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Tag Archives: Lou Harper

deadmanrestlessspiritsTitle: Dead Man and the Restless Spirits Dead Man Vol. 1
Author: Lou Harper
Publisher: Self Published (Harper Books)
Length: 37k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Paranormal Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Lou Harper Week!, Spinoff, Tails!, Demons, Ghosts/Spirits, Psychics, Hauntings, Magic, Witches/Mages, Piercings, Animals, Neighbors, Nerds/Geeks, Awesome Female Characters!, Awesome Moms!, Funny Guys, Mystery, Episodic
Rating: Really Liked It

BLURB

Dying sucks hairy monkey balls, even when you’re not the stiff.

Denton Mills has a secret: he can see dead people. Or rather, how they died. It’s quite a drag in a city like Chicago, teeming with the echoes of the no-longer living. Rather than whine about it, Denton has learned to live with his troublesome talent. His adaptability comes in handy when he meets his enigmatic new neighbor.

Bran Maurell catches Denton’s eye right away, but unfortunately Mr. Tall, Dark, and Mysterious is as standoffish as he is alluring. However, after an unexpected introduction from Bran’s cat brings the two men together, Denton discovers they have a mutual interest in the spirit world. Herbalist by day, Bran moonlights as a witch, performing house cleansings for a fee.

From Bran, Denton learns that his knack for interacting with the dead qualifies him as a necromancer. It makes good business sense for them to team up and rid Chicago of its pesky spirits one grateful client at a time. Amongst ghostly adventures the attraction between the men is impossible to ignore. They seem like perfect partners—unless Bran’s not-so-little secret comes between them.

Warning: men loving men, ghosts with attitudes, and a portly feline with hidden talents.

REVIEW

I was super excited to read this spinoff of Spirit Sanguine, which I really loved, because I really felt like I liked Denton a lot in that book. He’s really funny and he’s a natural to have his own book, with the fact that he can see ghosts and all, or at least, the remnants of death. And I really did enjoy it. I think that I ended up feeling quite different about it than Spirit Sanguine, no matter how much I enjoyed it and not relating to the fact that it is essentially different than that book. I’ll get to why in a bit, but most if it has to deal with the way that the story is told.

We first met Denton Mills in Spirit Sanguine, a book that was all about a different type of vampires. In a way, I feel like the viewpoint of vampires from that book (as Lou Harper has called “the Byronic portrayal of vampires—you know, dark and brooding, woe is me…”) is somewhat related to how Denton feels about them. He’s another type of paranormal entity in a city filled with them (Chicago), but where he sees them as other, he’s just like a regular guy with a gift, or a curse. They try to stay away from one another for the most part, probably as it is thought of in Spirit Sanguine because of the death that surrounds vampires. Our picture of him in that book is separate from and quite lonely, though with a quick wit and acerbically funny facade.

Dead Man… shows Denton’s world, and while they’re mostly the same the focus is different. The vampires are quite separate from his daily life (except when he thinks about Gabe and the crush he had). But he’s still quite lonely. He has a hard time relating to people, especially those who don’t know his secret. But when staying in his best friend Joy’s apartment, he finally starts to learn about his gift and the wider world of witches and necromancy — all because of the hot guy next door (who might also be a serial killer) and the man’s cat, Murry.

This book is enjoyable for itself, even if you haven’t read Spirit Sanguine. But if you have read that book, then I think you’ll enjoy this one as well because in writing style they’re similar in many ways. Denton is really funny and just in the first chapter or so and especially with his interactions with the cat, I was totally hooked. I think that is what made the book enjoyable for me, mostly Denton’s interaction with his surroundings and with Bran. They make a really great pair, but the real joy of reading the book comes from Denton’s voice. That said, I think that you really have to enjoy that for the book to be a total winner for you. Because while I enjoyed their paranormal investigative efforts together I also felt like they were quiet small mysteries that didn’t go nearly as in depth as I would have wished. And that’s fine, because I know that their story isn’t finished and Lou has plans for more for this couple. But it does mean that I ended this book feeling less of a connection between the two than in many of Lou’s other books. On the other hand, that makes me even more excited for the sequel, because I’m interested in where this couple will go. And, of course, I love Denton 🙂

So I wholeheartedly recommend this one, just for the joy of reading it. It’s a fun book, and not long, so you can enjoy it in a day or one sitting when you need a little pick-me-up, a little humor and some really good writing. Now that I’ve read almost all of her backlist, I can see that Lou has written some of the best characters in the m/m romance genre. Perhaps its that I find my reading preferences and her writing style mesh really well, but I think that Denton highlights what I really love about Lou’s characters, which is that they’re smart, funny and perceptive. And that they always have a different and unique way of looking at the world. I can’t say more than that.

