Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!

Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!
Visit my Website for all the blurbs, excerpts and news!!

Thursday, 31 January 2019

A book that influenced m life - the #evernighties

A book that influence my life

It maybe unoriginal, but the book that influenced my life most is The Lord of the Rings.

I can’t even begin to tell how deeply ingrained Middle-Earth is in my life.
It’s not just that I love to draw pale blond elves with luminous eyes, and that I love swirly floral designs, and that I often say things like “Fool of a Took!”, or “What about second breakfast?”.
No, in fact I think that some of the most life-changing decisions I ever took had a distinctly Baggins-like cast to them.
At a crisis time of my life, I decided that much the best thing to do was to drop everything, including any pretence to respectability, and go on a grand walking adventure. In our case it was not so much a case of there and back again. We never meant to go back. We meant to tramp around Europe until we found a place where we could build a “hut in the woods”. Our own Shire, in other words.
We did find it. And there we decided to build a house with grass roof…

Much as I admire the tall Elves of Tolkien’s legends, I am very obviously a hobbit. Not only I am hobbit-sized, but I am also a gardener, and a tolerably rustic creature. I love good simple food, preferably grown in my own garden, or foraged in the nearby countryside. I don't have much use for kings and queens and complicated machinery (all of which can be described as orkeries, in my opinion). I love mushrooms, stout ponies, and "good tilled earth". I don't like upstairs, and I prefer to avoid being seen by the Tall People on my country walks.

But, like Bilbo, I have a reverence and need for higher tales and poetry in my life. So much of my art has to do with Middle-Earth, I would not even know where to start... embroideries, and paintings, and drawings, and maps, even woodwork and strange one-off projects... I have mixed Tolkien's world into my crafting since I was a child.

Gildor Inglorion - Pencil drawing
© Katherine Wvern 2018

Many find Tolkien’s stories antiquated, not so much for the (intentionally) high and archaic tone of them, but because of their “simple”, black and white moral tone, preferring a more cynical, more modern take on politics (a la George Martin, say).
I disagree on this assessment of Tolkien’s moral as simplistic. And in fact I always felt that his acknowledgment of some villains’ struggles (think of Gollum, Denethor, Boromir, and to a certain extent even Saruman or Wormtongue) and some heroes’ shortcomings (Frodo would never have destroyed the Ring, and even Treebeard was swayed by Saruman’s words, and let him loose, giving him a chance devastate the Shire, and not all hobbits shone for courage and loyalty, and Fëanor, the most gifted of all elves, made such a cock of things that we are still collecting the pieces to this day!) left a very strong impression on me as a child, and was perhaps the greatest ethical lesson I ever absorbed. It taught me to always try to see the other side of things (something that is sadly out of fashion lately) while still acknowledging that there are some absolutes of good and evil that it would be good to treat less cynically. 

Fëanor - Pencil drawing

© Katherine Wvern 2018

And Tolkien was, profoundly, an ecologist, perhaps before the word was even invented. That too he imprinted early on on me. 

While many accuse the Fantasy genre of “escapism” (an accusation that Tolkien himself refuted beautifully) there are lessons to be taken from good fantasy, especially at a time when our “real world” is becoming increasingly and dangerously unlivable.

 Lothlorien Brooch - stumpwork embroidery 2012

Wednesday, 30 January 2019

New Release - Jessie Pinkham - Acts of Service

I am always delighted to Have Jessie Pinkham over here. He guest posts are always interesting and thoughtful! Today she's here with her new release, Acts of Service.


Hello and thanks for having me. =) Acts of Service is another book with a lot of myself in it, which, as you know, makes for an emotional journey in writing and then again when the book releases to the wider world.
I started writing this novella with the idea of Tom as a man who wants to be loved and has a lot of love to give in return, but can’t seem to find someone who accepts the way he demonstrates his feelings. Like so many of us, he’s been rejected on account of his flaws, and it begins to eat at him until he questions if there’s something terribly wrong with him.
The story wasn’t envisioned as being personal at first, but it quickly became that way with Alex. He’s not an autobiographical character per se, but he struggles with generalized anxiety, as do I, so by the end of the writing process I was very attached to him indeed. I’m personally acquainted with how anxiety can make a person feel like they’re too much trouble for anyone to be romantically interested in. There’s this nagging question, “Why would you want me when you could be with someone easier?” and let me tell you, the last thing an anxious person needs is another idea to worry about.
Lately we’re seeing more characters with mental health challenges, which is terrific, because millions of us have these struggles and it’s good to see that represented in fiction. Life beats us all up in different ways. That doesn’t mean we’re unlovable, even though sometimes it can feel that way.
One way of looking at happily ever after is finding the person who doesn’t think your baggage is too heavy.


