November 3rd, 2016

andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Unquiet by Melanie Hansen (115-06-03-2016)

1) Absolutely wonderful book about mental illness and its consequences. Descriptions of Eliot's struggles sounded so realistic and were heart breaking. But also Loren had some difficult choices to make. And what's more important, there wasn't any special pill that helped and cured Eliot. Both main characters had to struggle with life, their decisions and their consequences.

2) Childhood best friends with ghosts in their pasts work with everything they have to find their HEA together. Unquiet is a beautifully written, heart wrenching, emotional journey of second chances, overcoming pain, and enduring love.

Unquiet (Resilient Love) by Melanie Hansen
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (January 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634767411
ISBN-13: 978-1634767415
Amazon: Unquiet (Resilient Love)
Amazon Kindle: Unquiet (Resilient Love)

A Resilient Love Story

Loren Smith has been in love with Eliot Devlin almost his entire life. During their turbulent childhood and teen years, Loren didn’t always understand Eliot, and sometimes he could be a challenge, but Eliot was the only one to ever truly ease Loren’s deep loneliness and accept him. When Eliot’s increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior culminates in a suicide attempt at seventeen, Loren is devastated.

Upon meeting again by chance nine years later, Loren is enjoying a successful career as a police officer while Eliot’s life has been a constant struggle for stability. In and out of mental hospitals, with a rap sheet a mile long, he continues to be buffeted by the twin storms of mania and depression. Loren’s love and protectiveness for Eliot are deeply ingrained in him, however, and their feelings for each other are quickly rekindled.

Loren has issues of his own he’s dealing with, and trying to understand and cope with Eliot’s bipolar disorder isn’t easy. They believe they’re meant to be, and Eliot brings a fulfillment to Loren’s life that no one else will ever match. But as they both come to realize, love by itself can’t cure all.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: The Short and Long Of It by Paul Alan Fahey (182-07-21-2016)

1) I loved this book. Loved the writing and the stories. It's an extremely well written, helpful guide on the craft of writing fiction. As a self-help, instructional guide to writing, I had a hard time judging it on the basis of plot. And for that matter, I have never found myself intrigued by the idea of writing flash-fiction, or limiting my writing to 55 words or less (as this book describes), but never mind that. I loved Fahey's writing and his book. He is a very skilled fiction writer and it was a pleasure to read his work. My only disappointment was to discover that the book is not available in hardcopy. I would purchase it.

2) Useful guide for writing short fiction. I enjoyed the exercises and explanations.

The Short and Long Of It: Expand, Adapt, and Publish Your Short Fiction by Paul Alan Fahey
LGBT Non Fiction
Publisher: JMS Books LLC (April 25, 2016)
Amazon Kindle: The Short and Long Of It: Expand, Adapt, and Publish Your Short Fiction

Do you write short fiction but long to s-t-r-e-t-c-h those tight little 55ers, flash pieces, and short stories into longer, publishable work? Do you have binders full of short pieces with characters you’d love to flesh out? Are you dying to tell the rest of these stories?

If so, The Short and Long of It is for you!

Award-winning short fiction writer Paul Alan Fahey shows you how to expand and adapt your brief creations into longer, more satisfying stories, plays, novellas, and novels pitch perfect for publication in the e-age.

This book will help you practice expanding your short fiction. Through detailed examples and hands-on exercises, you’ll learn how to:

Adapt 55 fiction into flash fiction;
Adapt flash fiction into short stories and plays;
Adapt flash memoir into personal essays;
Write a tight logline;
Develop a story theme;
Build three-act structure; and
Develop characters and enhance backstory.

So grab a copy today and start writing longer stories tomorrow!

