Monday, 7 December 2015

MASK is a Rainbow Awards finalist!

I'm so excited to see MASK among the amazing Rainbow Awards finalists! I've never been nominated for any awards, or won anything my entire life - one of the many reasons I never take part in any giveaways or play the lotto. But to be nominated a Rainbow Awards finalist is so huge to me!
Have you seen the fabulous books MASK is keeping company with? No? Click HERE to see all of the nominees.
Elisa Rainbow is one amazing woman! Year after year she organises and manages one of the biggest awards in the MM romance community. Not only that, but the awards she's created benefit LGBT charities around the world, collecting thousands every year. To find out more, visit the Rainbow Awards website.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Snowed In is LIVE!

My Christmas novella, Snowed In, is LIVE on Amazon, 2 days before the official release date! That was an awesome surprise, I thought Amazon would take longer to upload.

If you're looking for fun read this holiday season Snowed In may just be for you! It's sexy, it's fun, maybe a little sad, but definitely heart-warming. One-click today and cuddle with it under the blanket. You know you want to ;)

You can buy it on Amazon or read for free with KU.

Book Description:

Be careful what you wish for... 

Nate has been in love with Quinn, his brother’s best friend, for as long as he can remember. But when he finally gets the chance to show Quinn how he feels, his heart gets broken in the most unexpected way. 

Second chances come when you least expect them... 

Quinn doesn’t believe in miracles, especially not Christmas ones. When he decides to win Nate back he knows it won’t be easy. The last thing he expects is a health scare, a road trip and a vicious snow storm to work in his favor. 
In the end, a cabin in the woods turns out to be not only the shelter they desperately need, but also Quinn's very own Christmas miracle. 

Sometimes, to forgive, you need to get snowed in...

**stand-alone novella, 110 pages, not connected to any series.
** lots of sexual content. You've been warned.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Indie Hour - Nicola Haken

I'm so happy to welcome Nicola Haken to Indie Hour today! She's an author of both contemporary and LGBT romance, and I'm a huge fan!

TK: Hi Nicola and welcome to Indie Hour! So glad to have you as my fabulous guest!
How are you? I know you had some heath trouble over the recent months and got us all worried! Glad to see you on your feet and writing again.

NH: Thank you for having me! Thanks to a cocktail of medications, I’m feeling way better than I was. I’m still waiting for some tests and appointments because I’m proving to be a bit of a medical mystery at the moment! But, now anything sinister has been ruled out, my head is back in the game. Woohoo! 

TK: Tell me about your new book The Making of Matt. It’s the third book in your Souls of the Knight series, right?

NH: It is and, for now, the end of the series, but I never say never to anything. Matt was never supposed to have his own story, but readers saw something in him that, at the time Being Sawyer Knight was released, I didn’t. Several asked for his story, which at first I dismissed because this was an M/M series and Matt was not only straight, but a complete whore! Once the seed was planted, however, it continued to grow, and, now, here we are. I can’t see any other way for Matt anymore.

His story, of course, stays true to the personality everyone fell in love with. Matt continues to be immature, sarcastic, unwittingly offensive, and sometimes downright stupid. I’m biased, obviously, but it’s hard not to love those things about him. He’s an arsehole, but an adorable one! In this book, though, we see Matt Carter is also so much more than that. Beneath the humour lies a sensitive, caring, sometimes vulnerable man. He has some pretty tough things to deal with in his story and he doesn’t always react to them in an ideal way at first, but the important thing is he learns as he goes along. As a person, I think he grows a lot throughout this book. I doubt he’ll ever ‘grow up’ so to speak, and really, I wouldn’t want him to. I kinda love him!

TK: Congratulations on the enormous success of the book – it’s been in the top 100 of the entire Kindle paid store ever since it was released, along with a few other MM romance books released around the same time. How do you feel about the success of the MM genre in recent months?

