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

Tag Archives: Serial

ghostintheclosetAuthor: SL Armstrong & K Piet
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 15,100 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Fantasy/Paranormal Erotica/Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Serial, Short Story, Magic, Ghosts/Spirits, Flashbacks, Secrets & Lies
Rating: Pretty Good

**This review contains spoilers for those who haven’t read the first two stories in the serial, “A Meeting of Fate” and “Life of the Party”.**

BLURB

You think you know the story of Dorian Gray, but you’re wrong. The real story didn’t end the way Oscar Wilde penned; in fact, it hasn’t ended at all. The ageless beauty of Dorian Gray walks now in our world of cellphones and lattes and internet porn. His latest conquest is Gabriel Lawrence, a paranormal investigator with a secret or two of his own. But the trouble with a life as long as Dorian’s is that the skeletons are threatening to overrun the closet… and not all of them want to stay dead.

Season 1: Overture introduces Gabriel to the truth of a world he had only suspected, where ghost hunting is the least of his worries. And at the heart of it all is the mysterious and fascinating Dorian Gray, as though he’d stepped out of the pages of the book bearing his name. But if he has, he hasn’t come through alone. And this figure from a past Dorian had though long behind him bears a grudge nurtured for a hundred years and intends to tear down everything Dorian has built, a piece at a time.

Episode 3: Ghost in the Closet
The aftermath of Dorian’s party leaves Gabriel and Michael reeling, and both become more determined than ever to wring some answers from this so-called ‘Dorian Gray’. Dorian’s continued hedging, though, pushes Michael beyond his limits, forcing him to reveal his presence. But what he could never have predicted is that Dorian isn’t at all surprised…

REVIEW

This third part of the Immortal Symphony serial is definitely the part of the story that I was waiting for. The dynamic between Gabriel, Michael and Dorian changes quite drastically after the second story, where Gabriel partook in the casual drug use and orgiastic (very public) pleasures in celebration of Dorian’s birthday. But what is a common evening of debauchery for Dorian is quite honestly uncomfortably hedonistic to Gabriel. Always the good boy in comparison to his twin brother Michael’s more outlandish actions, this story shows more than ever before how the addition of Dorian to the brothers’ lives has had an affect on them. Gabriel, who has always had trouble letting loose and giving up control to participate in the kinds of things like Dorian’s sex party, finds that he quite likes forcing himself to explore new opportunities and experience life in a more hedonistic way. Michael’s whole existence, however, is a testament to the partying lifestyle of excess drugs and sex, one which ultimately cost him his life. Seeing his brothers actions hits Michael the hardest. This drives a firm wedge between Michael and Dorian, and when Gabriel doesn’t seem as upset at Dorian and Michael feels he should, Michael decides to take over his brothers body and show Dorian his displeasure. The resulting confrontation between the two pushes open the door to Dorian’s secrets, until they start spilling out into the light.

While I liked this story even more than the first two — specifically because we’re starting to get some real answers — I’m still very of two minds about this series and the characters. First, I really adore the writing of Dorian’s character, but I don’t actually like Dorian at all. I say that I really adore the writing of him because I’ve suspected all along that my emotions are purposefully being manipulated as far as how I feel about him. He’s really not likable at all except in that pre-karma way, the “he’s going to get what’s coming to him” way, whether that be literal or the satisfaction of watching him start to have real feelings for someone. That’s why I can’t say I categorically hate Dorian, though he does make me uncomfortable. He’s a much more complicated character than that. In fact, he’s the character that really parallels the overall unfolding plot, because the reveal of his secrets drives the plot forward (which we see in this story as flashbacks). These two authors are really using this unusual medium to explore non-traditional romance characters. Dorian is such a big character that his presence often takes over parts of the story, and ultimately, I feel like he’ll be the deciding factor as to where the story will go as it navigates the boundary between erotica and romance.

The second part of how I feel about this serial is that as far as the overall plot and the emotional growth of the characters, this serial is still in it’s infancy, so those things like how I don’t’ like Dorian very much have very little impact about how I feel about the story overall. I suppose, I should just say that while I’m reviewing and having to give each little story in this serial a rating, I’m really reserving judgement for myself.

