Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Smashwords are celebrating Read an Ebook Week from 5 to 11 March 2017 – and what that means for readers is deep discounts on awesome titles!

Manifold Press is participating, with all of our titles, backlist and new, discounted by 25%. (The only exception is our charity anthology, A Pride of Poppies.) Now is the time to stock up that TBR pile, and maybe try some new stories you’ve been pondering.

Browse the Manifold Press catalogue on Smashwords – or browse the full catalogue of all the discounted ebooks across the site. We’re 100% sure you’ll find something to love!

PS. That 25% discount includes Eleventh Hour if you fancy a copy.

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comfy chair My guest today is an old friend and a person whose work I adore, so please join me in welcoming Heloise West to the Comfy Chair.

Welcome, Heloise and thanks for answering my questions.


In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation or character?

Situation and character strike me first. For Ardent, the origin scene was Benedetto working to make that fine pigment wash, sandwiched between two situations—the death of the master painter and the arrival of a new master, the latter of whom he’d taken temporary solace from the pain of a bad breakup. My old historical critique group sent me back in time to get up to that point—I do sometimes start too late in the story, or stick too long with the first moments of the scene that’s risen to the surface, not seeing that it’s not the first scene, just a pivotal one.

Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Do you have a crisp mental picture of them or are they more a thought and a feeling than an image?

 In my first novel, Hitting Black Ice (contemporary romantic suspense from Loose Id) Hunter pretty much arrived fully fledged. I knew he had a traumatic background and an idea of what it was, but he always had that bubble-off-plumb sense of humor, calling himself Mata Hairy at one point when he’s taken up a bit of recon.  The love interest in trouble was a mystery man, even to me, and readers wanted to know more about him, so he got more screen time in the sequel.

In Ardent, Morello was the less complicated of the two and determined to both do the right thing and to have what he wants.  He was easier than Benedetto, who had to be equally determined though his needs and wants were at war with each other on a larger scale. It was hard to keep Benedetto from being a flake, but I like the way he turned out.

Is there any genre you would love to write, ditto one you would avoid like a rattlesnake?

Historical mysteries are my heart and soul, and I’m hoping to find a slice of time to work on a few of them soon. I can’t seem to make myself write straight romance, but I have a few bunnies hopping around. I have to say I avoid writing science fiction like a rattlesnake because I’m so bad at science in general. I’d definitely be putting the fiction in science, lol.

Do you find there to be a lot of structural differences between a relationship driven story and one where the romance is a sub plot?

Yes!! I got to a point in a recent manuscript, the third in the contemporary romantic suspense series, when I had a very strong feeling, wishing it was a plain old mystery I was writing and not a romance. (I always, always wanted to do the “Ellis Peters thing.”)

 I use beat sheets and structural how-to books for some books and veering off from the romance arc has been appealing lately.  Sometimes I lay scenes out physically with post-its and huge sheets of paper taped to the wall, scribbling all over the place. It’s tempting to follow the nonromance arc and see where it goes.

I think it’s the emotional map that’s different.  In a romance, you’re focused on just these two and whatever emotional landscape they share between them. That takes precedence. This landscape is different in a mystery, everyone’s emotions are important to solving the crime/mystery, how they felt about the victim, their reaction to the crime. A puzzle with more pieces, I think.

I’ve got to get these mysteries down and work on them so they won’t jump in front of the romances. I feel like an overburdened bookshelf some days. Most days, lol. I write slowly, so there’s quite a backlog messing up the works.

When writing series, what measures do you take to keep track of those annoying little details – eye colour, car type, name of ex-spouse’s dog – that are so easy to drop into text and so easy to forget about?

Sharp-eyed critiquers and beta readers. I’m too disorganized to make and keep a series bible.  Thank goodness for the search capability in Kindle, so if I do question something, I can check it faster.

Villains are incredibly important in fiction since they challenge the main protagonists and give them something to contend with beyond the tension of a developing relationship. The cruel sea. The serial killer. The society itself. Your hero’s inner demons. What sort of villains do you prize?