NH: Holy freakin’ crapballs is all I can say to that! Matt’s success has blown me away and I can’t thank everyone who helped get him there enough. Anyone who follows my posts will have seen that I’ve been just as excited to have my fellow m/m authors there with me last week! I’ve only been a part of this genre for 18 months and it’s already grown so much in that time, which is AWESOME! I’m so honoured to be a part of it. I’ve met some of the best people in it, made some incredible friends, and I’m beyond happy that more people seem to be finding us. Next step for the m/m genre? Take over the world! 

TK: I know you write both MM and MF romance books, which I think is awesome. There’s a stigma attached to authors who openly cross genres, however. Have you been affected by it?

NH: Oh there definitely is, for some people at least. When I released Being Sawyer Knight I had my fair share of ‘this is why mf authors shouldn’t write mm’ comments. I refused to give those kind of statements a second thought. I write about people falling in love. If I can write one man convincingly in an m/f story, I can write about two in an m/m/. If they didn’t enjoy the story, they didn’t like my writing style, they thought it was a pile of crap, I accept that. No book is for every reader. But what I’ve written previously shouldn’t come into it.

I’m of course only referring to a few people there. On the whole, this genre and the people in it – authors, readers, and bloggers – are amazing! I’ve gained so many new readers and discovered some fantabulous authors too. All in all, I’m surrounded by awesome people and I try my best to concentrate on them and ignore anything negative. 

TK: Do you plan to go back to writing MF romance or are you more likely to concentrate on MM in the near future?

NH: As much as I love my m/f characters, and the readers and friends I made while writing them, I feel like I’ve found my home. I’ve always written in dual POV and even when writing m/f, I always enjoyed writing from the guy’s perspective more. I connect with them better somehow, I always have. I tell people this all the time, I genuinely had no idea the m/m genre existed until around two years ago when I accidentally stumbled upon a Kindle Alexander book. As soon as I read it, I felt like I’d been searching for this genre all my life! But it does, and I love it, and I’m afraid you won’t get rid of me easily! 

TK: How do you manage to run your own business – because let’s face it, being an indie author is a business, and it takes a lot of time and effort to run it – around your family and your kids? I only have one kid and I can barely breathe some days, let alone find time to write! What’s your secret?

NH: My secret is very little sleep! I have four kids aged between 12 and 3 (yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking either!) so I do most of my work when the two smaller ones are asleep at night. I don’t often go to sleep before 2AM, but I’m lucky to have a husband who works nights and does the school run when he comes home in the morning so I get to lie in till a whopping 9AM some days haha! Also, I’m not what you’d call a domestic goddess. I make time for all things work related by ignoring all things housework related :D 

TK: Is your family supportive of your career choice?

NH: Very. I wouldn’t be able to do this alone. My three boys are at school during the day, so my mum takes my daughter during that time so I have those hours to do my author thing. She also helps out with the things I never get around to, like washing, ironing, and cooking at weekends lol. In fairness, I’d probably never do those things anyway even if I wasn’t busy writing, but don’t tell my mum that ;-) 

TK: Do you like being an indie author? Have you considered publishing with a publishing house?

NH: When I first started out, like a lot of new authors, it was my dream to be traditionally published someday. But now? I’m not sure. I like the control I have over my own things. I’m happy (and tremendously grateful) for the success I’ve had on my own so far, and I also don’t cope well with deadlines or being told what to do lol. But I guess I can’t say for sure without ever having a discussion with a publisher. I’ve heard good and bad stories from both sides of the fence. But for now, I’m happy and proud to be an indie author! 

TK: What can we expect from Nicola next? Do you have any publishing schedule planned or are you taking it in stride?

NH: I’m not good with schedules! I’m well over half way through my latest work in progress which I plan (or should that be hope?!) to release in March 2016. It follows my new boys, James and Theo, and is worlds apart from Matt’s story in so many ways. New characters, new country, my first time writing in present tense… Also, these guys have a difficult, emotional, story to tell and I can only hope I do them justice. 