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Love Can't Conquer by Kim Fielding (199-07-24-2016)

1) Fielding blew me away with how true-to-life these characters are! Vivid and deep. I felt I was in the room with them through every moment of the story. While there was no overt dwelling on setting, after I finished reading, I noticed I felt as if I'd visited Portland, Oregon for the first time, and that if I ever actually go, it will feel quite familiar. As a "character-driven" reader, plot is of lesser importance to me, yet this one is superb! In fact, many of the twists and turns occur as a natural, if not inevitable, result of the quirks in the characters' personalities, which makes it even more scrumptious! On style, the AU's is flawless. I shaved off one point because this book was published by DSP, and there are a number of unfortunate editorial oversights that really should have been caught. I'm thankful and delighted to have read this book (my introduction to Fielding), and even happier to offer it an Honorable Mention.

2) The darkest stories need a ray of hope, something for the reader to hold on to, look forward to. Kim Fielding delivers that here, along with characters who are completely human in their needs, wills, faults and desires.

Love Can't Conquer by Kim Fielding
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (June 3, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1634773209
ISBN-13: 978-1634773201
Amazon: Love Can't Conquer
Amazon Kindle: Love Can't Conquer

Bullied as a child in small-town Kansas, Jeremy Cox ultimately escaped to Portland, Oregon. Now in his forties, he s an urban park ranger who does his best to rescue runaways and other street people. His ex-boyfriend, Donny lost to drinking and drugs six years earlier appears on his doorstep and inadvertently drags Jeremy into danger. As if dealing with Donny s issues doesn t cause enough turmoil, Jeremy meets a fascinating but enigmatic man who carries more than his fair share of problems.

Qayin Hill has almost nothing but skeletons in his closet and demons in his head. A former addict who struggles with anxiety and depression, Qay doesn t know which of his secrets to reveal to Jeremy or how to react when Jeremy wants to save him from himself.

Despite the pasts that continue to haunt them, Jeremy and Qay find passion, friendship, and a tentative hope for the future. Now they need to decide whether love is truly a powerful thing or if, despite the old adage, love can t conquer all."

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Going Coastal by Jane DiLucchio (317-08-25-2016)

1) An exciting, well-structured mystery with a lively cast of characters.

2) This handled well the blend of mystery and characterisation. The setting was well described and vivid. Kate was a strong lead and stood out from the other characters, most of whom seemed very similar. The plot was complex and occasionally confusing, especially with the number of characters brought into the mystery. But the pacing was good, and the denouement was very satisfying. I liked the way it didn’t shy away from the difficulties they had as a lesbian couple i.e. the issues they had with their daughter and her biological father. Otherwise it was refreshing to have lesbian characters within a community and taking leading, sympathetic roles. It fits the category very well.

Going Coastal by Jane DiLucchio
Lesbian Mystery / Thriller
Paperback: 180 pages
Publisher: Quest by RCE (November 18, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619292688
ISBN-13: 978-1619292680
Amazon: Going Coastal
Amazon Kindle: Going Coastal

A client dying on her massage table is traumatic enough for Kate Matthews, but when the police declare that death a murder, life becomes more painful for her as she is cast as the major suspect. None of this is what Kate expected from her move to the peaceful town of Santa Barbara. After a near-fatal heart attack, an early retirement from her Los Angeles law firm, and a change in careers, Kate envisioned a quiet life with her wife, Alicia, and their grown children. Since the client held a position on the California Coastal Commission, her death becomes a media event. Kate finds herself and her family sucked into the maelstrom. The former lawyer has all she can do to find the truth behind Celia's death without adding her own name to the body count.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Tracefinder: Contact by Kaje Harper (320-08-26-2016)

1) Simply put, I loved this. The characters practically jump off the page, and I enjoyed the way the author carefully pulled me into this world.

2) This was a long one. Too long in a way because the story kept going without another important climax near the end. I kept expecting the runaway siblings to return because they were so very important to the overall story. It was well written and it was nice to see a mix of paranormal elements with a mentally challenged character. The relationship part, not so much, but it was okay.

3) I thought this story was very well written and will definitely be reading more in this series. It’s not a book I would have bought for myself and was pleasantly surprised when I started reading.

