Get Yourself Some Love

I’ve been a huge fan of J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series practically from the beginning. She may have been on book 2 or 3 when i discovered them. And while i think Laurell K. Hamilton’s Jean Claude of the Anita Blake series is the best vampire ever set to paper (i like my vamps pretty and complex), i think the BDB is the best series of vampire stories yet created, probably even including the marvelous Charlaine Harris.

Like many people, i consider the third book in the BDB series, Lover Awakened, to be Ward’s finest effort. The brilliance of the series concept — that each book tells the story of one of the vampires and his search for love– allows Ward to really delve into the character of each of her heros. She isn’t bound by the need for a single, consistent point-of-view like Hamilton’s or Harris’ series are, ie Anita and Sookie. Consequently, the reader really gets involved with these heros and Zsadist, the central figure of Lover Awakened, is complicated, anguished, anti-heroic and still hugely relatable. His story is also compelling and the book stays completely focused on him so the reader is hooked. Butch’s story, Lover Revealed, is also terrific and Lover Unbound, because its about the fascinating brother, Vishous, held together well.
Now, before BDB fans pounce on me, let me quickly say that none of the BDB series are bad. Ward is an excellent writer and the world she has created is always involving. But, book 6, Lover Enshrined, showed the strain of trying to maintain the rich imagination and conflict of the series. The story of Phury spent way too much time in the world of the Scribe Virgin (the deity of the vampires) and much of it was, in my opinion, a metaphysical mess. Lover Avenged, book 7, also fell short of the excellence of some of the previous books, not because the story of Rehvenge wasn’t compelling, but because the book was almost equally divided between the story of Rehvenge finding his love and the backstory on John Matthew and his lover, Xhex. This took a lot of the impact away from the Rehvenge story because from the first time the John Matthew character appeared in an earlier book it was clear that both Ward and her readers loved him. Consequently, the part of Lover Avenged that concerns John Matthew so over-balances the story of Rehvenge it divides the focus and reduces the final impact of the book. The book seems transitional — which, in fact, it is.
Which brings me to the new book, Lover Mine. Yes, this is the story of John Matthew, the mute, orphaned vampire, and his impossible, fascinating, assassin lover, Xhex. This book puts Ward and the series right back on track. She clearly loves writing about this man — almost as much as she adores Zsadist and i like the book very nearly as much as book 3, high praise indeed. Every moment of the book is compelling. You will want to keep reading even as you don’t want it to end. Ward orchestrates this book beautifully, introducing several stories that seem unrelated until she weaves them together at the end. But she never loses focus on John Matthew and Xhex, even while the book introduces, or more accurately expands upon, a secondary plot involving the two friends of John Matthew, Blay and Qhinn. This subplot suggests that sometime soon Ward will be introducing her first m/m story to the BDB series and, of course, i’ll be at the head of the line to buy it.
I can’t explain the book in more detail because too much of the plot is dependent on the books that precede it. Yes, you will have to read all 8, but that is no hardship. The Black Dagger Brotherhood series really does cross genres. It’s paranormal but still very contemporary; it’s romance and action. The heros are brilliant and the villains are the slimiest and most evil. These books have something for everyone. If you haven’t yet indulged, start with Dark Lover today. And if you have, make sure you read Lover Mine very soon.

You Want More


First, i should say i’m not a book reviewer, i’m a writer. I won’t be keeping up on all the new releases and giving you a balanced critique. Instead, from time-to-time i’ll share one of my favorite books (or maybe one i don’t like and think you could skip). Many of my favorites will be m/m contemporary because that’s what i like to write and read, but some paranormal will slip in and an occasional historical. So these are just a writer’s comments.