Tom can’t catch a break when it comes to his love life. He’s not good with romance, as his exes told him in uncharitable terms, and he’s starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with him. So when he finds himself attracted to his temporary roommate, he’s afraid of being called inadequate all over again.

Alex has serious anxiety which make his life a challenge and his dating prospects slim to nonexistent. He assumes Tom isn’t interested in him because men never are. It’s a pleasant surprise to start a friends with benefits relationship, so Alex goes out on a limb in an attempt to impress Tom. When it backfires spectacularly, he thinks all hope is lost.

Both men are held back by past rejections. Will a minor crisis bring them together – or tear them apart? 

This is undoubtedly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done to impress a guy.
“Go ahead, start it up,” said Tom.
Alex took a deep breath and turned the key. Tom’s truck roared to life. No such luck as a fortuitously-timed engine malfunction. Though he shouldn’t think such things, as Tom was only being nice and wishing expensive repairs on him was hardly fair.
He looked around trepidatiously. The parking lot really was almost deserted, with only a few vehicles parked and those much closer to the doors. He wondered what role those people played in the postal service that required them to work on Sundays, then realized the line of thought was just a mental delay.
“You’re not going to cause any damage,” said Tom. If he was impatient, it didn’t come across in his voice.
“Your brakes are in good order, right?”
“Yes. The truck just passed inspection last month with no problems at all.”
It was a valiant attempt to make Alex feel better, and he appreciated the intent even though it failed.
The brake pedal went down smoothly under his foot. Such a small little piece of metal, and it could be a matter of life or death. Did people who worked at brake factories realize how much trust was being placed in them every single day?
Once he had that all-important device pressed firmly against the floor, he reached for the gear shift. The first notch down put the truck in neutral, the second in drive.
“Now ease up on the brake,” Tom said, remarkably cavalier about putting his safety, not to mention his vehicle, in the hands of a man who couldn’t drive.
Nothing happened when he lightened his touch on the brake as instructed. Maybe it was a sign. Alex had never believed in such things, but he was willing to consider the possibility.
“Wow, you had it stomped all the way down, huh? Okay, let it go. Take your time so you’re comfortable.”
As if that will ever happen.
“How about less terrified? I believe in setting realistic goals.”
“Sure. Whatever works. Just remember, there’s nobody around us, so you can’t do much damage.”
“I could drive into a light pole,” countered Alex, not because he was trying to be ornery, but suddenly concerned about damaging Tom’s truck. Those poles were stuck into cement, a material not known for being kind to vehicles.
“I’m not worried.”
Well, that made one of them. Alex eased up on the brake a bit more, but nothing happened aside from a vague sense of power waiting to be unleashed, though that could have been his imagination.
“Good,” said Tom. “Now give it some gas.”
If I crash into a light pole, he can’t say I didn’t warn him.
Of course he knew the truck was an inanimate object and thus had no feelings. All the same, it seemed as though the massive beast was eager to move, and it lurched forward when he pressed on the gas pedal just the slightest bit. He wasted no time in going back to the nice, safe brake.
“Not bad. Try again, and let it go a little more.”
Alex tried to ignore the churning in his stomach and nervous sweat rolling down the back of his neck, and he depressed the gas pedal again.
This time, the truck moved a good six feet forward before he threw down the brake. The parking lot was beginning to spin around him, something which hadn’t happened in years, and suddenly the truck’s ventilation system seemed entirely insufficient.
“That was good,” said Tom. “A little jerky on the brake, but with practice…”
He was still talking, but Alex didn’t hear a word because he was trying to get his traitorous body to obey him for once. It wasn’t working.
Five years since he’d last had a panic attack, half a decade, and he recognized the oncoming storm as though it had been five days. His heart raced, he struggled to breath, and if he’d eaten recently he’d probably be on the verge of throwing up. Most of all, the whole world raged around him, out of his control while he couldn’t even manage his own physiological response to stress.
Never mind driving, at this point he’d have happily settled for not breaking down in front of Tom, but he knew it was too late for that. Once a panic attack started, there was no cutting it off.
So much for making a good impression.

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Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Favorite Series - The Sons of Gomorrah - by Katerina Ross

I am going to host favorite books and authors in no particular order in the next weeks/months, and today I am happy and especially honored to start with a very favorite author of mine, Katerina Ross, and her wonderful mm paranormal series, The Sons of Gomorrah. I love this series, and I was curious to know how it came to be written, and Katerina obliged me with this lovely guest-post. Scroll on for info, blurbs, teaser and excerpts.

Hello and thanks for hosting The Sons of Gomorrah :) For me, this series is a dark tapestry consisting of many tiny threads, perhaps not too obvious at first glance. I’ve been weaving it without having a clear idea what might come of it, but with certainty that it’s something I need to do.