Readers who buy the Season Pass (all six Overture season episodes in one) will get an overall discount but also some freebies. The first of those freebies came out with this story in the form of a short story. “The Melody” goes far back in time to an innocent and young Dorian. We get to meet Basil, an artist that young Dorian loves with all the infatuation of a boy and who is also a character importantly referenced to in the first story. While the scene between the two isn’t completely instrumental to the main story (you don’t have to read it), I did really enjoy being able to get to see him and see who he really was to Dorian at that age. Plus, seeing Dorian as positive, hopeful and undamaged gives me a lot of hope that we’ll soon get to see a real change in Dorian in the main story as well.

The fourth story in the Immortal Symphony serial is out now!


lifeoftheparty immortalsymphonyovertureTitle: Life of the Party (Immortal Symphony: Overture #2)
Author: SL Armstrong & K Piet
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 15,300 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Paranormal Erotica
Heat: 5 – Off the Charts!
Sex Frequency: 4 – Very Often
Keywords/Tags: Serial, Short Story, Ghosts/Spirits, Public Sex, Drug Use, Multiple Partners, m/m/f scenes, girly parts!
Rating: Pretty Good

BLURB

You think you know the story of Dorian Gray, but you’re wrong. The real story didn’t end the way Oscar Wilde penned; in fact, it hasn’t ended at all. The ageless beauty of Dorian Gray walks now in our world of cellphones and lattes and internet porn. His latest conquest is Gabriel Lawrence, a paranormal investigator with a secret or two of his own. But the trouble with a life as long as Dorian’s is that the skeletons are threatening to overrun the closet… and not all of them want to stay dead.

Season 1: Overture introduces Gabriel to the truth of a world he had only suspected, where ghost hunting is the least of his worries. And at the heart of it all is the mysterious and fascinating Dorian Gray, as though he’d stepped out of the pages of the book bearing his name. But if he has, he hasn’t come through alone. And this figure from a past Dorian had though long behind him bears a grudge nurtured for a hundred years and intends to tear down everything Dorian has built, a piece at a time.

Episode 2: Life of the Party
Gabriel’s first glimpse into Dorian’s lifestyle was only the beginning, and now he finds himself tumbling further down the rabbit hole. Dorian’s birthday party introduces Gabriel to some of Dorian’s friends, all as free-spirited and debauched as Dorian himself. Through them, he learns that he isn’t the first that Dorian has drawn into his web this way, not even the hundred-and-first. And yet somehow, all of Gabriel’s concerns instantly seem strangely inconsequential at Dorian’s slightest touch, fueling Michael’s fears that there is so much more to Dorian than they could guess.

REVIEW

I was both excited and a little wary of reading “Life of the Party.” This is the second “episode” in the serialized story — about a modern day Dorian Gray. He’s a man whose mysterious powers and long life have given him an extreme confidence and at this point in the story, I might say arrogance. He’s a sexual creature to the point of extreme debauchery, which Gabriel soon finds out when he attends Dorian’s birthday party, which is pretty much a thinly veiled excuse for an orgy. Every gathering is an excuse for an orgy when Dorian is around! 🙂

This second story does a pretty good job of extending and strengthening those things which stood out in the first story. Gabriel is suspicious of Dorian and who he really is, but as his proximity to Dorian fluctuations so does his reaction to him, like a drug. When Dorian is near Gabriel forgets himself and is overcome with lust enough to distract from his conscience, or better named, his brother and ghost Michael. The two brothers have an interesting dynamic when we first meet them in the first story. Michael does indeed act as Gabriel’s conscience for the most part, but with his own personality and also wary attentiveness that Gabriel not succumb to the same pitfalls in life that he did before his untimely death. While Gabriel loves his brother, you can see that he often resents him as well. Or, he is at least uncomfortable with his presence. This complicated dynamic becomes even further strained in this story. Michael is already naturally suspicious of Dorian, who he can’t figure out on a spiritual level. But seeing Dorian’s effect on Gabriel alarms Michael further in Life of the Party. Dorian’s gift of spreading lust affects Gabriel so strongly in this story that he becomes a libidinous creature that shocks him afterward. It’s a kind of dubious violation that worries Gabriel.