Right, it’s all fun and games until the Lightning Round!!!!

·         Do you prefer to be right or liked? Whichever causes the least drama!
·         Superman or Batman? Superman (come on, the dude can fly!)
·         Do you sing in the shower? I sing everywhere (much to the detriment of others!)
·         Are you a night owl or an early bird? Night owl
·         Who’s your dream mentor? I admire such a long list of people I couldn’t possibly choose!
·         Your phone or your kindle? Phone (although I have a kindle too!)
·         What’s your favourite food? Potatoes (cooked any way!)
·         Did you ever read a book because everyone else was reading it? If yes, which one? The only book I’ve ever done that with is Fifty Shades of Grey because I needed to see what all the hype was about. For the record, I loved it!
·         Pizza or sushi? Veggie I’ll go with pizza because the idea of sushi weirds me out, but I don’t really like either.
·         TV series or full length movies? TV series. I usually end up falling asleep through movies, yet I can binge watch TV shows for hours!

TK: Thank you, Nicola, for being such a brilliant guest!

NH: Thank you for having me!

If you want to get in touch with the fabulous Nicola, or just stalk her for updates about her new books, here's how:

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Piece by Piece is LIVE on Audible!!!

I'm super excited to announce that my new audio book has just been released!! Piece by Piece is out now on Audible, soon on iTunes and all other major audio book retailers. 
It's the third, and last, book of my West End series, but it can be listened/read as a stand alone. The brand new narrator - George A Thorn - did a brilliant job bringing my story to life.

Book Description:

Sometimes, to reach the surface you have to fall to the bottom first....
For the past 10 years, Riley Davis' life has been overshadowed by the tragic death of his partner. Fluctuating between alcohol-induced daze, clinical depression, and throwing all of his time and effort into his business, Riley doesn't believe, or even hope, that his life will ever be worth living again.
That's until Sonnie Frye drops by his haberdashery shop, changing his life forever.
Sonnie is a man who likes getting what he wants, when he wants it. He's worked hard to establish himself as Queen Victoria theatre's chief costume designer, collecting multiple awards - and high-profile clients - along the way. Sonnie is used to putting his needs, goals, and desires first, unwilling to compromise his own happiness for anybody else.
That's until he meets a handsome shop owner whose eyes are so sad that they immediately tug at Sonnie's heartstrings.
Seeing something he wants, Sonnie is determined to get under Riley's skin and, preferably, into his bed. But he soon discovers the task is not that easy. For the first time in his life, Sonnie may need to put someone else's needs before his own and re-evaluate what really matters in life.
Will the two men stand side-by-side to overcome their differences and everything else life throws at them? Or, will it all become too much to bear, shaking them to their very core, destroying everything they've worked so hard to achieve?
Piece by Piece is a stand-alone novel. It's the full story of Sonnie and Riley.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

What an incredible night!

A few days ago I went to see Fall Out Boy live for the second time in 2 years. Last year I saw them in Birmingham - I couldn't get any tickets in London, unfortunately - but this year I was quick enough to get tickets for their sold out American Beauty/American Psycho tour. 
I was excited to see them again, but I thought it wouldn't be much different than last time. Yeah, there would be some new songs but overall, it's the same band, right?
Still. FOB is one of my all time favourite bands, so I couldn't wait to see them again.
How wrong was I to think it'd be nearly the same! They did perform some of the same songs as last time, but it felt massively different. It was as if I'd never seen them before. And I enjoyed every second of it.
FOB's music inspired my first LGBT novel - Dance. I listened to their Save Rock and Roll album on repeat the whole time I was writing it and it's still one of those albums I go back to when I need an emotional pick me up. I was lucky enough to go see them on their Save Rock and Roll tour, but to see them again, and so soon, was incredible. I came home inspired all over again.
Thank you for an amazing show, FOB! Till next time! 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Brown butter caramel cookies recipe plus a tasty excerpt