At this point, I find myself wrestling with three main characters who have done something awful and unforgivable, and they aren’t straight and narrow good characters to start with. But somehow I have to redeem them, bring them back from doing more damage to the world or themselves. It’s damn hard. It goes against my own McJudgey morality, but it’s doable because, hey, it’s fiction, and I still have to make this redemption believable and the characters really have to work at making it realistic, too.  I think that’s more interesting and challenging than plain evil. Though I do have a particularly nasty villain in If I Were Fire, a novella set in 18th century Tuscany (from Dreamspinner Press). He was fun to work with. But no one wants to romance him–ick!

What are you working on at the moment? Can you discuss it or do you prefer to keep it a secret until it’s finished.

So, yeah, the three main characters from the novels I’ve been working on and about to embark on: The third in the Heart and Haven series, Nick, is on submission, but it’s bounced back to me once for clarification edits—it might come back again. Nick is…complicated, and not in a good way. He was the antagonist in Hitting Black Ice, but he got a shot at redemption and took it. (My editor liked him.)


The second novel is William, from the Order of the Black Knights multiauthor series, the brainchild of Thianna Durstan. The knights traded their souls to become warriors in an evil wizard’s army during the middle ages. They are doomed to be killers and mercenaries to the end of time, unless they can forgive their enemy and free themselves from the curse and the cycle of rebirth. I’m half way through this one.

Falcone, from Ardent, has a mystery to solve and love to redeem him, like the guys above, but he’s not easy to get along with. He was born in the slums of Florence and has lived on the streets most of his childhood. From Ardent: “Of loving parents he had no experience, Leo had once explained, a man-child who craved the light, but feared to leave the familiar darkness.”

Could we please have an excerpt of something?

In Ardent, Chapter Two, Benedetto wants Morello to teach him to swim…

“Some find it strange to put their faces in the water,” Morello went on in a slightly lecturing tone. It gave him distance from the beautiful man naked beside him. Why had he thought this would be a good idea? “Or their whole heads. Hold your breath and – ”

“I’m not an infant,” Benedetto scolded lightly. He took a breath and sank beneath the surface completely.

When Benedetto rose again, the water running loving tongues down his body, Morello said, “Then on to floating. If you relax, the water will buoy you up, like so.” He went face down into the water, arms and legs spread out, acutely aware of his naked ass, but he liked being naked with Benedetto. He floated there a few moments before turning onto his back and beginning to move his hands and feet slightly in the slow-moving water. “Now you.”

Benedetto flopped down face first in the water, thrashed about, then stood again, chagrined. “You make it look easy.”

“Let’s go deeper.” Morello pulled him a few arm’s-lengths farther out into the river. “Maybe you don’t trust me.”

“I trust you,” Benedetto said quickly.

Morello thought his answer more polite than true. “You can trust me. I would not hurt you for the world, Benedetto. I won’t let you drown. Is that what you fear?”

“I don’t know why or what I fear,” Benedetto murmured. “I think I can trust you, Morello. I want to.”

“On your back,” he said gently, trying not to think about whispering those very words by lamplight, in his own bed, Benedetto spread out against the bolsters. Well, his imagination had ever been his master, had it not? Morello put his arm under Benedetto to support him, and the man did not thrash about as he had before. He put his hand to Benedetto’s flat, hard stomach, and did not allow it to wander. “Gently. Relax. Close your eyes if that helps.”


Ardent from Manifold Press

Cover image: © Kiril Stanchev | shutterstock.com

Cover design: © Michelle Peart 2017

Historical M/M Romantic Suspense

Renaissance Florence

In the village of Torrenta, master painter Morello has created a color that mimics the most expensive pigment of all, the crimson red. Master Zeno, from strife-ridden Medici Florence, tells him the color gives him a competitive advantage – but Morello must be careful. Fraud is ever-present in the dye and pigment markets.

As they work together in Torrenta, Morello falls hard for Zeno’s assistant, Benedetto Tagliaferro, a young man of uncommon beauty and intelligence. Benedetto is still fixed on his old lover, the master painter Leo Guisculo, and cannot return Morello’s affections.

