Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Book Review: Two Princes by Victoria Danann (A Sons of Sanctuary MC Book)

Two brothers, unknown to each other are on a crash trajectory with destiny and two broken hearts. 

Like anyone else, I have a few guilty pleasure, one of them is motorcycle. I love bikes, I miss owning a bike, I have plans to get a bike in the future, but until that day, I read a lot of MC and MC Romance stories and stare out the window, wishing that was me on the beautiful blue and purple lightning bolt airbrushed Harley that just went past. I used to be able to indulge myself in episodes of Sons of Anarchy, glued to the television each week to see each new episode, but...sigh...it ended. (Weeps) That was the only show I never missed one single episode of, and while I can still go back and watch it on DVD, it just isn't the same as knowing there is a new one coming.


When I came across Two Princes I was immediately curious about the brothers and just had to read their story and I'm so glad I did.

This, this was the Motorcycle Club (MC) Book I’ve been waiting for. There was  no glorifying of violence, or drugs, or gun running or any other illegal activity. This book didn’t try to paint MC’s like they were 1%ers or outlaws, in Two Princes (Sons of Sanctuary MC book 1) the emphasis was on the club being a family, on building it as an enterprise, the possibilities that can be created through hard work and brotherhood.

And yes, there was romance too. Two of them actually.

It kicks off with Brant and Garland’s summer fling, two different worlds colliding, the intensity of young romance brought screeching to a halt as summer’s end. 

I won't give away spoilers, but I will say that seeing what happened made me sad for both of them. 

Their ending might have been cliché, however, if not for a set of twins, a love of peanuts and a magazine article.

Add in cultural anthropologist Bridget and her scores of questions about MC life, and a totally different picture of who and what the Sons of Sanctuary is and is all about begins to emerge. 

The only thing I found myself wishing for, was that things had been slowed down a little bit. I wanted more of the twins getting to know one another, more details of their lives, and more questions from Bridget and the answers too, Nam's stories, what little was shared with the reader, were interesting and she never did really get to interview Brant. I felt like it rushed a little towards the end, in particular with some things just kind of summed up. 

Would have loved more of Bridget and Brash really getting to know each other, talk to each other more, do things together too. 

Still, Victoria Danann’s Two Princes, the Biker and the Billionaire has left me eagerly awaiting book two of the Sons of Sanctuary series. 

Monday, June 29, 2015

How about some Digital Art

Aside from writing, one of my other loves has always been art. As a kid I would try to draw my favorite cartoon characters and animals, and later album covers and mythical creatures and just about anything else that came to mind. i was fortunate enough to go to school for digital art and animation and started doing a variety of prints which, over the last year have ending up in a wide variety of online and print magazines. So today I thought I would share some of those pieces here.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Meet the Furbabies

A few days ago on facebook there were several amusing conversations about authors and pets and trying to write when a pet, or two, or more, was demanding your attention. At the time I was attempting to write with my orange tabby cat Thor half on my shoulder and half sprawled on the pillow behind me, alternately rolling, waving and stretching his paws to hit me in the face, tapping his tail on my head to some beat only he could hear, or licking my face and ear, rubbing his face against mine, and purring like a chainsaw. (on a side note he would go on to fall asleep on my arm, which then led it to fall asleep, leaving me attempting to edit one handed while fending off the other cat who got it into her head that human makes good cat bed.)

In light of all that and the wonderful conversation, I thought I would with you the Furry little miscreants I was discussing and a little bit of their stories. My pets are a part of my family, they don't migrate between indoors and outdoors, they are fixed, they live in our home and have since each one was adopted into our family. Like people, they each have their own distinct personalities, some are shy, and thus there are no photos, as shoving a camera in their faces would upset them greatly, but they are no less loved then the hams who's photos you'll see in just a moment.

For now, I'll start with the camera shy.

Sweetie Pie is a gray, orange, and black stripped and spotted tabby. Her orange is mostly on her tummy in spotted rows and her disposition is exactly like her name. she climbs into laps, loves to be petted, and can often be seen in the window, tail thumping as she watches the birds. She is the second best mouser in the house, and the most likely to come cuddling during a storm. She's almost six years old and the sibling/litter mate to Wisdom and Thor who you'll meet below.