In the beginning, there was a lonely young man who wished to join a famous school of magic, for his life to become an endless fairytale, and a much older magician who tried to talk him out of it. Not much plot, as you see. The idea of shady things going on in such an establishment was haunting me for years, gaining more details now and then but not turning into a book, until another character joined in, an incubus who appeared during an exorcism gone slightly wrong. He was the force that made very vague concepts finally (and rapidly) start taking shape, arranging disengaged threads into an eerie, baroque picture.

In its design, you might notice the influence of Gothic novels I’ve been studying for quite a while, as well as the weird and elegant works of fin-de-siècle and early 20th century horror authors like Arthur Machen and Charles Williams, though I have a drastically different understanding of some of their themes. You might even find traces of Sherlock fanfiction there (I couldn’t help dropping a few quotes because I’ve been writing Sherlock fanfics for too long!). And I think this story wouldn’t be what it is if I haven’t been working with a much sinister kind of books, as a journalist: the Soviet era documents on purges and political trials, which are now published. As much as my series is about magic and demons, it’s about individuals in a big system, and the ways they corrupt it-and are corrupted in return, often without even realizing it or choosing not to notice what’s going on around them. But it’s also about finding peace and family in the most unexpected ways.

"...a wonderfully interwoven tapestry of world-building, emotional connection, backstory and (hot) action. Vastly recommended."

Tristan Todorov, formerly one of the best scholars at the legendary and sinister Scholomance school of magic, was cast out and now travels alone through Eastern Europe offering discreet services as an unlicensed magician. In a luxurious hotel in Prague where he’s been invited to investigate a suspicious series of suicides, he’s about to meet someone who will make him remember the darkest secret of his past.

Will a night of lust soothe Tristan—or will it stir up something evil and dangerous, something he’s tried so desperately to forget?

Jarek slid off the bed, the coverlet still loosely draped over his shoulders and trailing behind him like a king’s cloak. In the gap between the folds, Tristan could see everything he wanted to. Jarek was a better version of him, unscarred, untainted. His erection, rising from a thatch of pubes, mirrored Tristan’s. What would it feel like, touching it? It must be like reaching out for a reflection—and finding warm flesh instead of cold glass…
“Don’t move,” Jarek told him softly. “Keep your hands to your sides.”
And Tristan obeyed.
“Interesting,” Jarek mused, trailing a finger along his collarbone.
Tristan sucked in a deep shuddering breath, but stayed still. It felt odd, letting this happen. Jarek slipped his hand lower, casually brushed it across Tristan’s perked nipple on the way, and then traced a path down his chest and over the muscles of his abdomen. Tristan’s abs went taut at the feather light touch, and Jarek laughed quietly.
“Sensitive.” Jarek stated the obvious. He let the coverlet slip from his shoulders—an effortlessly seductive gesture, probably well-practiced, like Tristan’s trick with snapping his fingers. A slow, crooked smile made the expression on Jarek’s face all the more lascivious, which was most certainly the intention. “I think I know what you need.”
Tristan looked down pointedly and then up, with a hint of sarcasm. “Well, that’s kind of apparent.”
He still felt nervous, but not as much as when he’d thought of being pitied or rejected.
Jarek quirked an eyebrow at him. “Is it? Hmm. We’ll definitely come to that, but why rush things? I’m here to take care of your wishes, even the ones you’re not sure you have. Why not try something new, something unusual?” He leaned in, very close, and Tristan felt Jarek’s warm breath on his lips when he whispered, “Just let me take control for a while, and you’ll see how good I can make you feel.”
The next moment, Jarek backed off, to Tristan’s disappointment, but maintained eye contact, and Tristan felt unable to look away, as if mesmerized. The tips of Jarek’s fingers now rested lightly on his hipbones, almost where Tristan wanted them most but not moving closer.
“Say yes,” Jarek coaxed him in a low voice. “Say you give in to me tonight. It’s easy, giving in.”
“Yes,” Tristan breathed out, not sure what he’s agreeing to and not caring in the least.

Soul Infection at Evernight

And on Amazon




"...a wealth of world-building and atmosphere. And the dynamic between the two main characters is far from obvious and two-dimensional."

Tristan, a freelance magician, falls for an incubus, a Gomorrah pleasure demon, who works as an escort in a luxurious hotel in Prague. To free him from a contract that binds him, Tristan needs to solve a problem for a very influential man, Ambrosius Schwarzenstein, who is currently looking for a personal assistant with a knowledge of occult practices. 

As Tristan plunges into an investigation of a mysterious death, he might find more than he wants to and face his worst fears. Will he set his lover free or bring trouble to them both?

