Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Well, Boo, Damn It.

Halloween has rolled around once again here in the States. The day when children don costumes and masks and go door to door in the time-honored tradition of trick or treating, ringing bells and holding out little plastic pumpkins for treats.

It's the only day of the year when it's okay to take candy from strangers. Except Mom and Dad will probably have the candy x-rayed before allowing Junior to eat it, because God knows it's much safer to let the kids swallow chocolate with a radiation chaser.

I remember the days when you didn't need to worry about someone slipping a Mickey into your Mars Bar. We went trick or treating in homemade costumes, usually made from bits and pieces of this and that found in the basement or attic, and held together with Elmer's glue, safety pins, and a lot of luck. We donned our rattiest clothes, smeared dirt on our faces, and went as hobos, or drizzled glitter on that year's Easter dress along with a pair of construction-paper wings and wand, and went as a fairy. It was never anything fancy or store-bought, but positively dripping with imagination.

We went by ourselves, without parental supervision, in packs of ten or more, ringing bells and shouting "Trick or Treat" into the faces of whoever dared open them. Our plastic pumpkins and pillowcases grew heavier by the hour as we trudged block to block, leaving a wake of toilet-papered trees behind us in the years of those unfortunate souls too terrified (or cheap) to answer the doorbell.

Ah, the good old days.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Blog Hop by Cardeno C.

I sure hope better late than never counts for blog hops because I'm a little late with this one. So sorry! My only excuse is that I've been very busy this week going over galley proofs for my next two stories and putting the finishing touches on my newest book. Thanks to Give a Rush for getting my butt in gear!

You can find the other blog hop participants here: http://thebloghopspot.com/event-page/. Leave a comment below (with your e-mail address) for a chance to win your choice of a book from my backlist. Happy halloween, y'all!

Here are the details on my upcoming release.

The One Who Saves Me by Cardeno C.
(Now available for preorder)

At fourteen, Andrew Thompson and Caleb Lakes become best friends. As the years pass, they stand by each other through family trauma, school, and the start of their careers. They share their first sexual experiences as friends, learning and experimenting. And they talk each other through countless dates and breakups. Decades of trust and loyalty build a deep and abiding friendship —until Andrew suffers a tragedy. Caleb moves in with him, and the parameters of their unique relationship blur.

Wrestling with feelings he can’t articulate, Andrew spirals into self-loathing. Caleb struggles to help his friend heal, but he longs for more than Andrew can give him. After so many years, neither man knows how to break out of his established role. After all, boyfriends come and go, but best friends are forever.


Friday, October 26, 2012

Worn Out on a Friday Night (After GRL) -- by BG Thomas

So here I am, worn totally out from GayRomLit and I've been home for a few days and back in the real world with 12-hour shifts and a novel due to my publisher in less than a week. Is it any wonder this post is late?

Next week you'll get better, but I thought I would take this time to just post a few pictures from the amazing GayRomLit 2012. I wish you had ALL been there!

The incomparable JP Barnaby and the equally sexy
Edmond Manning (who I got to see in the hot tub!)

An impromptu sexy dancer and Damon Suede get down!
ME and the sexy dancer!
I hated taking this picture (NOT!)

Me and JP again (she is HOT!)
Look at me with one of the nicest people I've ever met.
The and awesome Aurore Rose.
TJ Klune and Eric Arvin (note the hickies)

Me and Sue Brown
We started right around the same time and I was
deeply moved and affected by finally meeting her!
Two wonderful ladies who have helped my dreams come true.
The amazing Julianne Bentley -- I adore her!
And Ariel Tachna! Oh oh oh!
Two people who have helped me believe in myself.
Sunset over the desert on the last night.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Most WonderGhoul Time... (T.C. Blue loves Halloween!)