Dead Man and the Restless Spirits is available today at Amazon and ARe!


deadmanrestlessspiritsWelcome, Everyone 🙂

To kick off Lou Harper week, I’m talking with the author herself today and also reviewing her newest book (out today), Dead Man and the Restless Spirits. So, without delay, I welcome Lou Harper!


Me
Lou

Hey Lou! Thank you so much for being here today 🙂 I’ve been looking forward to this interview and reading/reviewing your backlist!

It’s great to be here. You have comfy chairs.

I wanted to start out by talking about your new release, Dead Man and the Restless Spirits, telling Denton’s story, a secondary but pivotal character in Spirit Sanguine. What made you decide to tell his story?

I like having fun with my supporting characters, fleshing them out so you get the impression that they have lives outside of the story. With Denton I succeeded more than usual. He was too intriguing not to have his own story. Honestly, how often do you have a necromancer for a protagonist?

One of the best characters in Dead Man and the Restless Spirits is Murry, the cat 🙂 And reading about Murry and then quickly reading over your backlist made me realize that you seem to have a cat somewhere in most of your books. Are you just a cat person or what? (like me!)

I do? I hadn’t realized that. Those sneaky bastards! Yes, I’m a cat person—have lived with cats most of my life. I like dogs too, except the small yappy ones. Bad things happen to Chihuahuas in my books.

I can’t stand small yappy dogs either!

From what I can tell, it seems like most of your writing prior to this year has been contemporary. This year you’ve come out with Dead in LA, Spirit Sanguine, and now Dead Man and the Restless Spirits. Why the change and why now? Are there any other genres you’re looking to explore in the future?

Personally, I don’t see this as a huge shift. My paranormal stories are still contemporary; the protagonists still have jobs, have to pay rent, etc., even if they happen to be vampires or necromancers. I bet they even have to go to the dentist too. Well, maybe not the vamps.

I fell in love with magic realism as a child, reading the Mary Poppins books. The ordinary and extraordinary living side-by-side have fascinated me ever since. It was just a question of time before I slipped into paranormal.

Spirit Sanguine happened by accident. I became tired of the Byronic portrayal of vampires—you know, dark and brooding, woe is me. I wanted to slap them silly and tell them to snap the hell out of it. So I got the idea to write a story about vampires in the style of classic screwball comedies—Some Like it Hot, Bringing up Baby, that sort of stuff. I was aiming for a novelette, short novella at most, but things got out of hand. Suspense and mystery elements mixed in and the story got much longer then I’d planned. You know the rest.

I like science fiction too, but I don’t see myself getting into that genre in the near future.

hangingloosenewcoverYour first published book was Hanging Loose from Loose Id two years ago this month. What made you first start writing and when/why did you decide to publish?

You can blame Josephine Myles for that. We met years ago when we were both dabbling in fanfiction. Then she moved onto m/m and dragged me with her. To be honest, at first I didn’t think it was for me, but I stumbled across books by Jordan Castillo Price and Josh Lanyon early on and was hooked. I started writing Hanging Loose after reading a GFY story I didn’t find convincing. To me, the core of the story is that sexuality is complex and there are many shades between straight and gay. Following the character’s journey coming to terms with his own nature and desires was what I wanted to explore.

I know now that you’re also self-publishing. What made you make that decision and what was your first published work? Do you think you’ll mostly transition to self-publishing your work or do you still feel that the publishers you have a relationship have something to offer for your future books?

There are pros and cons to both. I like working with Samhain, I feel they treat their authors as partners and they are very professional. Being with a reputable publisher has many benefits. A couple of my books have been reviewed in Romance Times and The Library Journal, and I believe that has a lot to do with Samhain being the publisher.

I self-published Dead in L.A. out of necessity. It was the only way I could get another book out before the end of the year. Speed and more control are some of the upsides to self-publishing. I also get a perverse joy from doing the tedious stuff like formatting. Yes, I’m weird that way.

I plan to do both in the future. You know how the saying goes: don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Now, I wanted to ask you about your art. In case you didn’t know, Lou Harper is a pretty well known cover artist for m/m books and I’ve seen a lot of your art online, on blogs and book tours. How did that start for you? Did you have a career in graphic design before you became an author and you merged your talents?