But when Leo dies in a terrible accident, it’s to Morello that Zeno and Benedetto turn for help. And Morello soon finds that in Florence, every surface hides layers of intrigue.

75,600 words

Publication February 1, 2017

Preorder links:

Barnes and Noble

Manifold Press



About Heloise West:

Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mayhem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of fourteen years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.

Where to find Heloise:

Blog | Website | Facebook | Pinterest

Twitter | Email | Tumblr | GoodReads




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Another fantastic instalment in the Shield series, released today!

Anna Butler



The Chains of Their Sins, the fourth Shield book, is published today by Glass Hat Press (aka: me!)


Buy Links

Launch Blog Tour and Chance to Enter Giveaways

Goodreads Giveaways

About the Taking Shield Series

About The Chains Of Their Sins and an excerpt

Buy Links

Payhip – pays me the most in royalties! Available in epub and mobi (Kindle) formats

Amazon.com  |  Amazon.co.uk  |  Kobo  |  Barnes and Noble (live today)



Launch Tour and Giveaways

I’ll be visiting various blogs next week to promote the book and a $25 Amazon gift voucher giveaway. Visit one of more of these blogs to enter the giveaway – there’s lots of choice!

FEB 13 AbibliophobiaAnonymous
Books Laid Bare Boys
Charli Coty
Gay Book Reviews
Jana Denardo
Marie Brown
MM Good Book Reviews
Nerd Girl Official
Novel Approach
Prism Book Alliance
Stories That…

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comfy chair My guest today is a ‘new to me’ author from the US – Dorian Dawes – who is promising a new and unique voice in gothic horror. They have been previously published published in a some horror anthologies such as Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, Attic Toys, and In Poe’s Shadow and they have written non-fiction articles and essays for Catalyst Magazine, Harlot Magazine, Bitch Media, and Glitch Witch. Harbinger Island is their first full length publication

Can you tell me a little about yourself?

I grew up in a small town where the satanic panic of the 80’s never really ended and continued well on into the 2000’s. They didn’t always react to me with the most tolerance, and at one point I was told that the way I dressed was glorifying to Satan. My teenage fashion sense wasn’t that horrendous, I hope! I’ve always wanted to be a writer though as books and stories were my rare escape from that awful place.

What are you reading?

godchildAt the moment, I’m re-reading a manga I discovered in my teenage years, Kaori Yuki’s Godchild. It’s a tale of gothic horror and intrigue, and it has beautiful men batting eyelashes at each other so I love it.

In that crucial inspiration stage of a new story which comes first? Plot, situation, or character?

None! My ideas typically start with a style or an aesthetic, or even a mood. From there the world starts to sprout up in my head, then characters, and with those characters the plot begins to form.
Do your characters arrive fully fledged and ready to fly or do they develop as you work with them? Bartleby Prouse from Harbinger Island was extremely clear when I first met him, but he’s become so much more complex and detailed as I’ve gotten to know him over the past two years.

What inspired you to write supernatural horror?

For most of my life I’ve been a big horror not, always drawn to things that are spooky and mysterious. My one frustration was that horror so rarely features queer people or people of color, instead coming from a homogenous white-centric heteronormative narrative that I feel has caused the genre to stagnate. I wanted to bring other stories into the genre, personal stories of marginalized people fighting against oppressive horrors. I wanted this to be a horror book for the rest of us spooky people who might not be white or straight or cisgender. We deserve to be protagonists and have our stories told too.

Villains are incredibly important in fiction. What sort of villains do you prize?

I love writing and creating villains of all kinds, but I’d say my personal favorites are ambitious visionaries or mysterious forces working from the shadows. Both are equally terrifying; delicious to write about and to read.
What are you working on at the moment? I’ve been working on an adventure-comedy set in space about four cranky mercenaries and bounty hunters hired by a shadowy corporation to embark on a hostile planet in order to retrieve an ancient alien artifact. Their conflicting histories and motivations turn out to be their own undoing and shenanigans ensue.

Put together your ideal team of men/women – drawing from all and any walks of life, fictional or non-fictional – who you would want to come to your rescue if menaced by muggers/alligators/fundamentalists?