I could totally say something here about GRL, but BG and Kiernan have already done that extremely well, so I'll simply say that their accounts were entirely accurate and much fun was had in Albuquerque by me, as well. *grins* I even opened myself to complete (and public!) humiliation by 'singing' karaoke! (Those who weren't at GRL this year can be glad to have missed that particular debacle. *nodnod*) So GRL is what I won't be talking about today. I won't even apologize for flaking on posting last Thursday due to GRL events and such, as well as lack of time. *rueful grin*

Instead of any of that (haha!) I'm going to talk about Halloween, which is -- hands down -- my favorite holiday of the year. I LOVE IT! It's fun, festive, colorful, and has a very colorful history. That history is also not what I'll be talking about. Maybe next year. *hee* THIS year, it's all about the vampires for me! Vampire movies, to be more specific.

So yesterday (Wednesday), I was feeling kind of sick (still am, thanks to this lovely cold I picked up in New Mexico) and also a wee bit out of sorts, likely due to it being late October with temperatures in the mid-seventies where I live. This does not seem like the sort of weather I recall from when I was a kid. Of course, that doesn't stop it from being only a week away from the bestest holiday ever, right? RIGHT!

Being a bit under the weather (no pun intended :P), I spent a while cruising around on Netflix, seeing what was available to get me in the Halloween-y mood, since the temperature outside wasn't doing the trick, and I was actually quite amused by some of the movies I came across. Many are new to me (and I now have a whole list of those), but there were a few that have me feeling downright nostalgic.

Anybody remember Dracula - Dead and Loving It? How about Rockula? From Dusk Till Dawn, and Queen of the Damned? (All old favorites that I'd not seen in far too long.) And more recent movies, like... Daybreakers (Ethan Hawke in Vampland!), Blood Wars (pure silliness on a college campus), Transylmania (I can't even explain the silliness here), and a show I never heard of that MTV did, called Death Valley, which is gory but funny enough that I giggled.

Yes, I love vampires. And witches, and werewolves, and ghosts, and... well, pretty much everything along those lines. However, I thought it would be better if I focused on only ONE type of para-supe movie this time. Otherwise this post would get way out of hand. Hahaha!

I have to say that I love Netflix. In my browsing, I came across an incredible number of vampire flicks I'd never even heard of, and many of them are recent. Some are also clearly rip-offs of the Twilight/Vampire Diaries type things, but that's to be expected (and possibly avoided depending on one's own tastes). Others sound tremendously interesting and I'm looking forward to watching The Moth Diaries, Blood Angels, Midnight Mass, Dead Cert, and a whole slew of others between now and October 31st! (My one regret is that Netflix doesn't have my all time fave, The Nightmare Before Christmas, available for streaming! Luckily, I own a couple versions of it. LOL)

How about you, dear friends? What's your favorite Halloween viewing experience? Do you prefer vamps, ghosts, or something else that goes bump in the night? Do you like your All Hallow's Eve flicks to be scary, funny, silly, or spooky? Inquiring minds want to know!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

GRL: Hot Books, Booze, and Fan Gurl Squeeing

First, I apologize for not blogging last Tuesday. I just didn't have the time or the energy to write since it was my travel day to Albuquerque for the Gay Rom Lit retreat. We left for the airport at the crack-ass of dawn - four in the freaking morning. The flight was long, and the desert was dry, and the need for caffeine was making me feel like a junkie in need of a fix. Seriously, by the time we got to the coffee shop at the Hard Rock hotel, I was ready to suck the caffeine out from under the barista's fingernails.

We spent a lot of time in the coffee shop, called "Chill." Luckily, they brewed Starbucks coffee, which made me happy since the coffee served elsewhere in the hotel tasted like moose piss. Although truthfully, I've never actually drank moose piss, so I can't vouch for the similarity, but I imagine it would taste like really bad coffee. Maybe with a mossy aftertaste. In any case, it wouldn't be pleasant, and my point is that the coffee served elsewhere in the hotel was really, really bad. So bad that the restaurants didn't even charge for it, because even they knew how bad it was. Moose piss bad.

The coffee in Chill was fabulous though, and I drank enough of it to float my kidneys back home to Florida.