I have degrees in Photography and Fine Art, and worked in graphic designed for over a decade. Writing came much later. The thing is, I have a constant urge to make stuff; if I have nothing to work on I get restless. Fortunately, design and writing complement each other well. When I’m stuck with one, I can turn to the other.

I’m also curious which of your covers were yours and which were from another artist? Are there any that you particularly love or are unhappy with?

The covers of Last Stop, Dead in L.A., Dead Man, Spirit Sanguine, Tomfoolery, Seduction, Late Night Snack, and the new one for Hanging Loose are mine. My current favorite is Dead Man, although I wonder how readers looking for romance will react to it. I have suspicion that Dead in L.A.‘s cover might have been too strong on the mystery element for the average m/m reader. When I do covers for my self-published books I have the freedom to create something different then the usual m/m fare, but from the perspective of sales it might not be the best thing to do. I’ll have to keep experimenting with this.

My next book with Samhain is Secrets and Ink, the cover of which was designed by Angie Waters. It’s very sexy.

I really enjoyed Dead in LA and along with Spirit Sanguine, you used the multiple case/mystery format to move the story along. Will you talk about where you were inspired by that style and why you wanted to try it out? Or was it specific to these sets of characters?

Spirit Sanguine was the first book I wrote that way. Originally it was going to be one novella but I soon realized that my protagonists had too much backstory to wrap it all up so quickly.

I’m a big fan of Marshall Thornton’s Boystown mysteries and they gave me the idea to use the episodic story structure. Some readers compared them to TV shows, and I’m cool with that.

The great advantage of this format for me is that I can have a longer book by stringing several individual but related stories together. I tend to write lean and having a 50,000 word story for me is an achievement.

deadinla1Do you have any idea when we can be expecting Volume 2 of Dead in LA?

I’m working on it right now and plan to publish it in September. Yay!

Also, let us know what you have in the works for the rest of the year, and if possible, 2014.

I’ll possibly have a short story in an anthology this summer. The book will be—if everything goes according to plan—a follow up to Winter Warmers from 2011. Secrets and Ink is coming out in December. A sequel to Spirit Sanguine is tentatively scheduled for next summer, and at some point I’d like to write a sequel to Dead Man. So far, I have the title: Dead Man and the Army of Frogs. I’d also like to do a free short story with Denton and Bran this fall. Unfortunately, I’m a terribly slow writer with a tendency to procrastinate.  Hell yeah, I get that!  I love that title for Dead Man 2 🙂

Give us some links to where we can buy Dead Man and the Restless Spirits.

Buy at Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Dead-Man-Restless-Spirits-ebook/dp/B00DKOEE6E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1372123005&sr=8-1&keywords=dead+man+and+the+restless+spirits

Buy at All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-deadmanandtherestlessspirits-1224987-145.html

Where can we find you?

My website is http://louharper.com, and blog is http://louharper.blogspot.com. I’m also on Facebook and Goodreads, although I don’t post a whole lot.

Thank you Lou for visiting today and answering my questions 🙂

Glad to be here! Can I curl up and take a nap in this chair? Just pretend I’m a cat.

Cats are ALWAYS welcome… authors, only sometimes.  But you make the cut, considering you’re interesting to talk to 😉

ahhhh, but that’s not all. Lou had a question for me.

Since we are at Q&A, let me give you a question I’m itching to ask all my male readers: What’s your take on women writing gay sex?

It’s become commonplace to me now. You know, I did find it a little strange at first because no one introduced me to m/m romance, I happened to find it all on my own. And that was also when the majority of the pseudonyms were still either neutral, initials, or very obviously male-named. I just assumed that the majority of authors were men. I can’t remember when I found out that wasn’t the case, probably when I started reading blogs. But I remember being totally thrown at the time! But, I will say that for the most part it was because of my assumption, which meant that I had to face up to the fact that it really didn’t matter one way or another! Plus, back when I read primarily literary fiction, I always really loved it when a male author could so deeply, emotionally make me connect with a female protagonist. The leap to gay sex wasn’t that far 😉


And now… let me ask you, readers — Do you have a particular favorite book from Lou Harper? Is there any review in particular you’re looking forward to this week?

Note: My review of Dead Man and the Restless Spirits will be up later today.

GIVEAWAY RULES

Please leave a comment below to win an ebook copy of Dead Man and the Restless Spirits. The giveaway will last until Midnight CDT on Friday, June 28. 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 the author 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!

GIVEAWAY CLOSED


deadmanrestlessspiritsHello Everyone! I’ve gotten a bit of a late start on Lou Harper Week due to the fact that I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and it makes me feel just… stupid. Does that make sense? I’m getting sleep but I feel like I’m always tired and I can’t think straight. I’ve been able to do very little the last two days and nothing seems to be able to help much. So, since I was having trouble forcing it and Lou’s backlist allowed it, I’ve redone the order of the reviews I’m doing and starting tomorrow with the big day of the week, the Interview and review of Lou’s new book, Dead Man and the Restless Spirits!

Here’s the schedule as it stands now:




Tuesday

Interview with Lou Harper
Review: Dead Man and the Restless Spirits

Wednesday

Review: Hanging Loose
Review: Spirit Sanguine & Late Night Snack (Spirit Sanguine #1.5)

Thursday

Review: Last Stop & Seduction (Last Stop #1.5)

Friday

Review: Academic Pursuits
Review: Dead in LA

Saturday

Review: Short Stories

  • Tomfoolery
  • Between Friends
  • “Famished” from the DSP Uniform Appeal anthology
  • “Wintertide” from the Winter Warmers anthology
  • “River Guide” from the Sexy Sailors anthology

See you all tomorrow!


Sorry this post is so long guys! There was just so much I had to tell you! Please, feel free to skip around. I’d be so happy and surprised if anyone actually made it through everything LOL. Even though I can’t link these to send you right to the spot you want in the post (damn WordPress.com), for the sake of laziness, here’s a List of Contents:

Hello to another week!
Last Week’s Reviews
What’s Up This Week
Dominique Frost Visits!
Giveaways
My Birthday Post — Baking Cakes!
Love Has No Boundaries reviews
This Week’s Reviews
Announcements
Laura’s New Blog!
Blog Updates
Coming Soon!
This Week’s Releases I Like
Lou Harper Week! (June 22-28)
Announcement! Next Author Week Profile

Look at all that GORGEOUS hair! -- Found at and Linked To Tam's Tumblr

Look at all that GORGEOUS hair! — Found at and Linked To Tam’s Tumblr

Well, how has everyone been this week? TAR is in a bit of a flux — besides this being a busy month as TAR’s one year anniversary, we’re in the downtime between two big events. Kate McMurray Week went off really well. I really loved reading all of Kate’s books that I hadn’t before and the interview was fun for both of us. She’s a really great lady! Next up is Lou Harper Week, starting on June 22. I’ve read about 75% of her backlist now (much more prepared than I was for Kate’s!) and I’m really enjoying sharing my reviews with you. Lou is a rather new author for me, or at least one of those authors I’ve always known of but still hadn’t read anything by. So many of her books have made me laugh!

Otherwise, not a whole hell of a lot has been going on. Summer has firmly settled in here and we’ve been riding daily highs around the 100 degree mark. It had to come sometime, but the heat is almost unbearable to me. I even get sick when it gets around 100-105 (though we’ve been known to have days up to 115-120!). I get dizzy and sick to my stomach and I start feeling shivery. All are symptoms of heat sickness, if not worse going further into heat stroke.

One of these days I’ll never have to spend a summer in Oklahoma again…

Well, I’ll get to the updates, announcements, and info about this week. I hope everyone has a good one!

This Week’s Wrapup

Here are last week’s reviews:

My Reviews

Fear, Hope and Bread Pudding (Coda #7) by Marie Sexton – Really Liked It
Cairo Curse (Vampire’s Lair #2) by Geoffrey Knight – Pretty Good
Bully for You (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Catt Ford – Really Liked It
Herbal Remedy by Megan Derr – Pretty Good
Beach Remedy by Sasha L Miller – Pretty Good
Tats of Honor by Vona Logan – Not Feelin’ It
Finding Master Right by LA Witt – Pretty Good

Nikyta’s Reviews

A Shot at Forgiveness (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Cardeno C – Pretty Good
Running Away from Sunshine (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Gwynn Marssen – So So
Riding the Board (2013 DSP Daily Dose) by Cate Ashwood – Really Liked It
Outcast by Alex Douglas – Pretty Good

Coming Up This Week – June 16-22

theartoftouchDominique Frost is stopping by on Tuesday the 18th as part of the Big Gay Wedding Tour to talk about her new release (on that day) from Loose Id, The Bitter Rednesses of Love. That is such a great title! **The cover on the left is from a previous novel by this author. Loose Id hasn’t release the cover pic for Bitter… yet.






GR_Say_EverythingGiveaways!

Gina A Rogers was really sweet to offer us an ebook to give away tomorrow with Sadonna’s review of Say Everything. Part of MLR’s Mixtape releases, these stories will take you back in time 🙂 The 80s! Be sure to visit tomorrow to comment for a win of this short story. The offer closes on Friday, June 21, so get in there early so you don’t miss your chance!