Writing has been a slow, painful process for me in the past few months. But I did manage some, and I'm determined to pick up the pace - and the desire - during the next couple of weeks when my personal life should settle down a bit.
So, I guess I can admit it publicly now - I've been working on a novel about an ex-soldier turned baker and an artsy college student. It's set in Cambridge and has a feel-good vibe to it which I adore. It'll be very low angst but it'll surely make you drool.
Why? Because said ex-soldier turned baker has his own bakery and baking tasty treats is his favourite past time as well as his job! I promise I'll write at least one sex scene involving sticky caramel being spread on various body parts.
I have a delicious title and an even more delicious cover thanks to my super talented friend Jay Aheer. I'm hoping to be able to reveal them all soon!
So, keeping up with today's blog post theme, here's a recipe that inspired the very first scene in my new book:

Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies Filled with Caramel and Peanut Butter


  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 12 caramels
  • 12 tsp peanut butter


Preheat oven to 180C. 

In a small sauce pan melt butter on low heat until it has become a golden brown colour and remove from heat.

In a bowl mix both sugars, egg and vanilla together. Add the browned butter.

Mix in the oats, flour, salt and baking powder. Once the dough has come together refrigerate for 20 minutes.

After removing from refrigerator, roll into 12 equal sized balls. Place each cookie dough ball on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet about 2 inches a part.

Push a caramel square into the centre of each cookie dough ball. You can form the sides of the cookies a bit if you want to cover the caramel more.

Dollop a tsp of peanut butter on the top of each caramel.

Bake for 12-14 minutes or until the cookies are golden. 

Allow to cool for about 15 minutes then enjoy.

And here's the delicious excerpt I promised - it's the very beginning of the novel.

“How hard is the caramel in the brown butter caramel filled cookies?”
My head snapped up from packing a twelve piece box and my eyes searched for the guy asking the most ridiculous question I’d ever heard.
“Is it really runny? Coz it sounds so good,” he continued, groaning a little as the last word rolled off his tongue. “But I really don’t want to mess my outfit.” He bit his plump lower lip when he finished talking, the sparkle in his eyes resembling childish mischief.
I stared at him. I couldn’t help myself. He was so fucking gorgeous that I didn't care if he asked stupid questions. He could ramble all he wanted as long as I got to feed him caramel filled cookies and lick the sauce dripping down his chin.
“Um...” He glanced uncertainly behind me at Chris as she poured a shot of espresso in a cup of frothed milk.
Realising I was staring at him, unblinking, like an idiot, I tore my eyes away, handed the lady in the line before him her takeaway box and wished her a pleasant evening with a charming smile.
Then I focused my full attention at caramel guy.
“I tell you what,” I said, placing my elbows on the counter. “You can have the chunky oatmeal now and I guarantee you won’t mess your clothes.” I slid my eyes down his body appreciatively, taking in his lithe frame dressed in dark slacks and crisp green button down. “And I’ll wrap a couple of the brown butter caramels for you to enjoy later.”
A cheeky smile made an appearance on his full mouth and, God help me, his cheeks dimpled as he tried to contain it.
The woman behind him rolled her eyes, pointedly looking at her wrist watch.
“Cool. Thanks,” caramel guy said, lowering his lashes.
Chris appeared next to me and took the woman’s order. Double skinny latte. No cookies. I hated her even more.

Monday, 7 September 2015

Books I can't wait to get my hands on

Valor on the Move
Keira Andrews

This book looks absolutely amazing! Forbidden love between the son of the US president and his bodyguard? Yes, please! 
I have a confession to make - it'll be my first Keira Andrews book and considering how much my friends love her stories, I can't wait to dive into this one.

Release date: September 9 2015

Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn

I'm a huge Leta Blake fan! I've read all her books and she's an autobuy author for me. I haven't read anything by Indra Vaughn yet, but I'm looking forward to it.
Vespertine is about another forbidden love story - between a rock star and a priest! I'm wildly excited to see how this plays out!!!