For those of you who didn't attend the conference, let me describe the location of the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to you. Picture miles of barren desert and mountains. Then picture a hotel stuck squarely in the middle of it. That's where we were. Miles from anything. Unless you had the foresight to rent a car (which we didn't, of course), you were stuck there, at the mercy of the in-house restaurants.

Happily, the food at the hotel was not only usually good, but very reasonably priced. There were five places diners could choose from, and all were tasty and priced well, in my opinion, from the high-end steakhouse called "Embers" to the tiny counter-service grill in the casino.

A word of warning; in New Mexico, they put chilli on everything.  Seriously, I bought chocolate at a candy store in Old Town in Albuquerque, and there was freaking chili in it.

In. The. Chocolate.



Aside from perpetually fiery tastebuds, I had a  fabulous time at the conference. My swag consisted of decks of nude male playing cards, and they seemed to be a hit. At least, I brought almost four hundred decks with me, and only had a half-dozen left by the end of the weekend. I also brought little hand-sculpted zombie keychains, rainbow colored bubbles, t-shirts, and a few other swaggy items, all of which went. Even my books sold at the signing. In the end, I shipped home only a fraction of what I'd brought.

The very best part of the con was seeing old friends and fans, and making new ones. It seemed I never got anywhere on time because I was constantly stopping along the way to chat with this person, or hug that one. It was terrific, and humbling, and makes me wish it was next October already so we could do it all over again.

I participated in a Q&A with Anel Viz, AKM Miles, and Marie Sexton, moderated by Kris Jacen, and stopped in at the Torquere Press, Dreamspinner, Loose Id, and MLR Press spotlights,since I'm published with all of them.

I think the best times I had were at lunch and dinner with friends and fans. I think I ate with different people every meal! I only wish we'd had more down time during the weekend to just sit around and chat. It seemed like we were on the go constantly from morning until night every day.

Next year, the conference will be held in Atlanta. That makes four cons I'll be attending in Georgia next year, but since it's within driving distance, it's all good.

Plus, I know the location of every Starbucks between my house and Atlanta, and will no doubt stop at each and every one both going and coming.

Anyway, back at this year's GRL, booze flowed like a proverbial river. We drank margaritas,sangria, cocktails, and beer (usually trying to douse the fire from the chili). There were male strippers (yeah, you haven't lived until you've watched Damon Suede shake his booty onstage with a stripper in red sequins), karaoke (Geoff Knight singing "Summer Nights" T.C.  Blue grooving to "Black Velvet" and Jarod doing his best Cher impersonation were highlights, in my opinion), piano drinking games, and so much more!

On the return trip, my suitcase was weighted down with books, none of which were my own. I participated in the GRL Reading Challenge run by Mantastic Fiction this year, and went fan gurl on some of my favorite writers, buying their books to take home with me.

If there was one thing not missing from this year's con, it was hot m/m romance! There were tons of it, in every sub-genre imaginable, from sweet to sizzling, and I fully immersed myself in all of it.

It was a terrific con, and I can't wait for next year!

Friday, October 19, 2012

GayRomLit Report -- by BG Thomas

I am here!! Squueeeeeeeee!!!!! GayRomLit in Mew Mexico!

Got here at around midnight Wednesday and visited a bit with roomies Julianne Bentely and Ariel Tachna along with Zahra Owens and Shannon for about an hour before going to bed.

Thursday was fun. The swag room (the place where authors give away all kinds of cool stuff) opened early this morning and I got cards and pens and condoms and notepads and magnets and stress squeeze things (cool ones) and so much more. I sold my books (!!) and helped sell for other people.

What’s more – I met fans. And what I mean is – my fans!! I have fans!! I was in tears as people thanked me—thanked me!!!!—for my books. For writing books with characters they could identify with. It was incredible.

Then I met Rick Reed, author of the amazing book “Chaser.” Read that book.