Open Giveaways! The giveaway of the two Paranormal Days stories by Megan Derr and Sasha L Miller, Beach Remedy and Herbal Remedy, is open until Tuesday, June 18. And be sure to check out Sasha’s guest post if you missed it — her interesting take on writing vampires 🙂 Comment there to win.


cakebluebdayThursday, June 20th is my birthday 🙂 I have a special post for you that day, which is my recipe for a perfect white cake and it’s what I make for birthdays (including my own!) every year. While I love it just as it is, it is rather a plain cake (though no cake of mine is plain!). Let’s just say that it’s a really good base recipe. It’s my Perfect Cake and you can customize it in a million ways. Trust me, you need this recipe. Because not only is it different from every other white cake I’ve made (in taste, texture, and technique), but you can make it into any cake you want with just a little improvisation and your favorite flavors.


LHNB-ImageAnd last, Saturday is going to be my first “Best of Love Has No Boundaries” review post, where I review a few of my favorites of the stories already posted in the Goodread’s M/M Romance Group’s Love Has No Boundaries event. I’m really looking forward to this, but choosing just a few from the tons of really good stories that have been posted so far is going to be difficult! But.. it’s a challenge I’m totally ready for 😉


Here is what we’re planning to review this week:

deepinthecountparkerGSW_Crocodile_Kevs_Merry-Go-RoundskyrunnersGR_Say_EverythingOutlasttheNightLGSJF_To_The_Other_SideKingsMateLGBornThisWayLGwerecattherearingContactSportLGblackdogbluesDamnedIfYouDo_500x750_0SLAM!72webPlayMeImYoursLGHeartoftheRaceLG

Announcements

The Tipsy Bibliophile pic:screenshotEveryone, please follow The Tipsy Bibliophile! My good friend, Laura (at Goodreads: Lauraadriana), one of the ladies (with Laddie) at The LL’s Word has opened her own/solo WordPress blog. Her reviews are wonderful and her first (of Harper Fox’s new Brothers of the Wild North Sea) as The Tipsy Reader is up 🙂 I guarantee you’ll enjoy her reviews!

She might just poach all of you loyal readers from me 😦

Ha! … loyal readers… :-\


blog_updateIn blog update news: I’m still planning on moving the blog… eventually… if I can ever figure out how to do it and have some time. But, while I’m waiting and figuring all of that out, I’m trying to make TAR’s current home a bit more hospitable.

First up, I’m finishing creating the tabs and drop-down menu at the top of the screen. In particular, I’m first organizing the reviews so that you can browse instead of having to use the search bar to find a past review. Right now, I’ve finished the Author Name page, which you can find through this link, or by hovering over the Reviews link at the top of your page and then clicking on Author Name (the drop down menu if you hover on Author Name gives you a list to search by last names in groups, i.e. “Authors A-C”). The Author Name page gives you a list of all the authors that have been reviewed or guest posted on The Armchair Reader since it’s inception a year ago and links to every post they’re tagged in. It is also alphabetized by their last name first, which I always find is easier, because last names of authors tend to stick in my mind better 🙂

Next up, I’ll be updating the browsing options by publisher, major genres and events.

Coming Soon!

This week’s releases I’m excited about:

BornThisWayLGMountainPreyLGChildrenoftheKnightLGPurposeLGAuPairAffair-The72lgcover6PaintingRainac_the_plain_of_bitter_honey__52261

deadmanrestlessspiritsLou Harper Week is next week (June 22-28)! I’ll be interviewing Lou and reviewing her whole backlist, which has been fun, I tell you. I love her writing. I’m also reviewing her new book, coming out next week (June 25), called Dead Man and the Restless Spirits, about Denton, the secondary character from Spirit Sanguine that has a thing for Gabe and can see ghosts. It’s a good read, so make sure to check it out, regardless whether you have read Spirit Sanguine or not — it stands on it’s own very well.




nor_iron_bars_final

Click the Cover to read this AMAZING book!

And, I’m ready to announce the next author I’ve chosen to profile — Kaje Harper!! Kaje has agreed and offered to participate in an interview. No firm dates have been chosen, but it will most likely be around the turn of August to September, around the time of the projected release of the eagerly awaited fourth Life Lessons book, Learning Curve.


Kate McMurray Week!

savethedateI’ve been remiss in not announcing this earlier, but I’ll get to why I’ve been absent a lot from the blog later. Right now, I want to officially announce that next week is Kate McMurray Week! I’ve always been a fan of Kate’s books and meeting her and getting to know her a bit at GRL Albuquerque was wonderful. Since last fall I’ve been reading and reviewing a few authors’ backlists. I started with Mary Calmes and Amy Lane, both of whom have gigantic backlists that are taking me a while to get through. But when I decided that I’d like to do Kate’s backlist as well, it made more sense for me to do it all at once. When I talked to Kate and she told me that she had a new release coming in early June (Save the Date from Loose Id), I knew that was the perfect time to do it.

So! Every day next week is going to have at least one review of one of Kate McMurray’s books, and then on Thursday Kate herself will visit for an interview and to talk about her new release! Be sure to check that out because not only will be be completely awesome on it’s own, but Kate is giving away a copy of Save the Date to a commenter on the interview.

Here’s the review schedule (all normal reviews will resume the next week – June 10):
*All reviews will be by me!

Sunday

Across the East River Bridge

Monday

Show and Tell
In Hot Pursuit

Tuesday

Save the Date

Wednesday

Kindling Fire with Snow
Blind Items

Thursday

Kate McMurray Interview
Out in the Field
Four Corners

Friday

The Boy Next Door

Saturday

A Walk in the Dark
On the Stoop
In December My Heart’s Full of Spring
Lead Us Not


What’s Been Goin’ On

tornadomemeLife has been a total mess lately. Thank you to everyone who sent me messages of well wishes and asked if I was okay when they heard about the recent severe outbreak of tornadoes in Oklahoma. I’ve been lucky, where I am, but many, many, many people haven’t been. And just having it a few hours away, or just minutes away in the last few days, really affected me. This has been a bit of a turbulent spring anyway, even though I tend to get quite disorganized in spring. I’m not sure what it is really, but it always happens and starts every March. I think when March rolls around I start to realize how monotonous the past 4 or 5 months have been and my routine and pattern gets all messed up. I know that those of you who read the blog regularly (and thank you!) will have noticed that the past few months have been rather off and on. One week I’ll have two reviews posted a day and be very vigilant and productive, then I’ll go several weeks without being able to review anything at all. Or, god forbid, read at all! For shame 😦

But, back to what’s been going on lately. I doubt that any of you could have missed the news about Moore, Oklahoma being hit by an eF5 tornado on Monday, May 20th. It’s quite surreal watching it. When Moore was hit by another eF5 tornado on May 2, 1999 I visited the day after and saw exactly what that kind of tornado can do. It’s haunting. Something that destructive… it’s just terrible. Usually once or twice a year we get these warnings of a severe tornado outbreak coming. It’s a bit like the movie Twister (oh Helen Hunt) if you’ve seen it. For a few days beforehand it just seems to grow and grow and grow until you know it’s all going to break out and go to hell. We’ve now had two of those events this year, just a week apart (today was the last day of the second event, and it was BUSY). So being aware that something will probably happen, watching the news all day just to keep an eye and make sure a tornado isn’t anywhere near me, then watching it all happen live. It was terrible and I will admit that it sent me in to a bit of a depression all last week, and I was having lots of anxiety. (It probably didn’t help, by the way, that I was re-reading Falls Chance Ranch and those books could very easily send you into a depression if you identify with Dale too much, no matter how much I love them!). So the last few weeks have been a mash up of stuff.

Like, it was storming tonight on my way home from the grocery store. There I was, in flip flops (will I ever learn?) carrying two twelve packs of soda and running up the driveway to get away from the lightning, which was getting intense. Bad move, Cole! I had a total wipeout. As soon as I hit the slick concrete in my garage I went sliding, my arms pinwheeling all the way making a totally campy screech 😉 I abandoned the soda, which promptly fell on my foot and I went splat on the concrete — face first. But, despite the levity… I totally fucked my wrist, which I think might have a mild sprain and I look like I’ve gone 5 rounds with Mike Tyson. Okay, I’m not that bad. But I’m sporting some pretty narly bruises — shins, ribs and one on my cheek.

I feel just like the old man in the meme.

