Read Around the Rainbow Web Ring

Read Around the Rainbow: Favorite Autumn-Colored M/M Romance Books

Read Around the Rainbow is a blogging project featuring yours truly, A.L. Lester, Ofelia Gränd, Holly Day, K.L. Noone, Amy Spector, Addison Albright, Fiona Glass, Lilian Francis, and Ellie Thomas. Every month, we pick a topic and then we blog about it. Check the other blog posts by clicking the RAtR widget in the sidebar, or the links at the bottom of this post.

The RAtR topic for August is What are your favorite autumn-colored (yellow, orange, and red) M/M romances?


I’m partly to blame for this topic. “I want a fall theme on the next RatR post,” I exclaimed in our little group when it was time to pick a new topic, because autumn is my absolute favorite season. For the longest time it’s been spring, and don’t get me wrong, I still love it. The rebirth after a long, dark winter, the return of the light, all the beautiful spring flowers, just the thought of it makes me long for it.

But since a couple years back, fall has inched ahead of spring as my favorite season, and to be perfectly honest, I’ve been eagerly expecting it since the end of July. I absolutely adore the colors and I love the fresh, crispy air. I declare soup season opened on September 1st, refill my tea stash, and take every opportunity to wear my thick sweaters and woolly socks. And not to forget; reading in front of the fire.

But back to this month’s topic. My fellow webring authors humored me, and we decided on our favorite MM romances with yellow-orange-red covers. So here’s my contribution.


Jesse’s Diner :: The Terms of Release :: Watermelon Kisses

I’ve read Jesse’s Diner a gazillion times, it’s on my Goodreads Feelgood Re-Reads shelf (I blogged about it here) and you can probably tell that I love it a lot. I agree that it can be discussed whether the cover is actually yellow or not, but let’s call it a pale yellow and leave it at that, right? 😁

BA Tortuga is my go-to author when I’m in a cowboy mood, and The Terms of Release is one of my favorites written by her. It’s has a mild star-crossed lovers feel to it, but without a tragic Romeo-and-Juliet-esque ending, and both the characters are fantastic. I realize I haven’t written about it here on the blog before, probably because I read it back in 2014 when it was just released, long before I started this blog.

Watermelon Kisses was my first Freddy MacKay book. I read it for my 2018 Advent Calendar thing on the blog (check out the post here) and fell head-over-heels in love with it. It’s a beautiful story and everyone should read it, and I especially recommend it if you want a different read for the holiday season; the MCs aren’t white and the holiday isn’t Christmas. Also, the same cover image has been used more recently (Tic-Tac Mistletoe by N.R. Walker), but if you only want to read one book with that photo, I suggest you pick this one. That’s saying something, considering I’m a N.R. Walker fan 🙂

I’ll post a Watermelon Kisses quote, and then I’ll stop fangirling. Promise.

Esmail kissed Amir’s forehead and sighed. They leaned against each other, beard against beard, heart against heart.


That was my three autumn-colored books, so this is where I say goodbye, right? Nope, because I live to break the rules, so I decided that I wanted to do a second one, a yellow-orange-red recommendation of favorite books written by fellow RatR authors. And no, I’m not picking favorites among the bunch; they’re all lovely people and super talented writers. It’s just…not everyone has suitable color-coded covers that go with the theme, or at least ones that I’ve read 😁

The Twelfth Enchantment :: A Christmas Cotillion :: Out of Focus

You know by now that I’m a huge K.L. Noone fan, and The Twelfth Enchantment just solidified her position on my list of favorite authors. She’s the equivalent of one of those singers that can sing the phone book and make it great; I’m sure that even if K.L. Noone wrote a steampunk book with a cliffhanger, drug abuse, misunderstandings, and shower sex, with a guy smoking on the cover (all things I hate!) I’d still love it. 😁

A Christmas Cotillion was my first Ellie Thomas book, but definitely not my last. She writes short historical stories and I’ve loved all the ones I’ve read.

I’ve recommended Out of Focus by A.L. Lester before here on the blog (you can find it here) and as for the reason why you should read it if you haven’t already, I’ll just quote myself: “Britishness, Welsh Theatre, a quiet romance, and regular guys. Oh, and I almost forgot: tea!”


One more thing before I post the links to my fellow author so you can go check out their autumn-colored book recs:

Autumn-colored books written by me!

Late Night Poetry :: Resolutions for an Arbitrary Holiday :: So Far Away

LNP is perfect if you’re in the mood for a second-chances romance sprinkled with old poems read on an answering machine, RfaAH is a meet-cute that features a knight-in-a-shining-armor character, a sprained ankle, an old stone ship, and stupid New Year’s resolutions. SFA is about an established couple, separated by a pandemic (a made-up one, not covid).


And now, I’m done. But don’t forget to check out the other posts on the topic. I can’t wait to see the my fellow authors’ fall-colored covers

Ofelia Gränd :: Amy Spector :: Addison Albright :: Ellie Thomas :: Lillian Francis :: A.L. Lester :: Holly Day

Guestpost

Guest Post: Celebrate Autumn with an Ofelia Gränd Book

Welcome to my dear friend Ofelia Gränd! She and have a little blog autumn swap going on; she’s here to talk about some of her books set in autumn today, and tomorrow, I’ll be at her blog, talking about a few of my books set in autumn. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea? Because autumn is great and older books need love, too, and what other reason do you really need to hang out at the blog of a friend? 🙂

Before I step back and let Ofelia do the talking, I wanna say that if you haven’t read Pine Tree Mary, you’re missing out on something great (read my recommendation here).


Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for allowing me to steal a spot on your blog again 🥰 Today, I’m not here to talk about a new release. Strange, right? 😆 Instead, I thought I’d talk about autumn.

Autumn is my favourite season, no doubt about it. I love the cold crisp air, the yellow leaves, and the walks in the woods. It’s also nice to curl up on the couch and read. A cup of something warm and a good book is a luxury best enjoyed in the autumn 😊

Many of the books I’ve written are set in the autumn, so I thought I’d tell you a little about some of them – not all! When I say many, I mean many. There is something with the dark, chilly nights that make me set the stories in the autumn, so I’ll pick a couple… or two couples.

Hey, I’ll give you two books set in September since it’s September, and then two books that take place in October in case you read this when September has ended.

September

Jaeger’s Lost and Found

The first book I ever wrote for JMS Books was Jaeger’s Lost and Found. To this day, it’s only sold about 150 copies, but I love it. It’s about Archie who’s a finder, only he can’t find anything, at least not the way a finder is supposed to find things.

Then comes Gael, who is a vampire who’s lost his coven. Vampires must have a coven or they’ll die – they’re mentally connected, but when Gael woke up for the day, all his connections were gone.

Archie is his only hope, so they both set out on a race against the clock, assisted by Archies best friend Edie.

So… Archie is a bit neurotic, and he lives in an old dusty book shop, and it’s raining. All. The. Time.

Paranormal gay romance // 28,641 words

JMS Books :: Amazon

Pine Tree Mary

And if we’re gonna talk about those of my books that don’t sell, Pine Tree Mary is one of them. It’s a Norse mythology kind of story, so it might be that or the fact that there is a girl’s name in the title. It’s not about a girl, though. It’s about Hush, who is a pine tree Mary. A pine tree Mary is a forest nymph in Scandinavian folklore. He lives in the forest with his sisters and rides on moose – it is what they do! 😆

A pine tree Mary can also make sure a gun never misses its target, and that’s where Hush gets in trouble. He’s blessing a drug lord’s weapons when Detective Quinn Manning sees him.

Hush has never been to the city, so a trip to the police station is an interesting adventure. He just has to make sure to hide his tail and the hole he has in his back.

Paranormal gay romance // 28,907 words

JMS Books :: Amazon


October

Around Seven

This is about Oswald and Joshua. Oswald walked in on his fiancé cheating on him on their wedding day, before the ceremony, but still pretty bad timing – not that finding out your spouse is cheating on you ever is timely.

When we come into the story, Oswald has been sleeping in his car for two hundred and seventy-three days, but October in the northern hemisphere can be quite chilly, and he’s running out of money.

When Aiden (from Aiden and Tristan) offers Oswald a job, he doesn’t have much choice but to accept. He’s not super excited about it, but he has to find somewhere to stay before the winter and an apartment costs money.

Before he starts working, he decides to rent a canoe and paddle down the river, but things don’t go as planned, and soon he finds himself in the cold water. Luckily, Joshua finds him and takes him home.

Contemporary gay romance // 23,995 words

JMS Books :: Amazon

Soul Eater

Halloween, people! Being a Scandie, Halloween is something I watch happen on social media every year. We don’t do that here. We light candles on the graves of our loved ones on All Saints’ Day, but that’s the closest we have to Halloween. In Soul Eater, we have Halloween, though.

Thaddeus is a wizard and a cop. He has no idea that when he steels a werewolf skull from a black market stall, he’ll conjure a ghost.

Werewolves and wizards aren’t friends, so when Sandy finally comes out of the dark, his first thought is to attack the wizard before him. Mid-attack he realises the wizard is his mate, which he finds as hard to accept as the fact that he’s dead – he doesn’t understand that last bit at first.

This is a favourite of mine because it has ghosts, shifters, wizards, interspecies couples, fated mates, a mystery, and lots of evil people… and it all culminates on Halloween when the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.

Paranormal gay romance // 51,577 words

JMS Books :: Amazon

So there you have four of my autumn stories. They’re all dear to me despite being quite different from each other. Hopefully, you found something intriguing, and if not, check out Nell’s books. I know she has a few autumn reads 😊

Guestpost

New Release Spotlight: Dear Diary by Holly Day

My dear friend Holly Day is back on the blog today, talking about her latest release, Dear Diary. She gifted me an ARC of the story to read if I wanted to, and yes!, I wanted. As you know by now, I love epistolary stories, stories told in text exchanges, emails, through IMs on social media apps, and yes, diaries. I read Dear Diary the day before I scheduled this blog post, and I loved it. You can expect a book rec post featuring it in the future.

But first, let’s welcome Holly back to the blog. ❤️


Hello, everyone! Thank you, Nell, for allowing me back on the blog! 🥰

This month, we’re celebrating Dear Diary Day, and as soon as I saw that day coming up I wanted to write a story for it, but then I almost talked myself out of it.

I write in past tense (works in a diary), third person (doesn’t work in a diary), dual pov (doesn’t work in a diary). And the reason I don’t like writing in first person is that I feel restricted.

For me, a story is told somewhere between two or more characters. They notice different things, they see different details, they draw different conclusions, and to show that in first person always feels forced to me and unrealistic.

And I know it’s a technique thing. Those who prefer to write in first person live in a narrower space (not that they’re narrow-minded in any way! It’s just the space through which they can show the story is narrower) and tell the story from within the main character. Whereas I like to live above my characters and tell the story through the reactions between them.

I don’t know if I’m making any sense at all 😆

The point, though, is that I couldn’t write this story as I normally write because there are no third-person dual povs in diaries, and that’s a little scary. I decided to do it anyway, and while there were a few days when I felt stuck, I was having so much fun!

It’s a challenge to tell a story through a diary. You’re in the character’s head, retelling their day as they would, and a person doesn’t write a diary with an intended audience in mind, so you wouldn’t explain things. For example, I never mention the character’s name because you never would in a diary, would you? Not unless you talked about wanting to change it or if someone mispronounced it or something.

I had so much fun with this one, and I’m very glad I wrote it.

Blurb:

Dear Diary,

My therapist wants me to write a diary to help me manage my depression. I have no idea how it’ll work, but I didn’t have the energy to argue with her.

All I want is for life to go back to the way it was before I walked in on Christopher and Jason. Or maybe not because I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive Christopher for cheating on me in our bed, but I want to function as I did before that moment. Before I lost everything.

Do you remember Lars Olsen from school? I do my best to stay away, but it’s like he’s magnetic and pulls me in every time I see him. I shouldn’t be dating. I don’t want to force my crazy on anyone, but he’s asked me to dinner. He deserves a sane partner, so it would be unfair to go, wouldn’t it?

Contemporary Gay Romance // 9,219 words

Buy links:

JMS Book :: Amazon :: books2read.com/DearDiaryDay

Excerpt:

Wednesday, September 21st

Dear Diary,

I’m gonna kill Lars! Do you know what step class is? No wonder he’s fit. I thought I’d die, or at least puke. I haven’t been as out of breath since I don’t know when—years! And my legs have turned into overcooked noodles. I swear! When I’m walking, it’s like they won’t hold my weight.

When we walked out of the gym, Lars was laughing at me. Not in a mean way. He was sparkling, radiant, and I kissed him.

I know I shouldn’t go around kissing sane people, but he’s so gorgeous, and he stood so close, and… I don’t know, my blood was pumping.

Then the door to work opened across the street, and I jumped away from him. He gave me a stunned look, maybe a little hurt, as I glared at Erin.

She didn’t grin or comment about seeing us, which makes me wonder what the heck she was doing staying late in the office. I guess I’ll hear all about it tomorrow, how she saw me kissing Lars.

I’m a grown man. I can kiss whoever I want.

Fuck. I shouldn’t have kissed him. At least not in public. And I’m failing at keeping Lars safe from the insane.

Oh, he’s texting me now!

He wonders if I want to have dinner with him tomorrow after yoga. Did I say I was gonna do yoga? When did I say I was gonna do yoga? I’m as flexible as a refrigerator. Damn, why do I stop listening as soon as he touches me? I bet it was all in there when he talked about aerobics and spinning and stuff. I nodded and stared at his callused thumb running over my knuckles. The memory is enough to make me tingly, dammit.

Do you have it too? The sinking feeling we’ve agreed to take a spinning class without meaning to? Of course, you don’t, you lazy fucker. Shit, what have I done?

It’s more than Lars figuring out I’ve let myself go and am so out of shape it’s embarrassing. Everyone else in class will see it too.

Okay, deep breath. I’m gonna check Christopher’s Facebook profile. It’s been a week since I last did. I forgot to mention it to you, though I doubt you care, but I told Janet I check his profile several times a day. She told me to stop. Or not to stop, but she had a zillion questions about why I did it, what would happen if I didn’t, how it makes me feel and so on, and then we agreed on me not checking it for a week.

It’s been a week.

I’m looking now…

He’s still with the slut, Jason. They still look happy. And I can still see them fucking on our bed. I hope they get hit by a bus.

1. I don’t have the energy to do this right now.

2.

3. Coffee.

About Holly Day

According to Holly Day, no day should go by uncelebrated and all of them deserve a story. If she’ll have the time to write them remains to be seen. She lives in rural Sweden with a husband, four children, more pets than most, and wouldn’t last a day without coffee.

Holly gets up at the crack of dawn most days of the week to write gay romance stories. She believes in equality in fiction and in real life. Diversity matters. Representation matters. Visibility matters. We can change the world one story at the time.

Connect with Holly on social media:

Website :: Facebook :: Twitter :: Pinterest :: BookBub :: Goodreads :: Newsletter

Guestpost, Release Blitz

New Release Spotlight: Queer Relations by Ellie Thomas

Thank you, lovely Nell, for having me as a guest on your blog again! I’m Ellie Thomas, and I write MM Historical Romance. I’m here today to chat about Queer Relations, my September release for JMS Books.

When I was Nell’s guest in July, talking about my story Twelve Letters, written for JMS Books’ Twelfth Anniversary celebrations, I mentioned how much I enjoy writing ensemble stories. Little did I realise, at the time, that I would be writing a follow-up to that tale!

I’m not precisely sure why a close-knit group of characters spurs my imagination. Of course, I thoroughly enjoy writing about the love stories of individual couples. But there’s something about the dynamic of friends, the way they interact, bounce off and talk to each other which seems to inspire me.

This particular group of six men seems to have taken permanent roost in my head, and I’m already on book four of this series. I blame my characters entirely!

At the end of Twelve Letters, set in Regency London during the Season of 1814, we had two newly-established couples. Firstly, easy-going gentleman Jo Everett and Bond Street tailor Daniel Walters, then gruff Captain Ben Harding and serious young doctor Edward Stephens. In Queer Relations, set in autumn of the same year, Jo’s short-term ill-advised love interest from the first book, Percy Havilland, is unsuccessfully trying to get his claws into an older man, the very wealthy and very wary Nathaniel Brooks, who takes no nonsense from his would-be paramour.

But Percy’s spoiled and privileged life is about to be turned upside down, and with it, all his relationships. The haut ton cachet he took as his birthright disappears before his eyes as he faces social ruin. During this redemptive process, he discovers that this unlikely band of companions refuse to abandon him, with Nathan as his most staunch defender. Of course, this is a love story, with the focus on Percy and Nathan, but ably supported by my ensemble cast.

In the autumn of 1814, the Honourable Percy Havilland is generally content with his sheltered existence in London’s exclusive Mayfair. As a society beau, renowned for his fair and youthful beauty, an object of desire to other well-born gentlemen, Percy is slightly miffed that his personal life is not running as seamlessly as he might wish.

His good-natured lover from the spring Season, Jo Everett, has inexplicably lost interest, and his replacement, Nathaniel Brooks, is far too hard-headed to be cajoled and manipulated into pandering to Percy’s every whim.

But these trifles are cast into proportion when out of the blue, a family scandal of immense proportions threatens Percy’s peace of mind and his standing amongst the ton. Fearing rejection or even social banishment, to his surprise, Percy discovers a small, unconventional band of friends, including Jo, who are prepared to stick by him. And more importantly, he finds Nathan is utterly reliable in a crisis.

Will Percy remain spoiled, immature and pampered? Or can he grow from this disaster to appreciate the value of true friendship? And might he even learn to love?

Buy links

JMS Books :: Amazon :: Universal Book Link

Extract:

While standing amongst a group of partygoers but not actively conversing, Percy pondered the state of his liaison with Nathan with a habitual twinge of frustration. Of course, he always had the option of drawing back and ending the affair, which he knew Nathan would respect and accept without question or fuss.

But for some unfathomable reason, even when he and Nathan were at odds, Percy vacillated over making such a drastic decision. Both men were accustomed to getting their way, and Percy found that their frequent battles of will had an unexpected bonus of adding a piquant frisson that Nathan seemed to appreciate, given the resulting spark in his eye. Also, although Percy would never admit this to Nathan, there was something oddly restful about occasionally ceding responsibility and control to another.

As his thoughts roamed, he found his gaze had drifted towards Nathan, standing next to Jo, both of them listening intently to Captain Harding. While considering his two lovers, past and present, Percy felt that an independent observer would judge Jo the better looking, being nearly a decade younger, slimmer, and with clean-cut regular features crowned with thick chestnut brown locks and smiling grey eyes. Percy could appreciate that viewpoint, but all the same, he could not help but feel that familiar sizzle of attraction as he surveyed Nathan.

Although the same height as Percy, with Jo only slightly taller than them both, Nathan’s heavier build made him appear shorter, emphasised by his dark hair neatly cropped in a no-nonsense style, with no attempt to disguise a slightly receding hairline. His features were rugged, and his eyes, an indeterminate brown, could appear flat, cold, and expressionless when considering a matter of high finance or if exasperated with Percy, but could dance with lights of warming caramel when amused or aroused.

Percy’s eyes wandered over Nathan’s body, slightly too thickset to be shown to best advantage by the current slim-fitting fashions, but as Percy knew from experience, was solid muscle beneath the covering cloth. Nathan was widely admired as having a very fine seat on a horse, and he practiced this exercise daily on Rotten Row, hours before the polite crowds came to trot and dawdle and chat.

This constant discipline resulted in those magnificent thighs that Percy now beheld and could enthusiastically vouch for their undoubted stamina. With a little shiver of appreciation, Percy’s focus moved towards Nathan’s face, now looking at him with undisguised amusement.

Before turning back to answer a query from Jo, Nathan favoured Percy with a salacious wink and a distinctly wicked grin.

Given this encouragement, especially as Percy had been thoroughly distracted by idle speculations about thighs for the remainder of the evening, when in Nathan’s carriage after the party, Percy was distinctly disappointed when Nathan mentioned dropping him off at Mount Street.

“Can’t I come home with you?” Percy protested.

“I have an early engagement tomorrow morning,” Nathan explained calmly.

Percy batted his eyelashes and delivered his prettiest pout, sliding his hand onto Nathan’s temptingly rock-hard upper leg. “Please?” He entreated.

Nathan retorted, “You are the most incorrigible hussy!” But as the carriage passed the end of Percy’s street, Nathan did not give the order to stop, and as they bowled along the street-lit roads of St. James’, Percy could see he was smiling.

Bio:

Ellie Thomas lives by the sea. She comes from a teaching background and goes for long seaside walks where she daydreams about history. She is a voracious reader especially about anything historical. She mainly writes historical gay romance.

Ellie also writes historical erotic romance as L. E. Thomas.

Website: https://elliethomasromance.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elliethomasauthor/
Twitter: @e_thomas_author
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19835510.Ellie_Thomas
Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/ellie-thomas

Writing Update

Writing Update

“But I thought it’d be a good thing to bring [writing updates] back to the blog, and my plan is to post about it once a month.” Quote from my last writing update post…in March 🙈

That didn’t go as planned.

But the reason isn’t that I’ve been lazy or forgetful, the reason is that I haven’t written anything. Oh, I’ve tried. I have at least five documents with started story ideas that got discarded when nothing felt right. I’ve been too busy to have the peace of mind to write something, some days I’ve been too busy to breathe. So I had to scrap one grand writing plan after the other, I had to pull out of the 12th anniversary celebration over at JMS Books. But the thought of having to pull out of the advent calendar, too, made me mad.

And determined.

So I wrote something. I finished something. I submitted something. And it felt so good to send the story off to my publisher that I wanted to pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate. But since it wasn’t even 8AM when I sent the email, I had to settle for champagne flavored tea. Not quite the same, but it worked 🙂

The story is called Eight Months Without You and it will be published sometime in December as a part of JMS Books advent calendar. It’s not a holiday story; it takes place in August, but at least it contains an ugly Christmas sweater (I’ll post the inspiration pic for the monstrosity at the end of the post).

There’s no cover, and there’s no pre-order link, but there is a blurb. Wanna see?

Eight Months Without You

Can Sami and Joakim’s relationship survive accusations of cheating, a thrown wineglass, and eight months of silence?

Hurtful words and a thrown wineglass in a fit of jealousy tear Sami and Joakim apart; fiery tempers and stubbornness keep them from making up. But then, after eight months without a single word, just as Sami is about to make the first move, Joakim shows up, eager to make things right.

Can they overcome accusations of cheating and eight months of silence? Are conversations, confessions, and planning for the future enough? Will the love they still share conquer all?

M/M contemporary / 15 207 words

I guess all that’s left to do now is to show you the inspirational sweater. Don’t say I didn’t warn you of its ugliness 😆

Link to sweater can be found here.

Keep your fingers crossed it doesn’t take me another six months to finish my next story, will ya? 🙂