Next was the amazing opening ceremonies. Most conventions, when they have snacks or horsd’Ĺ“uvres, you don’t get enough food to fill a finger—and the food is blah to meh. Then a few people rush to the front of the line and FILL their plates and half the people don’t get anything. Well NOT in this case. There was a ton of food. A TON!! Crabcakes and jumbo fried shrimp and jumbo shrimp (not fried) and stuffed mushrooms (OMG!!) and more

Then I met several authors I really really wanted to meet, including Marie Sexton, Jacob Z Flores and SDJ Peterson! Still haven’t met Eric Arvin, darnit!

Then I am headed to a kind of hodown put on by gay men, including nearly naked dancers! HURRAY for nearly naked dancers. Male of course.

Today was amazing. Dreamspinner Bingo!  DSP gave out Bingo cards where the object was to get 25 DSP autographs in the squares.  There were 75 to choose from. Then they called out names for great prizes.

Then I met another wonderful author--the first MM author I ever read--Heidi Cullinan for av event called Coffee and Porn, where there was also more Bingo and more great prizes.

Soon after we were all bused down to Old Town--the historic part of Albuquerque. A huge lunch was given to us all--then shopping (I got a Zuni bear fetish, a naughty shirt and a magnet)--then an event with great sangria (where we remembered those MM authors who passed this last year).

Then it was back to the hotel for steak dinner (dinner was on our own tonight) and later it is karaoke.

This whole event is not to be missed. If you aren't here, please find a way to come next year.  Atlanta, GA!

If you are here, come say hello!

BG Thomas!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reader Reviews by Cardeno C.

Happy Monday, y'all. Today I'm sharing another review from Shirley Frances about her all-time favorite book - Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane. Please leave a comment here for Shirley to let her know how much you enjoyed her review (I sure did!).

Keeping Promise Rock by Amy Lane

Rating: 5 stars

Review: Amy Lane has done it to me again! She has turned me inside out by giving me an insight into Crick's and Deacon's love story. And what a story it was! She wrapped me up from the very beginning, making sure I was as tightly wrapped up in the story as all the characters were. 

The pace was amazing, giving us glimpses of two great characters, their everyday life, inner struggles and interaction with others. First, introducing me to Crick, who my heart went out to immediately. Then, I got to know Deacon and my heart broke for him on the spot. He was so shy, so strong and loyal, that you couldn't help but love him. Crick was too, strong and loyal, but he had an inner strength that made you believe he could surpass anything thrown at him (which he did, mostly). But Deacon, my God! I've never felt so much for a character before. I found myself crying with him at every turn (which happens mostly with Amy Lane's books!).

The characters were fully developed. It was beautiful to see how the both Crick and Deacon came into themselves and gave each other to one another without question. Of course, every character played a special role in this story and helped it come together beautifully. 

The writing was exceptional. Each scene carefully worded to bring every emotion to life. Be it happiness, loneliness, humor or heartbreak. The sex scenes were both sensual and emotional and the main character's 'screw-ups' were so beautiful executed that I felt I was right there with them (of course, most of the time I wished I was right there with them to smack some sense into them, but that happens often when I read).

Anyway, the story of Crick and Deacon is amazing. The things they had to endure were heartbreaking and at times I didn't know if they could get over most of them. But leave it to Amy Lane to bring it all together seamlessly. This one goes directly to my keep pile.

Keep spreading the love!


Shirley Frances

If y'all have a favorite book, please consider sharing your thoughts with other readers. Send me an e-mail and I'll post your review of a book you loved so other readers can enjoy it. New release, old favorite, doesn't matter. As long as it touched you, made you laugh, or warmed your heart, someone else will appreciate reading it too.