RadarScope : OKC 5.31.13In related storm news: I found an AWESOME iPhone app for tracking storms. Okay, time to divulge. I’m not sure I’ve even told my internet besties this. But… I always wanted to be a meteorologist/storm chaser “when I grew up”. I was obsessed with storms and my mom would almost have to tie me down when I was a kid because I’d run out in the street to get a better view of them (rather like Riley! Sorry, another Falls Chance Ranch reference). It’s only really been since my mid-twenties that I started, like everyone, to get a real idea of my own mortality and what that meant and I have a much healthier respect for severe storms and tornadoes now. In fact, I find I get rather anxious when these things break out like in the last few weeks, which is probably a healthier take on the whole thing! But, for any of you who are as interested in meteorology as I am, this app is really awesome because you have access to all kinds of different radar, wind shear/velocity, storm tracks and warnings and base readings. I know, total geek! The app is called RadarScope.

Here’s a video of the recent tornadoes. Besides the one that hit Moore, OK on the 20th, another one hit Broken Arrow (a suburb of Tulsa I’m rather familiar with and is closer to my home). And yesterday’s horrible tornado outbreak and floods, once again in Oklahoma City and causing more casualties. A tornado even hit Moore, AGAIN. But this video is just, incredible. And totally terrifying!

From StormChasingVideo.com – Brandon Sullivan Hit by El Reno Tornado 5/31/13

marcopoloreserveSo, I have become obsessed with Beecher’s cheese. Specifically, their cheese called Marco Polo. It’s so yummy and it has pepper all throughout. I’m a pepper fiend. I put insane amounts of black pepper on just about everything I eat (fresh ground only of course!), so this cheese is perfect for me. I can’t stop eating it though! And it’s not like it’s exactly cheap either. In the past month, I’ve probably eaten 3 pounds *cringe*.

Still, if you have a somewhat decent cheese counter anywhere in a store near you (or you live in Seattle or NYC where they have stores), go out and try some of this please! I like just eating it sliced on water crackers, but I’m already envisioning the stupendous mac ‘n cheese I can make with it. A little bit of fig preserves are good with it too.

The Month of June & One Year Anniversary!

deadmanrestlessspiritsToday is the start of June, and that means that The Armchair Reader has been in business now for one year! I’m not really doing anything big to commemorate the occasion. It’s my birthday month too so I don’t want to be TOO stressed out to enjoy it. But, it is special. And so besides Kate McMurray Week, I’m also planning a Lou Harper Week, for June 23-29! Lou is also going to do an interview with me, and talk about her upcoming self-published spinoff book Dead Man and the Restless Spirits, all about Denton whom we first met in Spirit Sanguine. Just like with Kate McMurray’s books next week, I also plan on reading and reviewing Lou’s whole backlist in the same way. So for that last week of June, the focus will all be on Lou Harper 😉

In other news, there are lots of stuff in the works for late summer and autumn. One of my favorite authors, Carole Cummings, is teaming up with J Tullos Hennig for a series of guest posts about writing and fantasy. I’m really excited about this!

There are several other things in the works, and I invite you to email me (armchairreader[dot]coleriann[at]gmail[dot]com) if you have an idea for a guest post or a series that you’d like to contribute. I love to have all of you and, as you might have seen from the plethora of guest posts in March and April, I love the diversity that all of you brought to the blog. I hope that some of you would like to return 🙂


Thank you for letting me take up a bit of your time this Saturday. Please remember to visit next week for Kate McMurray week and I hope you enjoy the reviews and the interview!

So long! and watch out for tornadoes…


SpiritSanguine72lgTitle: Spirit Sanguine
Author: Lou Harper
Publisher: Samhain
Length: 74,562 words
Genre: m/m Paranormal Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Vampires, Vampire Hunters, Veg/Vegan Vamps, Mystery, Action/Adventure, X-Dressing!, Chicago, Diverse Couple, Funny Guys, Las Vegas, Private Investigators, Roleplay
Rating: LOVED It!

BLURB

Is that a wooden stake in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

After five years in eastern Europe using his unique, inborn skills to slay bloodsuckers, Gabe is back in his hometown Chicago and feeling adrift. Until he’s kidnapped by a young, sexy vampire who seems more interested in getting into his pants than biting into his neck.

Harvey Feng is one-half Chinese, one-hundred-percent vampire. He warns Gabe to stay out of the Windy City, but somehow he isn’t surprised when the young slayer winds up on his doorstep. And why shouldn’t Gabe be curious? A vegetarian vampire isn’t something one sees every day.

Against their better judgment, slayer and vampire succumb to temptation. But their affair attracts unexpected attention.

When Chicago’s Vampire Boss makes Gabe an offer he can’t refuse, the unlikely lovers are thrust into peril and mystery in the dark heart of the Windy City. Together they hunt for kidnappers, a killer preying on young humans, and vicious vampire junkies.

However, dealing with murderous humans and vampires alike is easy compared to figuring out if there’s more to their relationship than hot, kinky sex.

