Monday, 31 October 2011

My books.

I have chosen the flower of a passionfruit as my avatar - the passion flower.
My books have passion -  not the sort of shallow passion shown in trashy romances - but real passion.

Look for the four books of Valencio's Story: 
'Wizards' Slave,' 
'A Change of Fortune,'
       and 'A Time of Testing.'

Book One:  Wizards' Slave

Description:   In the eyes of the Kobi family of wizards, ordinary humans are the dirt-people, mostly ignored, sometimes of use. They are convenient subjects for spell-practice, and they like to keep a selection for use as sex slaves. Valencio is one of the slaves, the most troublesome they’ve ever had – and the most desired.
An excerpt from the book:  Faheem Kobi-Wynn watched a film on a large screen. The child star was Valencio Durano, Italian. The black-haired waif turned big eyes to the camera, looking pathetic in rags, but then shot a mischievous grin at a companion and was next seen bolting after stealing a wallet.

Faheem  wanted to try a boy, and this was the most beautiful boy he’d ever seen. He nodded to the servant, approving the choice. In due course, the boy would be brought to him, untouched until he could have him. Meantime, he wasn’t sure what he wanted, but wandered to the Enclosure and asked that there be a line-up.

Reviews for Wizards' Slave:

* This book was gripping, and yes, in parts it was very sexy.
There was something else. If there were no wizards and magic, it could be regarded as a work of pure literary fiction - a study of sexuality. Valencio was a captive and a slave, but in his later teenage years, there was his guilt and shame, multiplied when he could not help but enjoy the sex. His conflict, his despair, his fights, his hatred of the wizards and at the same time, something like a love for his last master. Something close to brilliant.

* This book totally caught my attention and kept it. Certainly there was erotica, some of it toward the end of the book was very stirring and yet never crude.
But it is a lot more than that. The hero, Valencio, had me so much barracking for him. There is a hint that freedom might come for him in the next book. I am waiting for it.
Very good indeed. I loved it.
Valencio’s Story: Book Two.
All through Arabia and Asia, the world of wizards knew and feared the powerful Kobi family. Adil, Ahjmed, Yiko, Hicham and the young Fighter, Iyad – their very names struck terror. But they made a mistake when they tried to extend their territory to include the Western world. The great wizard, John Bellamy, was not renowned as a Fighter and seldom interfered in matters of law-keeping. Yet he was more powerful than any other. When John Bellamy interfered in the affairs of Kobis, things began to change.
Valencio had long since given up hoping for freedom. It was impossible, the wizards too powerful, their spells too effective. The Kobi Fighters thought themselves undefeatable. They were wrong. A Change of Fortune is Book 2 of Valencio's Story.

 Valencio's Story: Book Three. 
Loch Carrikh - three thousand acres of misty mountains and gentle rain, just as Valencio had sometimes dreamed of. An ancient ruined castle that the wizards had made safe again, a loch that glistened in the sunshine, mountains shrouded by mist – it was a lovely place. But they were looked after by wizards - still controlled by wizards as it seemed to Valencio. He wanted to leave, but Tasha only felt safe within the bounds of the home that John Bellamy had made for them.
But Bellamy reminded Valencio of Yiko. Sometimes he thought he was to be trusted, sometimes he was sure it would be better to live far away, somewhere no wizards would know.
Book Four:  'A Time of Testing.'   Many of the the freed slaves were becoming independent, with jobs or businesses. Some were too damaged, and would stay at home, safe. Valencio? There was a weakness in him, he knew. What if he was tempted by a man? What if he succumbed? Would it destroy him? The freed slaves had a beautiful home, and more importantly, a safe one. The castle and three thousand acres of Loch Carrikh were loved by its residents, and appreciated by its visitors. Valencio enjoys being a farmer and he enjoys helping entertain the guests.
But then there is the film, ‘Son of Satan.’ Acting. It was what he was made for. Valencio leaves the safety of his home.
This is Book 4 of the Valencio series, and the conclusion.

 A review
Finished. This was a great series. I especially enjoyed the ending - that there were hints of a tragedy to come, the allegory of Vince's struggle with the stormy sea, for instance, but in the end it was not a tragedy.
I found the last chapter satisfying. Well written as always.
I recommend this whole series.