I live in Florida, so alligators and fundamentalists are a very real threat! I’d put together a group of intimidating and inspiring individuals. Magneto, Laverne Cox, Carrie Fisher, Bela Lugosi, and Luke Cage.


Could we please have an excerpt of something?

From Harbinger Island:

An awful smell greeted her inside. Some animals had broken in at some point, leaving their little paw prints in dust along the floors and counters, as well as their own little droppings here and there. The kitchen cabinets had been ransacked and old, moldy food left there to rot in festering piles. A pile of unwashed dishes was stacked in the kitchen where cockroaches and worms bathed in their own putrescence.
Dissonant sounds of white noise shrieked from the living room beyond. Veronika winced and struck a defensive position. Yiggie came uncurled from her forearm and rose, hissing back at the noise. She crept cautiously into the living room, bathed in the eerie white glow of an old television set. Her eyes darted about carefully, seeking out intruders.
“Flesh-thing …” Yiggie called her attention towards the TV.
She crossed over the half-turned molding and frayed carpet to the television set at the far corner of the living room. There were at first only images of raining static, but gradually other images came through. She saw the living room from a wide angle, like that of a camera on the ceiling. Gradually, the image became clearer and clearer.
A figure wandered into view. She never got a good look at their face, as every time they looked up at the camera, the static worsened until the image was completely obscured. They were wearing what appeared to be a stained hospital gown. The top of their head was swathed in bloody bandages.
Veronika felt her skin start to craw as she watched the figure wander around the house, hunched over and sniffing at the air. They were a gangly thing, tall and unnaturally thin, and their flesh was discolored and graying, corpse-like. They had long bony fingers, and even longer yellowed fingernails that had grown brittle and curved.


by Dorian Dawes

Every community has a dark side, a sordid past that’s kept to hushed whispers and out of the ears of prying tourists – and Harbinger Island has the darkest shades of them all. Professor Bartleby Prouse is obsessed with the secrets and occult conspiracies surrounding the island’s myriad of unsolved murders and mysteries. He’ll have to use every bit of magic and cunning at his disposal if he is to protect his students after they unwittingly draw the attention of one of the island’s most insidious cults.

A collection of character-driven stories which combine dark fantasy and horror elements within a modern setting. The diverse cast of LGBT+ individuals come from various backgrounds, and the stories examine the prejudices they experience in their day-to-day lives along with the supernatural horrors they face.

84,500 words/322 pages

Amazon UK | Amazon US | Smashwords

Author Bio:

Dorian Dawes is a self-described social justice witch and full-time gender disaster. They also like to write things. Their work attempts to bring a diverse queer perspective into the sci-fi, fantasy, and horror genres. When not writing they can be found watching horror movies, playing too many videogames, or hiding from the existential horror of it all beneath a black, fuzzy blanket.

You can follow Dorian on Facebook | Twitter or Instagram.

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Shelton in Love Release Blitz

Title: Shelton in Love
Author: Dianne Hartsock
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary
Length: Novel
Publisher: Less Than Three Press


Shelton has found the man of his dreams, but keeping him is an entirely different matter.

Shelton’s falling hard for his attractive roommate, a man who would happily sleep with him, adding him to the list of men in his life. But Shelton wants more than just a fling with Nevil. How can he convince the elusive man there could be something lasting between them?

Shelton in Love is told in five stories spanning two and a half years of Shelton and Nevil’s relationship, the ups and downs, trials and celebrations, with a promise, a separation, a frantic return, temptation and a final triumph. Sometimes Shelton finds it difficult to love a beautiful man, but Nevil is worth the effort. Shelton’s eager to move their relationship to the next level, marriage, but will Nevil ever be ready to take this step with him?