Product Warnings
Fangalicious man-on-man action, a troublesome twink, cross-dressing vampiress, and role-playing involving a fedora.

REVIEW

I hadn’t planned on giving this book a proper review, but when Sunday rolled around and I was still thinking about this book, so I decided that it really needed one. For some reason, and I sincerely hope that this is just my 2D, rather limited view of the m/m romance reading community, this book hasn’t seemed to have had a real splash yet. And that’s a damn shame. Here’s what I said on Goodreads immediately after I finished the book Satuday:

This has the most eclectic mix of tags I’ve ever given a book. Surprisingly, they all went together! And even more, it kinda represents this book, which is a bit of a hodge-podge of different quirks and ideas, even plotting and pacing which I found rather refreshing. Definitely not typical vampire fare!

Now, the tags here are pretty much similar to the ones on Goodreads, but since I can more easily edit and add tags here at the blog, they of course have a bit more flair 😉 I have to admit that I’ve fallen into a bit of a pattern in my mismanagement of my m/m reading, where many of the most exciting releases seem to slip through the net (there are many factors, though it still makes me a dolt) mostly because of reviewing duties, but Lou Harper is perhaps one on the top of the list of those stellar authors that I haven’t given their due. Perhaps I should do a backlist read. Anyway, this book wasn’t just well written, but it was a thoroughly enjoyable read, for many reasons I’ll talk about later. But that brings me to another point. Another byproduct of my reviewing duties is that I tend to analyze first rather than enjoy the book first, and having not originally slated Spirit Sanguine as a review book and (imagine this!) actually making myself sit down and read a book for pleasure instead of work on reviews I should be getting up to date, meant that this one just slipped right through and knocked me flat. I didn’t really have to think about an analysis of the book, of styles and pacing and plot and characterizations, but… I just enjoyed it. It was a refreshing read, and not something I was expecting from the vampire angle.

Lou has an interesting take on her book up on her review on Goodreads, which you can read here. In it, she says:

Bloodsuckers are everywhere; you can’t walk down a dark alley without a couple of them jumping out and accosting you with their dark and broody eyes. They do that a lot–mope and sulk. That’s what got to me, all the melodrama. I mean, they are practically immortal, don’t get sick, grow old, don’t need to watch their weight or work out. What the hell do they have to bellyache about?

(That’s the truth.)

And that’s the point. In a sub-genre where melodrama rules and/or kinky vampire sex clubs are the forte, humor takes precedent here, brought forth by the vivacious and quirky Harvey (I love the name, and not just the Feng/Fang part, the fact that her vampire is named Harvey), who isn’t really like any other of his kind. In actuality, I’d rather not go into characterization here, because I’d rather not cut him into pieces to analyze him. He’s best enjoyed as it’s written… plus, you’ll find plenty in other reviews, I’m sure. The same goes for Gabe, who is perhaps the undervalued of the pair, though it’s important that he’s the lens we see the world through, and even more in which we see Harvey through. His understanding of and feelings for Harvey are how we understand him best, in reflection.

What was really refreshing about this book for me was also in a second part — the style, which is reflected in pacing but also the plot. Both were atypical in that they don’t follow the usual structure. Broken into three parts, each concentrates on a different aspect of the story while they, in succession, follow a continual arc. Some readers might find this off-putting. I’m not really sure. I quite enjoyed it. Because while the first is a typical setup to the story and introduces the relationship between Gabe and Harvey, the second and third both have a somewhat separate plot, though they’re tied together. But you do get the feeling, between the transition between Parts 2 and 3, that there’s a bit of a jog. And consequently, you’ll find two climaxes (one at the end of each part) around the 55% mark and the end of the book.

Nikyta noticed this as well and made a remark to me about it (in our many back and forth book gabbing emails) and probably described it better than I did, asking if I had noticed authors using this style more lately, the (in her words) “multiple mini stories in one book of the same couple” style. We both automatically thought of Megan Derr, who sometimes writes in a similar though pretty different style from what I’m describing in Spirit Sanguine. Perhaps it’s that Gabe and Harvey really only have two distinct adventures and Megan Derr often writes books that are split between the many adventures one couple has, a sort of extended vignette style. Nik thought that maybe it was a style that was becoming more popular. I’m not sure, but suffice to say that it is something that we’ve both enjoyed. And definitely something that I found made Lou Harper’s book infinitely more original — though, of course, anything with a vampire named Harvey Feng could hardly be called conventional.

Read the book. And please enjoy it!