A couple months ago, i read More by Sloan Parker, a contemporary m/m/m menage. This, my friends, is a tough genre to carry off. Sloan, a woman, has to get into the head, heart and voice of not just two, but three men and keep them separate, unique and believable. She succeeds brilliantly. In fact, More has something for every reader. Luke is the tortured, repressed and angst-ridden central character. The book is written in first person so we’re locked into his point-of-view. His conflict with his father, a prominent conservative politician who will do anything to keep his gay son hidden from the press, is the driving action of the story. Richard is the alpha male with a heart, balanced and strong. And Matthew — well clearly, Sloan has a special place in her heart for him (or maybe it was just me.) Gentle, sensitive, young and pretty, Matthew reveals wisdom beyond his years and is the emotional glue of the trio.
While the book is character-centered, there is a lot of plot. While i tend to like simple stories and so am just as happy without much complexity, More has huge conflict and page-turner qualities that will make readers very happy. When conflict gets too intense i have to pause in my reading, and Sloan did that to me on more than one page. There’s also some mild kink for those that like a little BDSM in their romance.
But most of all, the emotional elements of the story ring true. The men have their own conflicts and the reader believes both the path and resolution of each story. If Matthew stands out, it’s appropriate since Sloan gives him the heart of the story to carry.
I would tell you that More is Sloan Parker’s first book but there’s actually no reason because if i don’t say anything you will never know. The book has the polish, depth and sparkle of an accomplished writer. Imagine how good she’ll get with experience.
You can reach Sloan at
http://www.sloanparker.com
and check out her blog posts in my list of favorite blogs.

If I Had — Adam

Anyone who reads the blog is going to have to endure (or enjoy) hearing about Adam Lambert. I think the young pop/rock star is sexy, gorgeous, bright and very talented. Love of Adam dragged me out to buy the first CD i’d purchased in ages and my iPod is stuffed with Lambert music.

His new single is If I Had You, a delightful and utterly idealistic ditty dedicated to the idea that all the glitz, glam and money are worth nothing without love. Some might find it callow, but the young, gay man with his glitter and black eyeliner makes a pretty convincing case for the value of diversity in its myriad forms, and, best of all, he has millions of young people and not-so-young people listening to that embedded message. He just released a new video and if you will pardon the valleyspeak, it’s awesome. Check it out for yourself at MTV —


Suzanne’s Blog

I had lunch yesterday with my longtime friend, writer Suzanne Forster, author of The Private Concierge, Tease, The Lonely Girls Club, Decadent and more great books than i can name. I’m hoping to post an interview with Suzanne one day soon, but meanwhile take a look at:

http://www.storybroads.com

At this blog, you’ll see posts by some of your all time favorite writers, Suzanne among them. Enjoy — and i’ll get her here for a chat real soon.

On Jet, Steampunk and Inspiration


People ask how i got interested in writing erotic romance. The answer is simple. Jet Mykles. Somehow, about two years ago, i found one of her Dark Elves books on Amazon and was hooked. But the real turning point for me was when i ordered Heaven Sent. I had never read a m/m (that’s male/male for the uninitiated) romance and was actually quite nervous about it which makes me laugh now. But, oh my, one venture into Jet’s “over-the-top” guys and i was a goner. I read everything she’d written and continue to wait with all her fans for the next book or story.

If you’re an EROM reader chances are you’ve already delved into some of Jet’s popular series so i’d like to tell you about one of her books that maybe, just maybe, you missed. It’s called Sursein Judgment and so far it’s a stand alone book although Jet says she has plans for at least one more in the series. Sursein Judgment is a steampunk (or she might say steampunkish) m/m romance which takes place in a world where there are judges ordained by the god of justice who can hear truth. I won’t describe the plot since there is a link here and you can check it out for yourself. I will say that the depth of these characters is amazing even for Jet who really explores character in all her books, deeply felt and hugely involving. For me, it captured so many of the kinds of love that one man can have for another.
If you’ve never read m/m erotic romance, i’d say start with the Heaven Sent series. But if you’re already a devoted m/m reader and you’ve missed Sursein Judgment, then dive in!


I‘ve never said thank you to Jet for her inspiration, so here it is. Thank you. I’m a fan and as long as you keep writing, i’ll keep reading.