shelton in love


Nevil laughed at something the man said, and Percy straightened, clearly furious with him. He suddenly grabbed the front of Nevil’s shirt and pulled him close, giving him a hard kiss.
Surprised, Shelton looked quickly around, but there was no one else to see their blatant display of affection. He was hardly aware of the pain that squeezed his chest as he dropped his gaze to his hands clasped on his lap. Nerves burning, he pleaded with the universe to be invisible and that Nevil wouldn’t see him sitting on the bench. He wished the ground would swallow him up, anything, afraid to move and draw their attention.
In a moment he heard their voices drift off and he risked a glance, seeing them disappear into the trees in the opposite direction from him. He waited a few minutes then, sick with disappointment, rose and walked the short distance home.
The apartment had an empty silence to it he’d never noticed before, and he reluctantly closed the door behind him and locked himself into the quiet, lonely rooms.
“Damn,” he said, not sure what he meant by the word. Without bothering to change, he went to the kitchen, grabbed a can of soup out of the cupboard and began to heat the brownish blob over the stove instead of the microwave, not minding the extra time it took. What else did he have to do, anyway? Nevil had said he’d see him that night, but he never should have gotten his hopes up.
Unthinking, Shelton took his hot bowl of soup to the living room and bit off an oath at the sight of the couch. Body instantly on fire and aching for Nevil’s touch, he placed the soup on the coffee table and sat down, sinking into the cushions. Trembling, he surrendered to the memory of Nevil’s skillful fingers; his hot lips and tongue bringing fulfillment. Shelton could never tell Nevil, but that night had been the best in his life.
Drawing a ragged breath, he sat up and clicked on the television before letting one mindless show after the other numb his senses and nudge him toward sleep. At one in the morning, he finally dragged his aching body to bed only to sleep fitfully, listening for Nevil to come home. It was another two hours before he heard the key at the front door and Nevil’s familiar tread in the hallway.
Shelton’s pulses leapt to life as Nevil’s footfalls paused outside his door. He clutched the blankets, urging Nevil to come in and kiss away his hurt and loneliness. He didn’t even care where he’d been. After a brief moment, the footsteps receded and Nevil’s door closed firmly. Shelton rolled to his side and stared at the wall for a long while.

Buy Your Copy

Less Than Three Press: https://goo.gl/YtfqLo
Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/698219


a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the author

DIANNE HARTSOCK is the author of m/m erotic romance, both contemporary and fantasy, the psychological thriller, and anything else that comes to mind. Oh, and a floral designer. If she can’t be writing, at least she has the chance to create through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage to bring a smile to someone’s face.

Currently, Dianne lives in the Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play.

Social links

Website: https://diannehartsock.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/diannehartsock
Twitter: https://twitter.com/diannehartsock
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/diannehartsock/

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Highland Gathering : Abducted Hearts Book Two

Highland Gathering is the second book in the Abducted Hearts series. It follows the ongoing adventures of Stewart Robertson and Gary James as they prepare to spend New Year’s Eve in a haunted castle in the Scottish Highlands.


Stewart agrees to join Gary on a New Year’s Eve ghost-hunt in a Scottish castle. It’s going to be an adventure, but will they continue their relationship once they know more about each other?

Recently widowed Stewart Robertson agrees to spend New Year’s Eve with Gary James, a man he only met a few days before Christmas. There is a lot they don’t know about each other, and despite Stewart still reeling after discovering Gary’s big secret he remains undeniably drawn to the American parapsychologist.

Gary is keen to make things work with Stewart, but he doesn’t know if the man will be able to accept his unconventional job let alone his belief in all things paranormal. In bringing Stewart and Stewart’s daughter, Havana, to a haunted castle in the Scottish Highlands, Gary hopes to show the man that his work is more normal than it might first seem.

Stewart is excited by the prospect of spending more time with Gary, and with not having to spend New Year’s Eve alone in the house he used to share with his husband.

Accompanied by Eleni, a skeptic who takes an instant dislike to Stewart, and Phoenix, Gary’s crazy ex, their ghost-hunting adventure promises to be one hell of a ride. Whether Gary and Stewart are still hanging on at the end of it remains to be seen.