Release date: September 10 2015

Kim Fielding

I love Kim Fielding's writing! She usually mixes reality with a touch of fantasy/historical fantasy in her writing - which I don't usually go for and I've loved everything I read from Ms Fielding - but this book is contemporary romance with no fantasy elements. I'm looking forward to it.

Release date: 31 August 2015

Sloe Ride
Rhys Ford

I do a little happy dance every time a Rhys Ford book shows on my kindle. I've read all her books and I've loved each and every one. Another autobuy author for me.
Sloe Ride is the 4th instalment in her Sinners series and tells the story of another Morgan - Quinn. I can't wait to read this - missed all the Morgans like crazy!

Release date: September 4 2015

Sunset Park
Santino Hassell

One of my all time favourite authors has a new series out - Five Boroughs. The first book Sutphin Boulevard was fantastic and I can't wait for book 2, Sunset Park. I get giddy just thinking about it. The UST in that book is going to be a killer but, man, it'll hurt so good!
I also can't wait to see the cover! The cover for Sutphin Boulevard is stunning and I really hope the rest of the series keeps up with the trend.

Release date: December 2015

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Throwback Thursday - Dance

I haven't written in a while - school's still out for the summer and I can't find time or concentration to write - and honestly, I'm already itching to! Kids are going back to school on Monday so yay!!! to writing again.
I've been feeling a bit melancholic lately, looking back to my older works, thinking of the time I was writing them and how it felt. It's weird how every book comes with its own unique set of feelings and emotions. 
Anyway, I've decided to revisit Dance this Thursday and post some of my favourite moments.

Monday, 31 August 2015

I've been quiet.... Oh, so quiet....

So, yeah, I haven't been blogging or posting too much on social media lately. There's no dramatic reason behind it, really. It's summer and there's no school for the kids, and I'm kinda busy trying to keep my 8 year-old entertained.
At first, I felt like I was slacking, ignoring all my deadlines and upcoming projects. I had a persisting migraine for over a week, trying to figure out how to juggle my kid, my writing and everything else I have going on.

In the end, I had to admit I can't handle everything at once. I need to get rid of the constant guilt - if I'm working while my son is at home, bored out of his mind, I feel guilty. If I spend time with him doing fun stuff all day, I feel guilty for not working. It's catch 22, I guess.
That couldn't go on for much longer before my head exploded. So I let go of the guilt, and like a light switch turned on in my head, my migraine was gone.
My kid and I did some awesome stuff during the summer. We went to the theatre, to the cinema, cycled in the park, played tourists in London and had picnics in the park.
We also found new hobbies - gardening, baking and drawing! I suck majorly at all of those activities and yet I've always been fascinated by them. It was time to do things properly and learn.


Armed with know-how books, the proper equipment and determination, we tackled our new hobbies one by one and had so much fun doing it. Our garden is equipped with a greenhouse now and we have planted a ton of vegetable, herb and flower seeds for next year. We also made so many cakes and cookies that our friends and neighbours had to help with eating them all. And, our paintings found new homes and are currently hanging on friends and family's walls. 
Most importantly, we spent time together and had fun. How could I have been so stupid to think that working was more important than my kid is beyond me.
Anyway, the point of all this is that I've come to realise that while I do love writing and I do love connecting with readers and releasing new books, I can't go on feeling guilty for every second I'm doing something for fun instead of writing. I intend to keep up with my new hobbies even after the summer, and if my son wants to go do something fun after school, I'm not going to say 'no' anymore.
And who knows? Maybe that will make me more productive. After all, feeling at peace with your own self makes miracles happen ;)
Till next time!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Indie Hour - Varian Krylov

It's my immense pleasure to welcome Varian Krylov to Indie Hour today!
Varian is an indie author and photographer, and I'm a huge fan of her work. He latest novel, Transmundo: Escape is out now on Amazon. I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of the book and it's amazing! If you want to check out my review, where I gush about Varian's awesome book, click HERE

Hey, Varian. I’m very excited to have you over at my blog and ask you a few questions. Everyone knows I’m a huge fan of your work – both as an author and a photographer – and I’m glad my readers will get to know you a bit better, too.

Thank you Teodora! And thank you for the kind invitation. I'm happy to be here and have a chance to talk with you and your readers.

Your writing is beautiful and it’s always felt very personal to me. As if you’ve gone through what your characters are going through. How personal are your books – your stories, your characters – to you? How much of yourself do you put in a book?

What a lovely compliment, thank you. I don't think I'd know how to write a story that didn't feel deeply personal to me, though I admit I haven´t been through any of the harrowing things I put my protagonists through. I tend to write pretty high-stakes plots, where characters' well-being, freedom, even their lives are in peril. But even though I've never had to survive a war, or a kidnapping, or an apocalypse, or go up against human traffickers, when I'm writing how a character acts or reacts in a certain moment of danger or confrontation, I tap into the emotions we've all experienced. The dread that something bad is about to happen, self-doubt about rising to the occasion and doing the right thing, even when it's painful or scary. Fear the person you love won't love you back, or that you'll accidentally hurt the person who's trusted you with their love. And the euphoria of falling for someone amazing, and knowing they're falling for you, too.
Did you choose the genre you’re writing in or did it chose you?

I suppose it chose me. I'm more or less constantly dreaming up characters, scenarios, and stories, and the ones that take over my imagination and don't leave me time to dwell on others are the ones I write. If there are writers out there who choose genres or tropes based on how popular they are, I have no idea how they do it. If I don't get the little chest cramp that hits when a moment between two characters cuts me to the quick, I couldn't write their story. I'm just not that disciplined.

I’m very curious about your writing process. Can you describe a typical writing day for you? Any strange habits or quirks?

My process varies drastically from book to book. The moment I started writing Dangerously Happy, the novel just spilled out of me. I couldn't stop it. I woke up in the morning, wrote for a couple of hours “at home” (I'd just ended a long relationship and was slowly migrating from Amsterdam to Barcelona, so I was drifting from place to place), then head over to a cafe and work for a few more hours, then another cafe, then home, then a bar. All I did for four weeks was write. Bad Things took a bit more effort, and there was a lot more stopping and starting and stalling. Trasmundo: Escape was pretty different, for me, because it's the first book in a trilogy, and as I was writing, I kept thinking of scenes for the second book, Trasmundo: Exile. So I was popping back and forth between the two novels. Escape also involved a bit more research than my previous books. In particular, one book I read about the civil war in Yugoslavia inspired certain scenes and interactions. So, I'd read a chapter of The Bosnia List by Kenan Trebincevic in the morning, then get to writing.
 Maybe the one constant quirk is, I create a unique playlist for each new novel, and listen to it almost exclusively during the weeks or months of writing. The right songs evoke a certain mood, and catalyse the whole process, from daydreaming the characters and scenes I'll eventually commit to the page, to wrestling the words into order and refining through the editing process.

Your latest book, Transmundo: Escape, is the first book in a brand new series. I personally found it very different to your previous two mm romance books. What inspired it?

Oh, that's always a tricky question. Inspiration is so convoluted. But I always start from the kernel of a single encounter between two people, a moment of tension, often of danger and fear. In this case, it was the idea of a young, frightened man in the captivity of an enemy soldier. I like putting people together in situations where they ought to mistrust and fear each other, because for me, it's then all the more poignant when they get past those obstacles and start to care for each other.
In the case of this novel, from that initial inspiration, I started pondering why they were there, what the war was about. I'm certainly no history expert, but in my academic life I dabble in connections between literature and politics, and historical patterns and cycles fascinate me. I started thinking about the sad repetition of genocides and ethnic cleansing that happened in so many different parts of the world in the twentieth century. Of course the Holocaust is the most often discussed example, but there was also the Armenian genocide, Cambodia, Rwanda, Yugoslavia. And obviously all of these conflicts had their unique set of circumstances, complicated histories. But on a fundamental level, what happens again and again is, one person or a few people occupying positions of authority exploit the tensions, fears and frustrations of a population and use the energy and anger they whip up as a means to their own ends, which never benefit the general population. People die. Families are destroyed. Countries collapse in disaster.