- Cardeno C. (www.cardenoc.com)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Different Men for Different Tastes -- by BG Thomas

So I was asking a few people “in the know” about certain trends in M/M books these days. Some of it surprised me and some of it didn’t. And I didn’t know whether to be surprised or not when I was told…
“Young gorgeous protagonists…that’s the way to go every time.”
Apparently that’s what sells. And covers that look like Japanese cartoons.
Frankly I was stunned… 
More often than not, when I get an email from a reader, they tell me how grateful they are that my heroes have more…human traits.
Which means most of my heroes are at least thirty and go into their fifties. They rarely have washboard abs. They almost never have long hair. They usually aren’t thin. They sweat. They have hairy chests and sometimes are going bald.
I am a bear. I am not a twink and am certainly no longer young, although older people call me “young man.” It makes me laugh.
Because of all these things, I like to write about imperfect people. People with flaws. People who have hang ups, who fly off the handle, who have to lose weight (if only for their health), who have been through bad breakups, and who can barely pay the rent. And almost none of them want anything to do with raising children. Believe it or not, I don’t know but a few gay men who want kids. They don’t even want to be uncles.
  Now understand, I like kids. I have a grown daughter whom I love. If she has kids and brings them by, I am sure I will do a bang up job as a grandpa.

I guess—in this big ramble—I want to ask…
Is it true? Do most readers like to read about young, boyish, girlish, or gorgeous men?
Sidebar—when asking women why they liked gay porn, and when asking them how they can imagine themselves as one of the two men since they are a woman… I was also shocked to discover that they don’t imagine themselves as either man. When I asked gay men about why they watched gay porn, overwhelmingly they picture themselves as one man or the other, or imagined themselves joining in.
I like what I like to think of as “real men.” I am rarely, if ever, attracted to pretty boys. Facial hair is a huge turn on as well as hairy chests. I am not into men who wear makeup, or women’s underwear, or who perfume themselves within an inch of their lives. Once in a while I will like a young man, or a smooth-chested man, or a pretty boy. I love the guy who played Peter in the Chronicles of Narnia, and I like Danny on Revolution. But most of the time?
It’s Hugh Jackman, or Ben Cohen, or Bradley Cooper for me. Bearish guys if not downright bears.
I think that is why I loved Rick Reed’s new book, Chaser. The men in the book are GAY. They are not women with a penis. They like to suck cock and get fucked and shoot all over each other. They don’t demand that you shower first. They have no interest—that I saw—in raising kids.
They are flawed. Caden likes heavy men. Kevin is heavy, but not happy about it. Caden has to go away for five or six weeks and Kevin goes on a crash diet and loses a lot of weight and works out like a MF. When Caden gets back home, he is shocked and stunned by Kevin’s appearance. He has a very hard time dealing with it. As a matter of fact, he has trouble getting hard.
I could hear certain readers everywhere saying how much they hated Caden for not being able to see below the surface. I loved Caden because he was real and acted real. I understood. If I went away for six weeks and my hot bearded, hairy chested man had gotten laser hair removal, I would be appalled. And I love him more than life itself. But I was attracted to him precisely because he was bearded and hairy.
I fell in love with the man inside. But men? Most of us are very sight fixated. We can look at someone and—BOING!—be attracted to them and want to fuck them or get fucked by them. Dating and candles and wine and romantic car rides are rarely needed.
That’s the truth of it.
I think all this is part of why I loved Chaser.  I hope you will read it. AMAZING book. Read this to find out about real gay men!
All of this was the inspiration for my first novel All Alone in a Sea of Love. Flawed men who learn better. Who learn to look within and find love in some of the most unexpected places, even while their dicks get them into trouble. Or at least that is what happens to my main protagonist. He has to stop thinking with his dick and think with his heart, and when he does? Then the outside isn’t nearly as important as what he finds on the inside of his new found love.
I would love love love to know what you think on these subjects.
What kind of man turns you on? And is it really that appalling that men sometimes think with their dicks?
As long as in the end, we do what’s right and think with our hearts?
Let me know?
BG Thomas

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Randomly Random (cuz that's how I roll)

Okay, so as Kiernan said the other day, it's getting to be time for GRL. This means I'm going more than slightly nuts with trying to figure out what to bring and how to get it there. Heh-heh. (This seems to be a theme for those of us attending as authors.)

So instead of posting about that (because Kiernan already covered it, and far better than I would have managed myself), I'm just going to share my NOH8 picture. I figure it'll give you guys a giggle. Lord knows I had to laugh when I saw it... if only to keep from crying. I really don't photograph well. Haha!

See what I mean? Though I have to admit, all that white makes my eyes look scary! Talk about a green-eyed monster! LOL

Personal dissatisfaction with the picture aside, though, the NOH8 Campaign is a great organization with a really great message. I heartily encourage everyone to have a photo done if there happens to be a shoot happening nearby. Even if, like me, you truly hate pictures of yourself! Hahaha!

And with that, I'll be toddling off. Until next week, when I'll hopefully have some fun dirt to share about GRL! *hee*

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When Swag Attacks

Gay Rom Lit is next week. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, GRL is a yearly gathering of writers and readers of GLBT romance. This year, it's being held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, which necessitates (horrors!) a plane flight for me. 

Not that I'm afraid of flying. I'm not. At least, not any more than most people, meaning I'm a little nervous at takeoff and landing. And in between the two, I like to keep my mind off the fact that there's nothing between me and the ground except lots and lots of air, and have lots of those itsy bitsy bottles of booze handy. Other than that, I'm golden.

No, the problem with flying to GRL is my swag.

It has to fly too. 

Again, for those reading this that need an explanation, swag is the term used in the industry (as well as many other businesses) to describe items emblazoned with our names that are given away to readers for promotional purposes. Swag can be virtually anything, as long as it advertises your name and website, and possibly your book title – pens, mugs, t-shirts, toilet paper...although readers wiping their butts with your book cover tends to send the wrong impression, in my opinion.

GRL is the swag-intensive convention I do each year, meaning I bring the most crap with me to this one. Not that my swag is crap. Not by a long shot. Not for what it cost me. 

For what I shelled out for it, my swag should not only advertise my name and website, but sing, dance, serve margaritas, and give backroom blowjobs as well. 

In any case, there's a lot of it, currently taking up all the available flat surface space in my kitchen. The table and counters are covered with it; the floor is stacked with boxes and bags, all of which needs to be consolidated into two large cardboard boxes for shipping.

Ah, excess, thy name is Kiernan Kelly.

Seriously, shipping is going to cost me almost as much as my plane ticket.

Not that I'm complaining. I'm not. I have no one to blame but myself. I'm the one who chose to buy the heaviest, bulkiest freaking swag on the market. I could've gone with the lightweight key chains, or pens, but no, not me. 

That would've been too easy.

In any case, by tomorrow it will all be stuffed, wedged, and squashed into the shipping boxes and on its way to the Hard Rock in Albuquerque. 

Where it had just better arrive on time, or there will be much teeth-gnashing and nail-biting in at the Hard Rock in Albuquerque, and many screaming phone calls to UPS. Believe me, UPS, you don't want that. The Hard Rock doesn't want it. Nobody does. It won't be pretty.

Next week, I hope to have a recap of GRL 2012 for you. For now, I need to get to stuffing those shipping boxes full of my crap. 

Er, swag.

Monday, October 8, 2012

ARe Recipe Book by Cardeno C.

Happy Monday, y'all. Today I'm going to do a little promo for the All Romance ebooks Passionate Cooks recipe book. It's a free ebook with recipes from a bunch of romance authors. My kale chips recipe is included - whoot! 

Before I give you the blurb ARe has for the book, here's a little bonus tip, if you're in the mood to spice up the kale chips, put a little bit of ceasar dressing (or any other garlicy dressing) on them when they're done cooking. That extra little kick is very nice.

I hope you enjoy it and happy cooking! - Cardeno C. (www.cardenoc.com)

Food and love have had a long association, for Passionate Cooks: Free Recipes From Today’s Hottest Romance Authors, over 150 authors of the genre have put their pens and computers aside to don aprons, get down and dirty in the kitchen, and share their love of food.
Much like romance novels themselves, the dishes range from spicy to sweet. There is something for every taste and every level of culinary expertise. The cookbook includes New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Mari Carr’s “Wild Irish” Cream of Crab Soup recipe. Western GBLT author BA Tortuga contributes a dish as spicy and colorful as the straight-shooting author herself with Ranch Hands—a blend of Tabasco, salsa, onions and cumin, added to pinto beans, eggs, Canadian bacon and cheddar cheese and served in a tortilla. And for those of you who are feeling extra creative and sexy, there’s the Avocado Dip that doubles as body paint from mystery writer Marcia James.

Some recipes are simple, such as Down Home Mac & Cheese, while some are more exotic, such as Spicy Shrimp Risotto. There are even some gluten-free selections, like the Sweet and Spicy Gluten-Free Lo Mein-ish Noodles from erotica author Sommer Marsden. And a few are perfectly timed for a Halloween, such as Tracey H. Kitt’s Gamberi del Diavolo or Shrimp of the Devil.

Best of all, they are FREE!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Reg and Jean-Andre on Wine by Augusta Li and Eon de Beaumont, Guest Authors

Today, we're happy to have Augusta Li and Eon de Beaumont here at the blog. We get a fun glimpse of characters from their new book and check out the stunning cover by Anne Cain.  Amazing! Welcome, Gus and Eon. I'm glad you could join us! - Cardeno C.  

Hi. I’m Eon de Beaumont. Apart from being the co-author of Boots for the Gentleman and its sequel, A Grimoire for the Baron, I'm a wine specialist. So Gus and I decided to buy a bunch of wine and post it to Reginald Whitney and Jean-Andre, two of our wine enthusiast characters from the series and see what they came up with. Enjoy a bit of silliness.

Reg: Well, Jean-Andre, here’s the first bottle that Gus and Eon sent us. It’s from Domaine de la Chanade.

J-A: It smells delightful. Like flowers and citrus.

Reg: Mm. This reminds me of the wine the fey drink. Where is this from?

J-A: Gaillac. It’s in France, which is their version of Belvais. This is called Loin de L’Oeil, which means "Far From the Eye." It’s from a rare native grape. And you’re right, Reggie. This tastes just like the floral wine the faeries favor.

Reg: It’s quite nice. Unique. I’m not as a rule a fan of white wine, but I quite like this.

J-A: Oui. I agree.

Reg: Shall we move on?

J-A: Please. If the rest are this good, we’re in for a treat.

Reg: This one is a sparkler.

J-A: Champagne?

Reg: No. Cremant de Gascogne. Cremant means sparkling, but it’s not actually from Champagne. Francois Montand is the producer. How do you find it?

J-A: Clean. Crisp. A hint of yeast on the nose. Is this expensive?

Reg: Not at all. That’s one of the good things about lesser known areas, you can find high-quality wines at more affordable prices. Sometimes you pay for a name.

J-A: I know what you mean. It’s like the difference between Colerand’s Clockworks and Matherite’s Mighty Machinations. Colerand’s inventions are far superior, but Matherite’s are better known and cost more. Ridiculous.

Reg: That’s progress, I suppose. Back to the wine. I like this. I would definitely recommend this to someone who wants to celebrate on a budget.

J-A: Well, if your lover is a master thief, you don’t have to worry about a budget, non?

Reg: Jean-Andre, don’t bring Querry into this. I try not to utilize his gifts in that way. What? What’s that smirk?

J-A: I was just imagining which of his gifts you are willing to utilize.

Reg: Good lord. Do you always have to take it there?

J-A: Where else would you suggest I take it? I’m willing to try anything once, mon ami.

Reg: Ahem. Yes, well—I, um. That’s not why Gus and Eon sent us this wine. Shall we get back on topic?

J-A: By all means. If you blush any harder, your face may actually bleed. What’s next?

Reg: How about this? Oh no.

J-A: What?

Reg: I hate these funny labels. I’m always suspicious of them. If the wine inside is good, why sully it with a label featuring an animal character? It seems deceptive to me.

J-A: Let’s have a taste. What is it?

Reg: Eagle Eye Winery Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s from California, which is a state in their version of Allied Libertannia. It’s quite a prosperous wine-growing region.

J-A: I like the label. It’s cute.

Reg: Well, I suppose. It smells delightful. Fruitier than other New World Cabs.

J-A: Mm. It says there’s a bit of Cabernet Franc and Merlot in it as well. Full-bodied. Black currants. This is delicious.

Reg: A pleasant surprise. Nice, long finish. It appears you can’t judge a book by its cover.

J-A: Or a bottle by its label?

Reg: Indeed. This winery has an interesting story. The husband is the wine-maker and the wife paints the labels.

J-A: That’s kind of sweet.

Reg: Jean-Andre, are you a secret romantic?

J-A: It’s no secret, mon ami. I love romance. Would you like to hear a poem I wrote?

Reg: No. That’s fine. I think we should move on. Here, open this.

J-A: Oui. What’s this one? Ravenswood?

Reg: Eon says this is one of his favorites. It’s a red blend called Icon. Ravenswood is another winery in California.

J-A: This label has birds on it as well.

Reg: It’s very artistic though. Reminds me of something from Tartan.

J-A: Over there they call it Celtic, I think.

Reg: Oh my. That’s dark!

J-A: It almost looks like ink. What’s the blend?

Reg: Zinfandel, Carignane, Petite Sirah and something they call Mixed Blacks.

J-A: Mm. It smells like blackberries. Violet. Spices.

Reg: Yes. Amazing.

J-A: Dark fruit flavors. Integrated oak. Velvety with a long finish. I love this.

Reg: It’s quite special. This will age for some time, I should say. I can see why Eon likes this so much.

J-A: I’ll have more of this, please.

Reg: Well, what do you think over all?

J-A: I think your wine-stained lips look extremely kissable.

Reg: Jean-Andre! I meant about the wines.

J-A: I know.

Reg: Maybe you should stop drinking.

J-A: Maybe you should drink a little more.

Reg: Stop waggling your eyebrows at me.

J-A: But you’re so cute, Reginald.

Reg: All right. That’s it. Thanks for stopping round and helping me with this, but you need to go now.

J-A: Reggie. Don’t be so uptight.

Reg: No. No sir. Time to go. Good to see you.

J-A: Reggie, wait. Stop. Reg!

At that point, Reg pushed Jean-Andre out of the house and returned to the wine. Jean-Andre knocked incessantly but ultimately gave up and headed to the local tavern. It wasn’t long before Querry and Frolic returned to help Reg finish off the wine we sent them. Frolic couldn’t drink and Querry didn’t appreciate it as much as Reg did, but the day ended in a really hot threesome, so everybody wins, right?

Make sure you check out the next book in the trio’s adventure, A Grimoire for the Baron. It’s a wild ride. Here’s the blurb:

Former archivist Reg Whitney, expert thief Querry Knotte, and the clockwork boy known as Frolic are fugitives from Halcyon living on a small island. While Reg is content to lead a safe and settled life, there is trouble in paradise: Querry is bored, and Frolic can’t help but ponder his own existence.

When Querry and Frolic get caught breaking into Baron Starling’s villa, all three men are bamboozled into accompanying the baron on a quest for arcane knowledge. But their jungle destination holds more danger than anyone on the expedition expects.

Reg knows their crew is made up of criminals—the kind who can’t be trusted—which puts a strain on the trio. He’s certain the baron and the mercenary Jean-Andre are hiding something that puts them all in danger. Querry and the baron grow close, leaving Reg and Frolic feeling alienated. Frolic’s friendship with a fey servant just strains the trio’s dynamic further. Even if Reg, Querry, and Frolic survive the quest, their relationship will never be the same.

Buy Boots for the Gentleman:

And here are some links to the wines Reg and Jean-Andre enjoyed, if you would like to try any of them!