Pressed together from head to toe, they kissed leisurely as if they had all the time in the world. Tristan felt a bit sore between his legs after a few rounds of vigorous coupling, but it was a pleasant burn, a reminder of their bodies united in so many enjoyable ways, and his cock certainly seemed to vote for a sequel. The sheets were a wrinkled mess beneath them, and Tristan could feel the ready heat of Jarek’s erection against his own, a torturous sensation because he needed more friction, more, more, and right now.
“Shh, there’s no hurry,” Jarek whispered as he aligned his cock against Tristan’s, his hand wrapping tightly around them both. “Don’t rush it. Don’t come until I say you may.”
Jarek’s hips rocked lazily against him, and Tristan tried his best not to squirm in uncontrollable ecstasy, or maybe agony, or both. Jarek made his pace purposefully, cruelly slow. Tristan grasped at his back, fingernails digging deeper and deeper, all muscles drawn taut with need. He lost any awareness of how much time had passed, but he couldn’t hold on much longer, he couldn’t, he couldn’t…
“Not yet,” Jarek warned him with a wicked grin, squeezing the base of Tristan’s cock to prevent the approaching orgasm. “I want to savor this. Savor you, while I can. Your face … it’s so open now, so unguarded. I like it.”


The House of Fear at Evernight 

And on Amazon 




"... the emotional charge of this series grows deeper with every volume, as the characters are explored further, some of their past is laid to rest, and other dark doors open..."

For Tristan Todorov, formerly a freelance magician and now a consultant on occult matters, living with an incubus turns out to be rather challenging. Not only because there’s little information on incubi, Gomorrah pleasure demons. Jarek, the one he has a contract with, has a fiery personality and a dark past, and sometimes he’s a mystery Tristan can’t decipher.

When Tristan ends up in possession of an illegal artifact with peculiar powers, he hopes it might help him and Jarek to finally understand each other. Will it be a blessing indeed—or a curse that might put them both in danger?

In the shower, Tristan discovered there was a bruise where Jarek had been gripping his hip, in addition to the hickeys. He poked at it experimentally. It was strangely enticing, to be marked like that. He wouldn’t mind if Jarek joined him, like he often did, and explored his skin under the hot spray in search for more marks of the same origin, but Jarek stayed away this time and Tristan couldn’t muster enough cheekiness to call him.
During breakfast, they always bumped into each other in the tiny kitchen, and Tristan liked it. Particularly when Jarek wore nothing but boxers, like now, and sometimes even less. Today, however, Jarek kept his distance, and it was a tad worrying, but again, Tristan withheld from commenting on it.
It wasn’t until Tristan started washing the dishes when Jarek finally slipped closer. Very close. He caged Tristan in against the counter, one arm on each side of his body, not quite pinning him but also not giving him anywhere to go. He licked a swath of skin below Tristan’s ear, which was a nice way to start a conversation.
“I wasn’t too rough, was I? Tonight.”
Maybe it was easier for him to talk when Tristan wasn’t looking.
It was the same for Tristan. If it made Jarek forget his nightmare, he didn’t mind a little rough, and he had no problem with saying that, face to face. But he had something else to admit, and it was better doing it like this.
“Uh. I liked it, actually.”
“That’s not what I asked,” Jarek whispered into his nape. His hands hiked up Tristan’s t-shirt, slid underneath it, but not demanding this time, just tenderly wandering up and down Tristan’s flanks. “I … you see, it wasn’t … I wouldn’t normally…”
Jarek seemed to be uncharacteristically out of words.
Tristan turned, facing him now, but still pinned to the counter by Jarek’s whole body.
“It’s really fine. I know you would have stopped if I said I didn’t like it.”
Jarek avoided his gaze.
“I’m usually more … calculating. In the sense, how would it feel for you if I do this, how you’re going to respond if I do that. I’m not supposed to be…”
“…enjoying yourself?”
“More like losing control. Don’t get me wrong, I get off on this kind of scheming. I guess it’s natural for incubi, watching for reactions, striving to get it right. It’s part of the fun, doing a detective’s work while shagging. Or a psychologist’s. So I’m enjoying myself perfectly well. But tonight … it was a bit egotistic, wouldn’t you say?”
Tristan leaned in to nip at Jarek’s lower lip, rubbed his nose against Jarek’s. “Hey, it’s called spontaneous sex.”
Jarek sighed like he hadn’t been entirely convinced, but answered with a slow open-mouthed kiss to Tristan’s chin, licking down his neck after that to lave at the spots where he’d left suck marks last night.
“Sorry about those,” he murmured. He sounded genuinely apologetic.
Tristan let out a small laugh, embarrassed to confess they fascinated him. “That could be a way to tell us two from each other, I guess.”
“You could mark me, too, if you want,” Jarek suggested, but there was unusual hesitancy in his voice. 

Angel's Eye at Evernight

And on Amazon 





Don't forget that the Sons of Gomorrah sprouted a delicious spin-off: