming soon! Buy the book here at Less Than Three Press.

Here’s what we reviewed this week:

Find a Way (Prince and Trader #2) by RG Green – Pretty Good
Sky Hunter (Skybound #3) by Fae Sutherland – Pretty Good
Audible by Dawn Kimberly Johnson – So So (Sadonna)
The Buyout by Bru Baker – Really Liked It (Nikyta)
Running Up That Hill by Barry Brennessel – LOVED it!! (Sadonna)

Coming Up This Week – 7/28 – 8/3

On Tuesday, Carole Cummings and J Tullos Hennig will be here for the first post in their new series about Spec Fic: “Two old Speculative Fiction Nerds walk into a bar…”. It’s going to be wonderful so make sure you look for it!

rulesforsuccess400On Wednesday, Mina MacLeod is visiting to talk about her new release (on that very day) from Less Than Three Press, Some Rules for Success in the Music Business (available now for Preorder!). I’m excited to read and review this one!

thornlessrose_tcmillAnd lastly, Friday brings us a post from TC Mill, who has a new release from Storm Moon Press, Thornless Rose available now! Look forward to my review of that one as well!

Here are our reviews for this week:



Look forward to these giveaways this week!


These giveaways both end tonight at Midnight. Click on the covers to enter!

03 SurfeitCH_TruckerFucker_100dpi_cvr


  • For updates on all the posts, click on the button at the top right of the page (first in the right column) to get email updates so you don’t miss anything!
  • Be sure to look out for a new update soon. I’m going to be putting the covers of our best reviewed books (monthly) in the right column so you don’t forget the wonderful books that are newly released!
  • And lastly, our Author List is newly updated

Thanks everyone! Have a wonderful week and we’ll see you around 🙂


Click the covers to buy!

These three lovely authors have each offered to give away one of their books, so I drew three names. I’m contacting them in order of the draw and they can then pick which book they’d like. The winners are:

First Drawing – Ann


Second Drawing – Barbra

(Painting in the Rain)

Third Drawing – Christopher Hammel

So, in order of the draw, I’ve written Ann and after I hear back from her and she picks her book I’ll contact Barbra, and so on. If I don’t get a response from my email after 48 hours, as per usual, I’ll have to move on to the next name. In the event that you (the winner) already has the book(s) left, I’ll move on to/draw another name. Any questions?

No? Alright. Congratulations to Ann, Barbra and Christopher Hammel 🙂 I’ll be contacting you second two soon!


Congrats to these winners!

Sonata by AF Henley: Karl
Freeman by Clare London: Andrea M
King Mai by Edmond Manning: parisfanca

I’ve written both Andrea M and parisfanca, but if you didn’t get my email, please email me at armchairreader[dot]coleriann[at]gmail[dot]com to get a copy of your book. I’ll have to draw another name if I don’t hear from you in 48 hours.

Thank you to everyone who commented and read all three of these really wonderful posts! AF Henley’s guest post (“Kids in Fics”), Clare’s guest post (“The Unreliable Narrator”) and Edmond’s guest post (“Opening a Man’s Heart”).

Buy Links:

King Maihttp://www.amazon.com/King-Mai-Lost-Founds-ebook/dp/B00DXMVCO0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1374860796&sr=8-1&keywords=king+mai+manning

cover3_frontCH_BeginningOfKnowledge_cvrpaintingintherainblindedbyoureyessympathy03 SurfeitCH_TruckerFucker_100dpi_cvr

Click the links to enter these still open giveaways!

Taboo For You by Anyta Sunday – Ends Tonight!
The Beginning of Knowledge by Anne Brooke – Ends Tomorrow (7/27)
The Art Appreciation Blog Tour – Ends Tomorrow (7/27)

  • Painting in the Rain by Dev Bentham
  • Blinded by Our Eyes by Clare London
  • Sympathy by Jordan Castillo Price

Surfeit for the Senses (Appetite #3) by Talya Andor – Ends 7/28
Trucker Fucker by Barry Lowe – Ends 7/28

For our last stop on the Art Appreciation mini-tour, we thought we’d ask and answer some random art-related questions. So here goes….

Does anyone have memories of an interesting art opening they’ve been to?

Clare: I remember the opening of the Tate Britain and taking the Sons to see this prestigious exhibition of modern art. We spent several minutes in front of a large canvas painted solely in one shade and texture of blue. I’ll remember the bemused look on Son#1’s face for the rest of my life.

Dev: I haven’t been to an art opening since I moved to the country but my main memories of openings are free cheap Chablis. Yes, I’m THAT much of a philistine.

Jordan: The last time I showed was in a gallery called Hook Torture that was in a friend’s loft. For the opening, as a performance piece, there was a nude woman wearing frosting, lying on a table of fruit, and theoretically people were supposed to dip the frosting off her. In reality, though, it turned out to be more awkward than any of us expected.

Art noticed in an unlikely spot?

banksyClare: A perfect example are the Banksy graffiti pictures across London. I believe he uses stencils and spray can paint, and they’re fast and striking and bold. Now they’ve become part of the artistic heritage of London. One was recently peeled away from its wall, and someone tried to sell it! (it was returned in the end *g*)

Dev: I’ve always loved the troll under the Freemont Bridge in Seattle.

Jordan: The film Exit Through the Gift Shop made a lot of Americans more aware of Banksy. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who’s interested in street art.

In the loft above the cafeteria in art school, someone drew a hand in pencil on one of the tables. There was something about the fit of the hand into the wrist that was so utterly right that I can see it in my mind’s eye to this day.

Your character’s favorite album cover art.

davidbowieheroesClare: For Charles it would be David Bowie / Heroes

walkmenDev: Gabe’s favorite album cover is Walkmen/Everyone Who Pretended to Like me is Gone

stickyfingersJordan: David would’ve been a kid when Sticky Fingers by the Stones came out, but I think he’d appreciate the simplicity, the shock value, and the unexpected inclusion of the real zipper. I could see him flipping through a record collection as a pre-teen, pausing, taking it in, and thinking, “Hey, now.”

Your character’s favorite famous artist and how it differs from yours.

caravaggioClare: Charles’ would be Caravaggio / Amor Vincit Omnia.

I think that personally I tend to an easier on the eye, more fussy and romantic style like the pre-Raphaelites. But I like art to be striking, to make an emotional impact, to keep the eyes fascinated.

agoldsworthyDev: Gabe is very drawn to Andy Goldsworthy, the British nature artist. Goldsworthy makes beautiful, ephemeral art out of natural objects and Gabe is fascinated by the beauty and the transience of his work. I love his work, too, although I like things that last a little longer than a season.

RauschenbergJordan: I think David prefers high-concept work that’s disturbing. Robert Rauschenberg would be one of his favorites. His tastes and mine are probably closely aligned since he’s one of the more autobiographical characters I’ve written.

Is it easier to make a living as a writer than an artist? (I imagine we’d all say yes since we’re all making money writing.)

Clare: I imagine so. All my art characters struggle with making a living at some stage or another. It’s either an external struggle, in that their art isn’t fashionable, or internal, in that they’ve lost their Muse.

Dev: Hmm. I know only a few artists OR writers who are making an actual living with their work. I have some close artist friends who threw themselves on the universe after their youngest got out of school and have been scraping by ever since. Along with Jordan, they’re my follow-your-bliss heros. In general, there’s simply not enough support for the arts so most of us need to keep our day job.

Jordan: My guess is that the nature of the end product determines how many potential customers you can have. If it takes me a year to write and publish a book, potentially thousands of people could buy it and I’d receive a few dollars from each of them. But if an artist creates twenty paintings as a year’s worth of work, they can only sell to twenty people, likely for a few hundred dollars apiece, if that…so it’s a matter of scale, I guess. Technically a visual artist could sell their images on stock photography sites to have a business model that’s closer to the way it works with authorship (larger audience/smaller cost) but the artists I suggested it to pooh poohed the idea.

I can’t think of anyone I know who supports themselves solely by making visual art. That’s a shame. Worse yet, most of the people I went to school with don’t make art at all anymore. The natural selection process can be brutal.

What’s your favorite color and what does it remind you of?

Clare: Purple. It feels richer than red, bolder than blue. It means sensuality to me.

Dev: Red, like fresh blood, vibrant and alive. Perhaps I’m more of a vampire than I’d like to believe.

Jordan: Black. It makes everything else pop. It reminds me of decisiveness.


paintingintherainPAINTING IN THE RAIN by Dev Bentham
Helping teenagers is tough. They face so many dangers – peer pressure, drugs, pregnancy, STDs. As a trained social worker, Mike knows all about it. He’s taken a temporary job on the Oregon coast working with at-risk kids. But when he meets Gabe, the father of one of his charges, he finds himself in another type of danger – that of falling in love and getting stuck in a small, conservative town, not to mention living with an angry teenager. And yet, he’s drawn to Gabe in a way he never imagined possible.

Gabe, whose own father left before he was born, stays in a town where he no longer feels welcome. He’s living the life of a lonely artist so that he can be a father to his son, a bond that’s been threatened by divorce and Gabe’s public coming out. When he meets Mike, Gabe is bowled over with a longing so deep that he finds himself willing to risk everything.

There are plenty of dangers in a small town. When a gay kid gets hurt and they refuse to leave him to his fate, Mike and Gabe may be risking more than their hearts.

blindedbyoureyesBLINDED BY OUR EYES by Clare London
London art dealer Charles Garrett has devoted his life to appreciating beauty, both in art & in his companions. His fashionable life is rocked to the core when he discovers the body of a young artist, Paolo Valero, in a pool of blood in his gallery.

As Paolo’s mentor, Charles is haunted by the horror of his violent death. He investigates Paolo’s past & discovers a tangled web of motives & potential suspects, some closer to home than he ever imagined. He’s drawn to Antony Walker, an aggressive, handsome sculptor with unsavory ties to Paolo. Charles is unsettled by Antony’s forceful nature but irresistibly attracted to his passion. When the evidence points toward Antony’s guilt, Charles is thrown into emotional turmoil. Has he lost his heart to a killer?

sympathySYMPATHY by Jordan Castillo Price
Fear takes many forms. As a child, Anthony Potosi was afraid of the Hook House, not because of the cheesy stories his older brothers attempted to terrorize him with, but the startling presence of gravestones he stumbled across in the abandoned Victorian’s overgrown yard.

It’s been ages since Tony has thought about the old place. As an adult, he’s had to deal with more immediate fears. The fear that he’d never recover from the accident that killed his father and shattered his pelvis was at the top of the list. Now that he can walk again, though, the fear that his brothers are edging him out of the family landscaping business seems more pressing…until he’s called to make a drop-off at the Hook House.

While delivering the order, Tony finds ceramicist David Dean living there, along with several dozen eerily expressive clay figures he’s sculpted. David has converted the weedy lot to native prairie, and the dilapidated stone outbuilding to a pottery studio. While he hasn’t worked his alchemy on the family plot, it’s no longer quite as daunting as Tony remembers. It’s nowhere near as frightening as getting physical with someone for the first time since his accident, especially with a body he’d presumed was broken beyond repair, and especially with someone as captivating as David. Tony finds that learning to open up again to trust, desire—and maybe even love—is far scarier than The Hook.


ClareLondon_author_p_lr-210x330Picture the scene: a flashback to my young(er) years, avidly reading every thriller and crime novel I could find. And then one caught my attention as being different, with a twist at the end I never saw coming. I’d met my first example of an Unreliable Narrator.

An unreliable narrator is a narrator, whether in literature, film, or theatre, whose credibility has been seriously compromised. (Thanks, Wikipedia!) The term was coined in 1961 by Wayne C. Booth in The Rhetoric of Fiction.

Wow! I didn’t even know I’d been associating with one! But it’s stayed in my mind ever since. And was that book a modern classic, I hear you ask? Depends on your point of view – it was Agatha Christie’s Endless Night, one of her non-detective thrillers. Maybe it wasn’t the first book to use the device, but it was the first one I ever read. I distinctly remember thinking: how bloody clever! Wish I could write something like that!

The other perfect example for me of a UN? Jack Reacher, the hugely popular character in thrillers by Lee Child (and, BTW, not remotely like Tom Cruise in the recent movie adaptation, a sad disappointment to Reacher Creatures like me across the globe!). Reacher is a mountain of a man, with rock-steady determination, craggy looks, and communication skills just this side of taciturn – yet, as the plot unspools, the reader realises that Reacher’s known what’s going on since page 2, and has been prepared for it since (at least) page 22. He’s a human island, sharing little with others except on a need to know basis, but he listens, he thinks, he resolves. Job done!

I wrote Freeman as my own (very modest) homage to both these literary influences. A man of few words and many omissions, he’s learned to hide and protect. He’s loyal and honest in his business and doesn’t lie if he can avoid it. He has his own strict code of conduct, and sense of right and wrong. But he also sees life on a “need to know” basis, including even those he’s close to.
Frustrating to other people? Hell, yeah! Freeman is essentially about the man and his friends and lovers, past and present – yet we learn more about him from their reactions than his own exposition.

There’s a recognised “type” of unreliable narrator (and paraphrased with apologies to the author***), and that’s The Madman: A narrator who is either only experiencing mental defense mechanisms, or severe mental illness, such as schizophrenia or paranoia, for example: Noir fiction and Hardboiled fiction’s “tough” (cynical) narrator who unreliably describes his own emotions.

So where’s Freeman on this scale? He’s not really a Madman, though he has plenty of defence mechanisms. He’s intelligent, perceptive, proactive and with a strong sense of what’s right. In his opinion, of course. He doesn’t often ask for help, and he’s tolerant of everything and everyone else on the planet – until something crosses the line that he thinks needs holding.

Freeman_cvrFrom the book:
“Fuck off,” Kit snapped, the anger flaring at last. “Oh, of course, you didn’t lie, did you? That’s too obvious for you. That’s Freeman. He doesn’t lie, but he never gives away enough of the truth to incriminate himself. Keeps it all to himself. No lies, but plenty of half-truths.”

I didn’t know what to say to him. It was true in so many ways, but I’d never been brave enough to face it myself.

And the devious pleasure of writing an unreliable narrator?

A more dramatic use of the device delays the revelation until near the story’s end. A twist ending forces readers to reconsider their point of view and experience of the story. In some cases the narrator’s unreliability is never fully revealed but only hinted at, leaving readers to wonder how much the narrator should be trusted and how the story should be interpreted.

But if I’ve succeeded in that … you’ll only know if you read the book LOL.

What’s been your experience with an unreliable narrator? Dread or delight?

*** Riggan, William (1981). Pícaros, Madmen, Naīfs, and Clowns: The Unreliable First-person Narrator. Univ. of Oklahoma Press: Norman. ISBN 0806117141


Please leave a comment below to win an ebook copy of Freeman. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on July 22. I will choose the winner using Random.org and email the winner who will then have 48 hours from the time of the drawing to reply to my email. I will then forward the winner’s information to Clare so the winner can receive their book!

Please enter the email you’d wish me to contact you at in the comment form, or if you prefer, leave it in the message.

Thank you and good luck!