These books are available on Smashwords as ebooks.

FREE:  'The John Doe.' 

They would have liked to know who the John Doe was, but more importantly they wanted to know what he was. And what was his power, the power they did not understand? He could not be allowed free. He was not an ordinary man.
John thought he was an ordinary man, but maybe a hollow man, without memory, without a past. That strange power they spoke of - He didn’t quite believe in it, but if he was ever to find freedom, he had to first find his power. He wanted to go home. He didn’t know whether he had a home, whether he had a family, but still, he wanted to go home.

A review for 'The John Doe' 
Gripping book - I had a quick read at work, and then a bit more, and then a bit more, and then finished the book that day at work ...... not having done much work.
This is a simple story, well told, and it grips you, and you have to keep going to see what is next. The author has the gift of not just telling a story, but of giving the feel of being part of the story.
Damn good for $0.99.  

Note that 'The John Doe' is free in the hope that the intrigue and quality of this book will lead readers to actually pay money for others of my books.
So far, I've discovered that there are hundreds of downloads of free books, but suggest a price, even a tiny price?  And suddenly no-one is interested.  Very sad.

Find my books on Smashwords: 

This month's special recommendation: Best Book.

This is the place where I nominate this month's best book  -  except that sometimes, it will be this week's book, or this '3-months' book, depending on how much I am reading, and what I find.

A sequel to an all-time absolute favourite - 'Not a Man' by M. A. McRae now has a sequel published. It is called 'The King's Favourite.'

Already it has several 5 star reviews. The first, 'Not a Man' has almost all 5 star reviews. It is an exceptionally good book.
Here are some reviews for this one, including mine.
Veronice Ceccarelli on June 04, 2012 :
I was totally wrapped in 'Not a Man,' the first book about Shuki. This one is a sequel, but a completely new story. Once could read it without knowing anything of the first. How many books does one read with a eunuch as a hero? Not a man or a woman, but something between, something special. Gentle, wise, compassionate, feminine in some ways, and yet he can kill, and does, quite early in this story - an incident that's like a prelude to the real story of the king who winds up with Shuki as his beloved companion, but also as a slave, valuable and very well guarded.

* Zimsuvig:  'Not a Man' is the story of a boy who comes from the disease-ridden slums of a city of Arabia. He has seen siblings die of hunger. But then his life changes when a rich man takes him for a bed-boy.
Shuki is a complex character, bright, cunning and sometimes ruthless. He is not cruel, but when he believes it is needed, he will act without mercy. In the first chapter, something awful happens to him - his master has him castrated. But in the second chapter, we begin to see that Shuki is a very long way from being a mere victim - he poisons the doctor who did what he'd been told was 'a small operation a bit like a circumcision.' Shuki is a fully realised and quite complex character.
I very much enjoyed this book, and really did feel as if I'd been on a journey, Shuki's journey. This is a most rewarding read.
Debbie Bennett:  The continuing story of Shuki, a modern-day eunuch. Sold by his own country to be a slave to young king Feroz, Shuki never forgets his childhood "family" and yet finds contentment and even love in the strangest of circumstances.
This sequel to Not A Man is again rich in characters and detail, dragging you into middle-eastern culture with all five senses. It positively reeks of authenticity, with hints of the world political events of the late 20th century anchoring the story. Yet again McRae doesn't shirk from the day-to-day details of Shuki's life - from political adviser to the king and all the court intrigue that entails - to the king's sexual preferences and his obsession with Shuki.
A powerful and addictive read that kept me up late for two nights.


And here is a treasure for romance lovers:

'Becoming Edward' by Faye Meredith,
Editorial description:  Rachel's hooked on Twilight and is in love with Edward Cullen. Clive is obsessed with Rachel but he's no Edward. Lewis is in love with himself until he meets Rachel. Both boys fail to win her until one of them has the bright idea of becoming Edward. This light-hearted teenage novel is for young adults who are fans of paranormal romance, especially Twilight and Breaking Dawn.