That realization and ultimate agreement with his brother about his suspicions causes a bit of a change in Gabriel that sets a new tone and a new direction going into the third story. I have a feeling that in the next story Gabriel is going to be a bit more cautious and a bit more insistent that he find out Dorian’s secrets.

For the most part this story carried on the same as the story before it. Though we get to see a bit of a different setting and the characters are fleshed out a bit more, there’s not a huge change yet in the character dynamics, though as I said, this story seems to be setting the stage for some kind of upcoming change. Of course, there are still orgies aplenty 🙂

I’m still really enjoying this serial and looking forward to the coming stories. I have to admit that this story started to edge closer to the line in my comfort zone, but that made this story all the more exciting for me. I never quite felt that it was in danger of going too far for me (it would have to be very, very far!), but there was a bit of a discordant mood in this story that felt as if it was perfectly set to make the reader feel Gabriel’s warring excitement and unease with the sex party and his part in it.

Part 3 of Immortal Symphony: Overture, “Ghost in the Closet”, is out now. Part 4, “Shadow from the Past”, is to be released on May 10.


**Note: this review contains spoiler tags, which are shown only on the bottom of the review and not in the book info at the top. If you don’t want to be spoiled, avoid reading the tag links at the bottom of the post please!**

we are family cambionTitle: We Are Family (Cambion: Dark Around the Edges #3)
Author: Cari Z
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: 19k words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Paranormal/Fantasy Romance
Heat: 4 – Spicy & Smutty (It always is with these two!)
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Serial, Short Story, Demons, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Secrets and Lies, Kids, Family, Gay Dads
Rating: Really Liked It

This review contains spoilers for the first two parts of the serial — “Heaven’s On Fire” and “Black Magic Woman”

BLURB

Devon Harper is a cambion, the offspring of an incubus and one of his female followers. Discovered by those who could’ve helped him too late to be saved from his nature, he barely survived a brutal childhood before getting a handle on his powers of seduction. Lust, sex, desire: these are second nature to cambion, and are their road to both riches and ruin. Devon has the power to bring people to their knees with a glance, to drive them so crazy with pleasure that they forget their names, and occasionally forget to breathe as well. He could use his birthright to force the world to worship him, but Devon is trying to fight against the pull, to do what he can to track down people with the power to summon a demon and stop them before more cambion can be made.



But Devon doesn’t realize that the path he and his friends are following is only one strand of a web laid in place by a demon who’s not content to wait on the whims of humanity to get out of Hell. Devon is this demon’s key to staying above ground permanently, and when he finally catches up with the cambion, he’s not taking no for an answer.

Episode 3: We Are Family

Still coping with the aftermath of the deal with Lynlis, Devon decides there’s no place like home and convinces Rio to stop by Devon’s fathers’ lakeside home on their way to pick up Porter Grey’s trail. Along the way, Rio opens up about his past in a way Devon has never known. Then at the lake house, more secrets of Rio’s mysterious origin are revealed, along with a frightening connection between Devon’s family and Porter Grey himself!

REVIEW

Owing to staying sick for about a month between March and April, it’s taken me quite a while to get back into the swing of reviews and get caught up on some of them, especially the two serials from Storm Moon Press, which before getting sick I was thoroughly enjoying. I suppose it isn’t so bad being able to read more than one of them in a row, especially with the Cari Z’s Cambion serial.

We ended the second story in the Cambion serial (“Black Magic Woman”) with the pair gearing up to flee Las Vegas. The City of Sin turned out to have more of a bite than these two were expecting and gave both of them a reminder that though they have some pretty powerful weapons on their sides, they aren’t infallible. In the process of seeking a witch to divine the location of their quarry, Porter Grey, Devon lost his sense of touch for three days. What seemed like one of the better sense to gamble (rather than say, his sight) turns out to be almost impossible to deal with and Devon is relegated to letting Rio take care of him.