Lilyfer is a year and a half old male kitty, he's all black from the tips of his rounded ears to his slightly shortened tail. The reason for these difference is that somehow, someone allowed him, as a tiny kitten to become lost outdoors in February in Iowa. He was found by a friend of my sons, outside of their high school, pressed against a door, trying to find warmth. She couldn't keep him but knew of my sons love of animals and brought him to us, where of course, he stayed. He lost the tips of both ears and his tail to frostbite before he was even two months old. He loves to play, he loves people, and he loves to climb my roomie when she is trying to work. Originally he was named Lily after Lily Munster, he was so small, we did not realize he was a boy until much later, thus Lily became Lilyfer, the little devil.

Special Note: Thanks to my roomie, in whose room Lilyfer resides, we now have a pic of him.

S'more is a brown, white and tan female Lionhead bunny who resides with my daughter in her room. One of two 4H bunnies raised since she was young, S'more has been with us for three years now. She's the shyer of my daughter's two rabbits, but loves to hop around the room or sleep on my daughter's pillows.

Now on to the hams.

I'll start with Smokey. Smokey is a black female half lionhead/half mini lop, two year old bunny who is friendly, outgoing and actually sits up and begs at food time. She sits in my daughters lap to watch tv and even falls asleep beside her. The more outgoing of our bunnies, she likes to lay in the sun and just sort ot take everything in.

Next I would like you to meet Pirate. Pirate's story is similar to Lilyfer's. She wandered onto my porch when she was a few months old, and the neighbor I shared a duplex with began to feed her but couldn't bring her into her home, due to the pets she already had. My daughter, who was two at the time, looked up at me with puppy dog eyes and asked if we could keep her. That was almost ten years ago. Pirate is a calico, very shy, not very social, but when she wants affection, boy does she want affection. she tandem mouses with Thor, and at one point was the best mouser in the house. Now she likes to nap in sunbeams, but she still chases Thor around a couple times a day, as if to remind him that the old lady can still pounce him and give him his bath. 

Speaking of Thor, here he is. As mentioned above, he is the sibling of Sweetie Pie and Wisdom, which makes him six years old. He's also the one who falls asleep on my shoulder, purrs in my ear, sits on my keyboard, and steals my pillow each night. Our top mouser, he is also our biggest ham. It absolutely doesn't matter what you are doing he must come investigate and poke in a nose or a paw. This big guy has helped chase more plot bunnies and listened to more cussing and crying over pages than all the other living beings in the house combined.

Last, but certainly not least is Wisdom. Like his sister he's gray and black stripped, with some hints of orange. All three of them came to live with us at about six weeks of age when they were big enough to leave their mama. Of all of our cats he's the most like a person, from the way he sits to his attitude, you'd swear he was 'The Godfather' or something. He loves laps, plops himself down into everyone's, and is the biggest food thief you'll ever have to guard your vittles from.

I hope you enjoyed meeting my furry friends. At least now there are some faces to go with the antics I describe. 

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Book Review for Released by A. J. Ridges

Good morning.
I hope ya'll are enjoying the blog so far. It's been fun writing these posts each day, certainly a good way to start off my mornings. Yesterday I had the opportunity through the Goodreads "Don't Buy My Love" read and review thread, to get my hands on this lovely new book, Released, by A. J. Ridges. Roughly 76 pages, I found myself so curious I just had to start reading as soon as it arrived in my inbox.

Released is filled with steamy hot interactions between the MC’s Dex and Krial, lots of interactions, even memories of interactions, but unfortunately, that was really all there was to the story. Released turned out to be more of an erotica read than an actual plot and storyline story, taking place over the course of about 24 hours of the characters lives. Not that there is anything wrong with erotic, oh absosmurfinlutely not, I love erotic writing as much as the next gal, but I love a bit of story to go with it too.   

The writing flowed very well, it just left me wanting to know what came before. I felt as if I had been dropped in at the end of the story, with so much alluded to, like the training sessions and the trials they underwent, yet I never got to  see them unfold. I wanted to be taken deeper into the world, shown how the trials to choose the "Chosen One" got started and how the government of Noval got the other planets to force their people to participate. 

There is a great deal of potential in the idea of the trifederation, the ritual selection process, as well as the weather disaster that caused the planet to be short females. It just feels a bit like insta-love, reading the story in this manner, without being privy to all of the ways Dex and Krial came to be attracted to one another over the course of the training. It would have been wonderful to learn more about Krial and what kind of a life he led before being forced to travel to Noval, or how long Dex had been a trainer and how he felt about the training process these men were being forced into. And I really wanted to know more of who both men were outside of the training as well. 

The originality and the ease with which I got pulled into the story and found myself wanting to learn more made it a good read though. This one gets 3 Dancing Hamsters from me. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

Guitars and Cages Release Day: Author Notes, Thank Yous, and a special sneak peek

I can't believe its finally happening, but here it is! Release day! Guitars and Cages started out as a character introduction. One simple state of mine exercise to try and get a feel for the moods and mindset of an at that point unnamed character. I never imagined that it would grow the way that it did, or that Asher would emerge and want to tell me his story. I'm just glad now for the opportunity to share that story with all of you.

But before we get to that, I want to take a moment to thank everyone at Wayward Ink, for giving me the chance to live my dream of being a published author and cross one thing off my bucket list. Lily and her team have been amazing to work with and I can't wait to get moving on the next project. (Yes, there are more novels from me to come.) Another big thank you goes to Jay Aheer for the beautiful job she did on the cover, it turned out amazing.

This is just the start of a new and exciting journey. I'm proud to say that I've already met some amazing people along the way. Thank yous go out to everyone who blogged and shared the cover reveal and now the release day blitz, not only are you all awesome but inspiring too. learning to blog is helping me be less of a hermit crab and more a part of the community.

So now, without further ado. I give you......GUITARS AND CAGES

Asher Logan is a bartender and a pretty wicked guitar player, when he isn’t wrecking his hands fighting in a cage. With a past he keeps hoping to outrun, Asher’s been on a downward spiral for longer than he can remember. When his sister-in-law leaves Rory, his eight-year-old nephew, in his care, Asher is forced into two things he’s never been good at: sobriety and responsibility. As he struggles to care for Rory, his own life begins to unravel.

When Asher’s brother, Alex, turns up, presenting as a girl and announcing her new name is Alexia, it further complicates matters, as does the arrival of his new neighbor, Conner. Both, in their own way, compel Asher to look at his own closely-guarded views on sexuality.

When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is.

Asher must choose who to trust and who to finally walk away from.


Special Sneak Peek:
At the park Rory and I threw the ball around down by the pond for a while, until a goose decided to join in and took offense when I wouldn’t let him have the ball. Little shit took after me with wings beating, feathers littering the grass in his wake while Rory laughed his ass off. Good thing the kid didn’t have a camera or I’d have found myself going viral or something.

“You should give him the ball,” Rory called out as I ran past.

“No!” I yelled back.

“He prolly thinks you stole one of his eggs.”

“Well then he’s blind as well as annoying!” I hollered as I ran. Would this goddamned bird ever get tired?

“I don’t think he liked that,” Rory called out as the goose began honking loudly at me.

“Mommy, why is that goose chasing that man?” an additional voice chimed in. Great, now I had an audience.

“I don’t know, dear,” a bored voice responded as a second batch of honking drowned out the first. What the hell?

Okay, seriously; I glanced back over my shoulder and two of those little bastards were chasing me.

“I think you should give them the ball; it’s kinda falling apart anyway,” Rory called out as I passed him again.

At this point, I was beginning to agree with the kid, even if stubborn pride wouldn’t let me give in. That was, until I caught movement out of the corner of my eye and noticed another goose swimming our way.

“Okay, enough is enough!” I yelled. “You little bastards can have the goddamned ball, just leave me the fuck alone!”