I also wanted to set the story of two young men falling in love in a part of the world where it is still dangerous to be anything but cis and straight. Of course, even in countries that have adopted equality policies and where LGBT people have legal protections, there´s still further to go. But in the wake of big victories like marriage equality happening in Ireland and the U.S. these past months, it´s tempting to forget that in other places, police publicly beat same-sex couples with impunity.

When can we expect the rest of the series to come out? I’m very impatient to find out more about Tarik and Luka.

Well, I hate to make promises, but the second book is more than half written (and already longer than the first book).

Your covers are always gorgeous! I won’t hide the fact that the first thing that attracted me to the first book I ever read of yours – Dangerously Happy – was the cover. How important is the cover for you, both as an author and as a reader?

As a reader, I seldom notice the cover, because I'm usually after a book I've already decided to read, either because it was recommended by someone whose tastes are in line with my own, or because a book is on my “must read before I die,” list. The list is long, and life is short.
As an author, though, a cover is immensely important to me. Of course, I always hope a cover will do just what it did with you: attract and interest a potential reader enough that they give my writing a chance. And, it's also important to me on a personal level. When I see the image that represents the story I've poured myself into, I want it to be a reflection of those characters and what they go through together.

You used one of your own images for the cover of Transmundo, and I must say I absolutely love it. How did you get into photography? Was it spur of the moment thing or did you have some previous experience?

Writing is my first and most enduring obsession, but I've always needed visual creative expression, too. I had a period of painting (abstracts in oil), I dabbled in filmmaking for a couple years, but primarily as a writer and director, not a camera operator. The impulse to jump into photography was prompted by my desperation and frustration with finding good photos for m/m novels, and by the photographer who shot the cover images for Dangerously Happy and Bad Things. I admire her work so much, and thought rather than feeling envious of what she was achieving, I should take a shot at it for myself.

Your photos are stunning! There’s a certain sensual energy pouring out of them and I’m addicted to browsing your photography page for no reason. How do you find models who are willing to bare so much in front of the camera, and to look so affectionate with each other?

Believe me, there were months and months of trying to find models for m/m shoots, and in the meantime I did a few solo shoots. When I finally found two models up for a “couple” session, I was ridiculously nervous, and couldn't quite imagine how I was going to direct these two strangers who'd just met, to act like they were in love and turned on and into each other, especially because Sean was so young (just eighteen) and only spoke English, while Gerard only spoke Spanish. But I somehow managed to communicate with them both, and honestly, they just went for it, and all I had to do was shoot. They were awesome, and all the models since have been, too.

What can we expect from Varian next? Any other talent you’re hiding?

All I can say is, trust me, you don't want to hear me sing.

Right, it’s all fun and games until the Lightning Round!!!!