4) One of the things I loved about this story were the characters, especially Brian who isn't a typical 'hero'. He's very complex, and plays a dangerous game in the way he keeps himself safe. I really liked the way his ability had consequences, and that although he knew his brother and sister had made bad decisions he was still loyal to them. The plot too is very layered, and although the action part of it wasn't the end of the story, the rest of it needed to be there. I found it an absorbing read, which kept me hooked from beginning to end. Looking forward to book 2 in the series.

Tracefinder: Contact (Tracefinder #1) by Kaje Harper
Gay Mystery / Thriller
Paperback: 382 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (June 15, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1786450682
ISBN-13: 978-1786450685
Amazon: Tracefinder: Contact (Tracefinder #1)
Amazon Kindle: Tracefinder: Contact (Tracefinder #1)

What could an undercover cop and a drug lord's pet psychic have in common?

Brian Kerr has spent years hiding behind a facade of mental slowness. His brother and sister got all three of them off the streets and into a cushy life, under the protection of a dangerous criminal. But to keep that safety, Brian has to use his Finding talent to track down the boss's enemies. Although he pretends not to know what he's really doing, each Find takes its toll, and he's trapped in a life he hates, losing touch with his true self.

Nick Rugo's job is to protect and serve the people of Minneapolis as an undercover cop. He isn't closeted, but he isn't out at work, and there's a wild, angry side to him that he's managed to keep hidden until now. When he's assigned to bring Brian's boss to justice, he intends to use anything and anyone it takes to do that.

Nick initially sees Brian as a pawn to be played in his case, but he keeps getting glimpses of a different man behind the slow, simpleminded mask. As the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear they share secrets, some of which might get them both killed.

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andrew potter

2016 Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention: Sweet & Sexy by Jeff Adams (279-08-15-2016)

1) All four of these stories are filled with sweetness, caring and Love. They are worth the time spent reading them. Adventures of Jake #1: This was a super short and sweet story. I only wish it would've been longer to give us a deeper/broader background view of these two fellows. Rivals: Another short story and quite sweet and romantic as well. Heat Wave: Tuscaloosa -- The sweltering heat is not just only in the air but between Ethan and Marcus as well. Short, Sweet, And Oh, so Sexy! Well written and quite entertaining. Make the Right Choice: This was emotional. This was sweet. This was a satisfying short read.

2) Very good stories… I like some better than others, but as a whole they were interesting.

Sweet & Sexy (4 novellas as 1 submission) by Jeff Adams
Gay Anthology / Collection / Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 226 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 22, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1530782104
ISBN-13: 978-1530782109
Amazon: Sweet & Sexy

The first meet -- a shy glance, a furtive smile, or a tender touch. That first connection, and the sexy times that follow, can be the first step in a relationship that lasts a lifetime.

It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s a struggle to find that special someone. These stories by Jeff Adams, together in paperback for the first time, show the sweet and sexy journeys four couples take on their way to happily ever after.

Contains the stories:

Adventure of Jake #1: Jake’s a college student working two jobs -- by day as a theme park superhero, and by night as a comic book store clerk. One day the man of his dreams walks into the store. Can Jake win his heart? He might need super powers to make it work.

Rivals: Hockey players Mitchell Turner and Alex Goodman squared off on the ice throughout high school. Four years later Mitchell is home for the holidays and is thrilled to see his crush all grown up. Can these two create some holiday magic?

Heat Wave: Tuscaloosa: In the midst of an oppressively hot summer night, Ethan meets fellow grad student Marcus. Their initial encounters are scorching, but can two busy students have more than a heated seasonal fling? The heat of July could be the beginning of something that will last beyond the stormy southern nights.

Make the Right Choice: As heir apparent to the family architectural firm, Matt works long hours, but he knows there’s more to life. Striking out on his own makes sense for him professionally, so why is he so skittish about a more permanent arrangement with his long-time boyfriend Leo? The couple, who got together in the Hat Trick series, must fight for the love they deserve and the life they want.

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