With that I tossed it out into the pond and watched the geese chase after it, honking and flapping and waddling all the way.

Buy Links
Don’t miss the Wayward Ink Publishing Tickle Me Pink Sale – 25% off all list prices!
WIP: http://www.waywardinkpublishing.com/product/guitars-and-cages-by-layla-dorine/
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/
Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/
Amazon DE: http://www.amazon.de/Guitars-Cages-Layla-Dorine-ebook/dp/B00YWD9PVQ/
ARe: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-guitarsandcages-1838198-341.html
B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/guitars-and-cages-layla-dorine/1122098430?ean=9781925222463

Prize: $10 WIP Gift Card
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d3e3d66a37/

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Hazy Purple Shadows (A Poem)

Poetry was my first love, when it comes to writing, I still write quite a bit of poetry each year and thought it would be fun to share one here from time to time.

Hazy Purple Shadows

Maybe we never intended to get lost
The jangled screams in our minds
Blinding us to reason
Ripping past caution
Punching holes in the mind
In the soil
Lights fade as darkness claims
We roll in hazy purple shadows
Clawing at the thick wisps
Shaking as we climb
Turmoil rolls, questions
Rapid fire dance through battered minds
Hope sinks in silent oceans of cerulean sludge
As we trudge, knee deep
Through forests of longing and lost inspirations
Words drip ash from chapped lips
Mangled meanings lost in howling winds
We are the night that dances nomadic
Frantic waltzes before dying fires
The glimmer of dreams and superstitions
Turned on their ears
Torn apart
Broken to shreds on jagged rocks in radioactive oceans
Plucked from the sands where we’ve wasted
Defined by ancient, dusty names and psycho babble
Are seams held by ducktape and glue
Reality wanting to be put back together again
He wasn’t pushed you know
He jumped

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Playlist for Guitars and Cages

Music has always been a very big part of my life. I started off learning to sing in church choir when I was really young and then began lessons on the organ. Later, in middle school, I began to play the piano and by high school it was the guitar and bass guitar. There was always singing in my house, my grandmother sang while she cooked and I still do. You can time the process by the songs, or at least, that’s what she always said.

Needless to say, music has become a very big part of my writing as well. Not only are several of my characters musicians, but I can’t write without music going and each story seems to develop its own rather unique playlist that makes focus and flow so much smoother.

In anticipation for the upcoming release of Guitars and Cages, and to give me something to think about to avoid the nerves and anticipation of awaiting the book's release, I wanted to share the playlist I used while writing Guitars and Cages.

Black Label Society – In this River
Black Label Society – Stillborn (acoustic)
Black Label Society – The Last Goodbye
Black Label Society- Spoke in the Wheel
John Moreland – 3:59 AM
John Moreland – Ancient Youth
John Moreland – Blacklist
John Moreland – Blues & Kudzu
John Moreland – Break my heart Sweetly
John Moreland – Don’t Miss it Much
John Moreland – God’s Medicine
John Moreland – Gospel
John Moreland – Hearts & Flowers
John Moreland – Heaven
John Moreland – I need you to tell me who I am
John Moreland – Nobody Gives a damn about songs anymore
John Moreland – Pacin’ (Waitin’ on You)
John Moreland –Avelon
Marilyn Manson – I don’t like the drugs but the drugs like me
Marilyn Manson – Long road out of Hell
Marilyn Manson – Man that you fear
Marilyn Manson – The nobodies
Metallica – Enter Sandman
Metallica – Nothing else Matters
Metallica – Of Wolves and Men
Metallica – Sad But True
Metallica – Through the Never
Metallica – Wherever I may roam
Metallica- The day that never comes
Metallica- The unforgiven
Metallica- Turn the Page
Metallica- Whiskey in the Jar
Nickleback – Photograph
Nine Inch Nails – and all that could have been
Nine Inch Nails – Every day is exactly the same
Nine Inch Nails – Heresy
Nine Inch Nails – Something I can Never Have
Nine Inch Nails – Starfuckers Inc.
Nine Inch Nails – The day the world went away
Nine Inch Nails – The Great Below
Nine Inch Nails – The hand that feeds
Nine Inch Nails – The Wretched
Nine Inch Nails –Dead Souls
Nine Inch Nails -Hurt (I also have the Johnny Cash version on the playlist as well)
Pink Floyd – On the Turning Away
Pop Evil – Monster You Made
Rob Zombie – Dragula
Rob Zombie- Feel So Numb
Rob Zombie- Superbeast
Rob Zombie-Living Dead Girl
Seether – Broken
Shinedown – Simple Man