The pair flee Vegas to find Porter Grey, who according to the information of the witch Lynlis is in Seattle. But Devon is not up for any kind of mission, so they instead decide to stop in Oregon to visit Devon’s dads. Ren and Emile are an enigma with many of their own secrets to keep. They’re foster parents to cambions, teaching them to control their powers. But going home only highlights the growing feelings between Rio and Devon and puts Rio and his secrets in even more of a precarious position.

I think that what I liked so much about this third installment into the Cambion world is that it takes what we saw in the second and continues to develop it. Of course, some pretty big secrets come out, including the one Rio’s been trying to hide, but while it was nice to find out what he really is, I liked seeing the developing intimacy between him and Devon even more. Devon’s vulnerability stemming from losing his sense of touch brings that connection to the forefront; for the first time, Devon has to overlook his pride and accept help and seeing Devon in such a state shows Rio just how much he cares for the cambion.

Cari mentioned after my review of the second story that soon after this third one we’d get back to more of the action. It makes sense if you’re considering it by the story. Now that they’ve gone home and their relationship is on much firmer ground than the casual sexual and professional relationship they had in the first story, it makes sense that the last half of this season will return the focus to their hunt of the demon summoner, Porter Grey.

I’m looking forward to story #4 (not long of a wait!) and in particular hopefully finding out more about Ren and Emile or seeing if they play any further part in the story. I also can’t wait to see when Devon finds out what Ren is and by proxy what his dads are 🙂

If you haven’t started this serial then this is a good time to get in on the action, with half of it now over (at least, these first 6 installments). If you buy the season as a bundle you get some free goodies along with it, the first of which was just sent out — free story “The South Beach Job”, which takes us back several years to Rio and Devon’s earlier professional relationship when their sexual one is just starting. It’s a good story that shows them before they change by their association with the other. Plus, it’s always fun watching Devon in slut mode 😉


cambionTitle: Black Magic Woman (Cambion: Dark Around the Edges #2)
Author: Cari Z
Publisher: Storm Moon Press
Length: approx. 17,972 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary Fantasy Romance
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 2 – Few and Far Between
Keywords/Tags: Serial, Short Story, Urban Fantasy, Magic, Demons, Vegas
Rating: Really Liked It

BLURB

Devon Harper is a cambion, the offspring of an incubus and one of his female followers. Discovered by those who could’ve helped him too late to be saved from his nature, he barely survived a brutal childhood before getting a handle on his powers of seduction. Lust, sex, desire: these are second nature to cambion, and are their road to both riches and ruin. Devon has the power to bring people to their knees with a glance, to drive them so crazy with pleasure that they forget their names, and occasionally forget to breathe as well. He could use his birthright to force the world to worship him, but Devon is trying to fight against the pull, to do what he can to track down people with the power to summon a demon and stop them before more cambion can be made.

But Devon doesn’t realize that the path he and his friends are following is only one strand of a web laid in place by a demon who’s not content to wait on the whims of humanity to get out of Hell. Devon is this demon’s key to staying above ground permanently, and when he finally catches up with the cambion, he’s not taking no for an answer.

Episode 2: Black Magic Woman
Tracking Porter Grey means making a deal with Lynlis Syfer, a witch with a gift for finding the unfindable. It takes something special to catch the eye of a woman like that, and so Devon and Rio split up in order to blacken the eyes of Lynlis’ two main rivals. But that just gets them in the door. To secure her help requires a sacrifice that may be higher than the boys can afford.