Short Extract

Stewart was out of the car. Gary crossed the distance between them quickly. Stewart, again, looked like he hadn’t slept. Gary hesitated before catching him in a hug. In Stewart’s touch, he recognized the relief he felt to be reunited after a night apart. Gary had missed Stewart with something close to physical pain, and it wasn’t just about the sex. He missed Stewart’s warmth. And the way Stewart molded his body to Gary’s when he finally let the tension he carried in his shoulders temporarily slip away. And their nonsense midnight conversations, conducted in whispers so quiet, neither of them had a clue what was being said most of the time. He had lain awake most of the night, remembering and thinking about getting up and driving south to turn up on Stewart’s doorstep.

Gary pulled back, hands on Stewart’s biceps, holding him in place.

“You came back,” Gary said.

“You have my wedding ring,” Stewart said, but he was smiling.

Gary slipped the ring off his pinky finger. A small band of yellow gold. The similarity in their ring sizes told Gary that Stewart hadn’t always been skinny. Gary had other evidence to support that theory. He’d never seen a grown man eat so little, never seen anyone get such bad cramps if they ate more than a saucer’s worth of food at dinner.

Stewart accepted the ring. He turned it over in his fingers as Gary watched, before slipping it onto his right hand. Not his left. Gary studied Stewart’s hands.

“You took off the other ring,” Gary said. When they met, Stewart was wearing rings on the fourth finger of each hand. His wedding ring on the left, and his civil partnership ring on the right.

“It was time,” Stewart said. “Time for the civil partnership ring to go into a drawer. And it’s not like I’m married anymore, is it?”

Look out for Highland Gathering on online booksellers websites. You buy Read Book One – Left Behind – here, directly from Loose ID or from ARe

Author Bio

Born and raised in bonnie Scotland, Douglas Black writes contemporary MM erotic romance. Welcome to your fantasy.

Author Links:





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Jingle Spell by Chris Ethan tour banner


It’s the most horrible time of the year.

Smooches under mistletoes and tacky reindeer decorations.

Newly single, Davey has had enough of wasting his love and having his heart broken. Better to be single, he decides. No more dates. No more falling in love. No more dreaming of happy ever afters. Those are for movies.

He’s resolute.

And then Avery steps into his life, bringing care, compassion, and tenderness in his path.

Davey’s so tempted to hope again. But can an online date and a brief encounter turn into anything other than an ephemeral sexual encounter?

Is there a future for them? Will Avery stay? And most importantly, can Davey bear to offer up his heart to the season’s love—just one more time?

Jingle Spell Chris Ethan Cover


“Are you okay?” Avery asked him.
Davey nodded but it didn’t convince Avery.
“Are you cold?” Another nod from Davey, and Avery stopped him by gripping both his shoulders. “Here, take my coat. I’m okay,” he said and unzipped his coat.
Davey shook his head. “No, it’s fine. I’ll be okay. Don’t worry.” He continued walking.
Avery didn’t follow him. “Davey, you are putting on my coat and I’m not hearing another word,” he raised his voice and made Davey turn to stone.
Had he just ordered him to do something? He turned around and saw Avery holding the jacket in both hands and waiting for Davey to slip into it. Okay, that was hot. He let himself follow Avery’s orders. When he turned to face him again, Avery gripped the zipper and pulled it all the way up.
His hands lingered on the base of Davey’s neck for a moment, and Davey took Avery in. That smile was infecting his face again. The pursed lips, the puppy eyes. Davey couldn’t resist them any longer. He pushed closer and locked his lips with Avery’s. An explosion of emotions burst inside of him, and his cock stirred up without much provocation.

Buy Links

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01N6BVH09/
Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01N6BVH09/
Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01N6BVH09/
Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01N6BVH09/


Prize: A Christmas Hamper filled with goodies including a $5 Amazon gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author

Chris Ethan is a book whore. He enjoys selling his feelings for money and other pleasures and is blatantly unashamed to do so for as long as he breathes. Chris Ethan is also a persona for Rhys Christopher Ethan, author of fantasy and sci-fi. He uses Chris Ethan to share stories of adult queer romance with those who need it. Before you delve into his books however, be warned. He likes putting his characters through shitstorms and hates anything conventional. But then there’s that darned happy-ever-after. Also, he likes swearing. Deal with it!

Social links:

Website: http://www.rcethan.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/Rhys_Ethan
Facebook: http://facebook.com/rcethan1

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