Guitars and Cages, Coming on June 26th.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Book Review: Ari by Cheryl Headford

I am not easily moved to tears, but Ari…wow…there are moments in this book that are infectious. That will make you laugh right along with the characters, that will make you smile, and sweep you along and be grateful that Benji and Ari had Arthur there to help smooth over the rough patches in the beginning and generally look out for them like a loving dad.

And then there are the moments when you will cry for them, and with them and those are the truly beautiful moments, because it shows just how much depth of character and emotion and heart and spirt and just real personality have been woven into all of the characters that make up this wonderful book.

Benji and Ari are flawed in the best possible ways, because it is their flaws that being them closer together and allow them to connect so deeply. They each have their own insecurities to work though, and it is beautiful to see a story where each of the characters also has a support cast of characters who love and accept them for who they are. Even if it takes a little bit of time to really show.

Seeing how they all rallied together in the end, forging bonds through such adversity was beautifully done. I don’t want to give anything away, so I will simply say this. Ari was REAL. I was sucked in from the very beginning. I cared what happened to all of them, wished with them, hoped for them, got outraged on their behalf, and aside from wanting more of them, I found myself hoping to someday read more about Arthur too. Ari gets the first Five Dancing Hamster rating of the blog.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Review: With Wings (The Dark Angels #1) by Z Allora

With Wings (The Dark Angels #1) by Z Allora was a wonderful introduction to the band The Dark Angels and the lives they lead. While this story was focused primarily on Angel and Dare, there was enough information given about Dusty, Robin and Josh as to make this reader very curious to read their stories as well.

Both Angel and Dare are very complex characters, for surprisingly similar reasons. For Angel, there is that public persona, the rock god with his nails painted and his eyes lined, who is charismatic and engaging. At first this is the only side to him that is really visible, until the time he spends with Dare in Bali. As he starts to relax, unwind and talk to Dare about things other than just the music they’re working on, a second side, a more private side, of Angel begins to emerge. We see his insecurities, his hopes and dreams for himself, not just the band.

Similarly, in that time halfway around the world from everything he’s ever known, as well as the father who has never supported his love of playing guitar, Dare learns how to be honest with himself, and open about the things he wants and desires.

The trip to Bali proved to not only be a wonderful chance for them to collaborate and prepare some new songs for the band, but also for their friendship to grow and deepen as they learned more about one another.

Watching these two trying to navigate the choppy waters between friendships, emotional connections, and concern over the working relationship of the band really held me captivated, hoping for a good outcome for all of them. It’s easy to appreciate the strange family dynamic of the band and how very much each of them care about one other as well as how much what they’ve created means to them. It isn’t just about a means of making money or even doing something they love, it is a way to be who they are, without anyone or anything getting in the way.

The steamy scenes between Angel and Dare nearly fogged up my computer screen, but what really showed through was the emotions that each was able to bring out of one another. I really felt as if With Wings was a journey of personal growth for both Dare and Angel. Want to know how it all turns out? Go give it a read. You won’t regret it. I rate it 4 dancing hamsters. Why? ‘cause stars are cliché, and these are hamsters. And they DANCE.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Announcing new blog and cover reveal of upcoming novel

Launching the new blog with some exciting news. Today is the cover reveal of my upcoming release Guitars and Cages, which will be available on June 26th. With the new blog I plan to share the progress on upcoming novels, interviews, humorous moments, inside tidbits about some of my characters, as well as book reviews and plenty of other information.

Check out the You Tube Ad

And link to preorder the novel

Hope you will visit often,
Layla Dorine