REVIEW

What a pleasant surprise it was when this second installment of Cari Z’s new serial Cambion showed up in my email. The first “episode”, published one month ago, was reviewed here and was something that I really enjoyed. We met Devon and Rio in “Heaven’s On Fire”. Devon is a cambion, half human and half demon/incubus. He has the power of lust and uses it with deadly precision. On the other hand, Rio is an enigma. Secret even among the clandestine group in which they work, Rio is smart, capable and ruthless, yet with a solid and gentle core, something that only Devon really sees. The two have forged a working relationship over time that skirts the edge of friendship. Rio has no reason to lie about the fact that Devon is charming (though his powers don’t work on him), that he likes him and finds their easy sexual relationship comforting. Devon feels the same. He has rather progressive and loose boundaries towards sex anyway, but if there were one man who he’d want something more from, it is Rio.

In “Heaven’s On Fire”, Rio came to Devon’s rescue, extracting him from a deadly situation involving a pleasure house catered to the grotesque and sadistic taste. He was there to make contact and try to apprehend Porter Grey, a dangerous man known for summoning demons. Porter Grey, however, has proved rather difficult to apprehend, making it out of the club alive and setting off on his own. Now, in “Black Magic Woman”, Rio and Devon must make the rounds among the paranormally powerful of Las Vegas to find a way to track the man.

Cari Z is continuing to draw me in with this serial. The first episode hooked me but this one did what it needed to keep my interest up. And more than doing that by leading us to more clues as to the overall and main plot, and about Porter Grey, it takes the time to lay down the bones of the characters (especially Rio in this one) and further develop the relationship between the two. There’s a lull in the action with this story, to really lay the groundwork for what is to come later. I found that this story was just as much to my taste as the first one, even though it was without big explosions and the action that I enjoyed so much. That is because Devon and Rio can hold the story on their own. Devon is just as funny here as I first saw him, with an outrageous personality and Rio’s secrets and air of mystery kept me intrigued, especially as we got to know him better with more of his point of view in this episode.

I’m really looking forward to getting more of the story! I definitely recommend this one, but only you know if you’d rather hold out for the whole story to be completed before you read it. I’m usually that way myself, but so far I’m really getting into reading this serial, which must mean that they’re doing something right 😉


I get really excited when a new serial starts, especially an anthology serial, I love those. I like reading them way better than reading an anthology cover to cover. The first of the new Less Than Three Press serial is…

rockinghard1_225Less Than Three Press presents the first of three volumes of truly amazing stories along the theme of rock ‘n roll. Authors familiar and new combine for a collection of stories that continue our happy tradition of awesome anthologies. Volume 1 includes…

» Centrifical by Sol Crafter
» Fringe Benefits by Diana Sheridan
» Courage Wolf Never Sings the Gorram Blues by Talya Andor
» Put You in a Song by Lacie J. Archer
» A Haunted Melody by Angel Propps





Next is another book by Megan Derr (woo!):

Sailing ShipLord Vellem is a man desperate for escape. His father hides from his problems in alcohol, his mother hides from her misery in drugs, and his brother fled to the relative safety of the royal palace. Vellem eventually found solace in the Royal Army Corp of Engineers, but still could not entirely escape. Then his brother provides him with an unexpected chance, and now Vellem’s marriage to the young prince of a neighboring kingdom is only months away.

The marriage promises not just a fresh start in a new land, but a challenge to his famed skills in building roads and bridges. But before he can settle into his new life, tragedy strikes, and Vellem isn’t certain he’s up to rebuilding the ruin left in its wake.


Also, the other Megan Derr book currently in serial was updated today, and I’m very excited to get another chapter in Jackie’s story. Poor Jackie has had a bit of a rough time of it lately. Today’s update is Chapter 4.

danceonlyforme225Jackie Black is a cowboy and sorcerer and proud of both. He spends his days breaking curses and locating items of interest for other abnormals. His pride and joy are the alchemy-enhanced pistols at his hips. The love of his life is Roman, a businessman and witch. Tired of living several states apart, Jackie decides to surprise Roman by moving closer.

But instead of being a happy surprise, Jackie finds himself the victim of a nasty surprise instead. Alone in a strange city, with nowhere to go and his world in pieces, Jackie is taken in by an old man who says he is a paranormal detective and could use someone of Jackie’s power and abilities to catch a killer.