·                     Do you prefer to be right or liked? Ouch! That's a hard one. I admit, I need to be right and be liked. I'll find a way to make it work. If it's impossible, I'll weigh how important the particular person or people are, who might me alienated by my rightness, and decide whether or not they mean more to me than my ego, haha.
·                     Superman or Batman? As a lover for a hot night or two? Batman. He'd be good, dangerous fun. As a long-term thing? Superman (I don't need moody and damaged once we're shopping for groceries together). As the superhero I'd want to be? I'll take flying over all the cool hardware.
·                     Do you sing in the shower? I'm more of a car singer than a shower singer (maybe I need speakers in the bathroom).
·                     Are you a night owl or an early bird? Definitely night owl. I'm often still up when the birds start squawking about the sunrise.
·                     Who’s your dream mentor? Michel Foucault. Stunningly brilliant, wrote essays on history that read like sensual poems, and had a great sense of humor.
·                     Your phone or your kindle? Well, since I can technically read on my phone, I'll reluctantly yield my kindle.
·                     What’s your favourite food? Anything spicy and vegetarian. Saag Paneer, tamales, Tom Kha.
·                     Did you ever read a book because everyone else was reading it? If yes, which one? Actually, I don´t think so. I have a couple of close friends whose reading tastes have influenced me, though.
·                     Pizza or sushi? Veggie sushi! Love the wasabi!
·                     TV series or full length movies? I used to be such a cinephile, but TV series are getting so good! Six Feet Under, House of Cards, Sense8. I think I'm a series convert!

Thank you, Varian, for being such a fabulous guest!

Thank you have inviting me, Teodora! It's been my pleasure!

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Friday, 31 July 2015

Transmundo by Varian Krylov - ARC review

Transmundo: Escape
Varian Krylov

Book description:

Strange, quiet Luka doesn't live in this world; long ago he took refuge in his art, escaping into surreal mindscapes inspired by his favorite painters. In the beautifully monstrous realms of his imagination, he is safe from the pain of his losses: his family, his friends, his hope. 

Until war breaks out, and he is forced to flee the only home he's known since he was thirteen. 

Captured by an enemy soldier, young Luka is marched across brutal terrain, toward a fate known only by the bearded menace holding him prisoner. Quick with a knife, tireless and strong, Tarik guards the purpose of his mission as he takes Luka deeper and deeper into enemy territory. 

When the soldier discovers the painful secret he has been hiding since childhood, Luka fears he is about to endure a new kind of cruelty, worse than being abandoned, ostracized or beaten. Or is it possible the soldier holding Luka prisoner is the one person who isn't afraid of the truth behind Luka's silence and lies?

My thoughts:

First off, look at that cover! How beautiful is it? Varian used one of her own images for it and it's gorgeous! For those of you who don't know, Varian is also a very talented photographer and owner of Strangeland Photography. If you haven't checked out her photos yet, you really should! The cover was designed by the very talented Bey Deckard - I love how he incorporated the map of Varian's book setting into the image.

It's no secret I love Varian's writing. I fell in love with it after reading Dangerously Happy, and later on the sequel Bad Things. Both books had a strong BDSM undercurrent and even though BDSM is not usually my thing, I enjoyed them immensely.
In Transmundo, Varian takes a step back from the BDSM. It's a sweet, melancholic journey of discovery.

Luka is a 19 year old man born in the wrong country at the wrong time. His country is at war, a senseless, cruel war, that seems to have no meaning or foreseeable end. His gentle soul has been beaten, stomped on and abused all his life. Luka doesn't need much - he just wants to live in peace and be free to express himself through his art.
Unfortunately, vile hatred towards everything Luka is - gay, beautiful, effeminate, talented - crushes all of Luka's dreams, however small and fragile they may be.

Horrible circumstances lead Luka into Tarik's life.
Tarik is a deserted soldier who's refused to be a part of the madness of the war. The two men travel hundreds of kilometres on foot, struggling to survive. Struggling to trust each other.
But when they do - it's beautiful.

Varian's writing is pure magic. I've never read an author who could pull me into the story so fully that I feel it bleeding off the page and surrounding me. I could feel every breath, every exhale, every shiver, hunger pang and gentle caress. 

Luka and Tarik's journey is hard - physically and mentally exhausting, and yet they manage to find their way towards each other; to try and mend whatever is broken inside both of them.

I can wholeheartedly recommend Transmundo to anyone who's looking for a sensual, beautiful book resembling a piece of art rather than a novel. The ending is Happy for Now since this is the first part of a series, and I already can't wait for part 2!

Where to buy:

Transmundo will be released on August 6th. You can preorder it now at Amazon.

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