To subscribe to the serials produced by Less Than Three Press, visit here. It’s honestly a really great deal and I’ve had a subscription for… I think around a year and a half now. And even if I don’t decide to read the book while it’s in serial I know that as soon as it’s finished I get a free copy and I get it 2 weeks early 🙂


cambionI want to welcome Cari Z to the blog today! She’s here to talk about her new serial at Storm Moon Press, Cambion: Dark Around the Edges, and let me tell you, I really loved the first episode, “Heaven’s On Fire”. Check out my review here and be sure to read below to find out all about the story and why it’s worth it to buy a Season Pass!


The story starts like this: A seductive cambion, a deadly mercenary and a Pomeranian walk into a demon bar…

Actually, it’s not a bar so much as a den of iniquity buried under the Mojave Desert, and the only one who walks in is the cambion. The mercenary uses a more explosive method of entry, while the Pomeranian guards the getaway vehicle. Pomeranians, man: small but fierce. Don’t mess with them.

How did these people get together? What are they looking for? And what do demons have to do with anything?

The first episode of my serial novel Cambion: Dark Around The Edges answers all of these questions, like a good story should, while bringing up a hell of a lot more. That’s part of what I love about writing in a serial format; I can strive to make each episode satisfying in and of itself while still continuing with the overall mystery and sense of suspense. With this first episode, I want you to be hooked, intrigued. I want you to get just enough to satisfy your curiosity but not enough to give it all away. If I do my job right, then you’re going to want to follow this story to the end because not knowing what happens just isn’t an option.

Personally, when I get into a storyline, I tend to buy in all the way. I don’t like unresolved plots (damn you and your wily ways, Supernatural), and so, when I’m watching a TV show on my computer (because I don’t have a TV, I know, what century am I living in?), I usually buy a ‘season pass’. That way, I get every episode, I get commentary, I get extras, everything I could want to satisfy my curiosity, and best of all, then I don’t have to think about it. The season pass for my serial is the best option for those of you who like to know it all, because it’s going to include not just every episode, but the extra scenes and side stories that I couldn’t fit in elsewhere. It rounds out the world, it gives perspective and insight, plus it’s fun. And if you’re considering the season pass, now’s the time to get it, because the first episode, “Heaven’s On Fire”, was just released a week ago. The other episodes will be coming at you on a monthly basis after this, six in all, so saddle up and get ready for a hell of a ride.

Of course, if you’re just not sure whether my particular blend of action, adventure, and hot sex is for you, you get the option of a very affordable taste test. “Heaven’s On Fire” is available at Storm Moon Press for $0.99. This is the one that starts it all, guys: the story, the mythology, the quest. Go on, take a peek into my world. You won’t regret it.


BLURB

Devon Harper is a cambion, the offspring of an incubus and one of his female followers. Discovered by those who could’ve helped him too late to be saved from his nature, he barely survived a brutal childhood before getting a handle on his powers of seduction. Lust, sex, desire: these are second nature to cambion, and are their road to both riches and ruin. Devon has the power to bring people to their knees with a glance, to drive them so crazy with pleasure that they forget their names, and occasionally forget to breathe as well. He could use his birthright to force the world to worship him, but Devon is trying to fight against the pull, to do what he can to track down people with the power to summon a demon and stop them before more cambion can be made.

But Devon doesn’t realize that the path he and his friends are following is only one strand of a web laid in place by a demon who’s not content to wait on the whims of humanity to get out of Hell. Devon is this demon’s key to staying above ground permanently, and when he finally catches up with the cambion, he’s not taking no for an answer.

Episode 1: Heaven’s On Fire
Devon’s infiltration of a Chinese kingpin’s lair doesn’t quite go off as planned, and lands him in a dangerous predicament. Shangdi knows about Devon, and knows how useful a cambion can be, particularly to his partner, the mysterious demon summoner Porter Grey. With time running out for Devon, it’s up to the even more mysterious Rio Pagani to storm the compound and pull Devon out before Porter can put his plans for the cambion into motion.