A review by Jacqueline M. Smith
As a Twilight fan I was skeptical when I came upon this book. I thought it would be some kind of parody or fan fiction and I wasn't interested in that. Turns out it is neither of those things. It's brilliant!
The idea that someone would become Edward for someone is such a smart idea! Everyone has changed something about themselves for someone else at some point in their lives, this is just on a grander scale.
This book is smart, funny and well written. It's a really fun read and I did it in one afternoon. There were parts that made me laugh out loud when I read them! My favorite charachter is Rachel, who is no Bella Swan!
If you're a Twilight fan, this is a MUST READ! If you aren't a Twilight fan, it's still funny!


Best books.

These are the very best books I've come across.

 ‘Not a Man’  is the story of Shuki, a Coming of Age novel.
An excerpt form a review by Harper Collins.  
‘Not a Man’ is an ambitious and insightful novel; it tells the story of Shuki, a young boy from the slums of Elbarada, a fictional area of Arabia, who is castrated against his will at the age of 10. Shuki’s journey is one of great trial but also incredible strength, courage, and determination, and as a hero, he is fantastic, evoking not only sympathy, but aspiration and reverence. I loved the fact that the operation which is supposed to prevent him from reaching manhood is the very thing that makes him strong and mature. The novel is written in a pared down manner; the narrative reminded me of the prose styling of Paulo Coelho: unaffected and matter-of-fact.”
Other reviews:

Zimsuvig:  'Not a Man' is the story of a boy who comes from the disease-ridden slums of a city of Arabia. He has seen siblings die of hunger. But then his life changes when a rich man takes him for a bed-boy.
Shuki is a complex character, bright, cunning and sometimes ruthless. He is not cruel, but when he believes it is needed, he will act without mercy. In the first chapter, something awful happens to him - his master has him castrated. But in the second chapter, we begin to see that Shuki is a very long way from being a mere victim - he poisons the doctor who did what he'd been told was 'a small operation a bit like a circumcision.' Shuki is a fully realised and quite complex character.
I very much enjoyed this book, and really did feel as if I'd been on a journey, Shuki's journey. This is a most rewarding read.

5 stars   By Jo Ellis
Amazon Verified Purchase
This is a truly wonderful story of bravery, love and acceptance. It also shows how cruel people can be but this only intensifies the bravery of Shuki.

As I usuallly do in reviews, I don't want to give away too much of the story. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. It may be long but it doesn't seem that way at all and I flew through each page and I feel more in love with the sweet, remarkable Shuki to more I read. I was hooked, intrigued and drawn in from the first page of this story.

I was delighted with how this book ended and I did not see coming many of the obstacles and terrible things that happened to Shuki and I also didn't predict the end at all which we always want in a book.

This book isn't for the faint hearted but more than makes up for the necessary horrors of this story being told by being an endearing tale with rich, wonderful characters and unique story.

You will smile, you will cry, you will cringe and you will cheer when you read this book about a man who isn't a man but is more of a man than many men.
Not a Man is a beautifully written book, about a very delicate subject. I will admit I did find it hard to read in places, but that aside it was still a compelling book to read as I had to discover if Shuki would ever find freedom, and ultimately find his own form of happiness. I will not spoil for anyone, but urge you to read this well crafted novel for yourself.

Now Published:  The sequel to 'Not a Man' -  'The King's Favourite.'

Equally as fascinating as 'Not a Man.'  This is a startlingly original series with an unforgettable hero.


Hamelin's Child by DJ Bennett

Michael Redford died on his seventeenth birthday – the night Eddie picked him up off the street, shot him full of heroin and assaulted him.

Now he’s Mikey and he works for Joss. With streaked blond hair and a cute smile, he sleeps by day and services clients at night. Sometimes he remembers his old life, but with what he’s become now, he knows there is no return to his comfortable middle-class background.

Then he makes a friend in Lee. A child of the streets, Lee demands more from friendship than Mikey is prepared to give. But the police are closing in on them now and Mikey’s not sure anymore who he really is – streetwise Mikey or plain Michael Redford.

Hamelin’s Child was long-listed in the UK Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger Award.   (approx 85,000 word novel)


* Hamelin's Child is an outstanding read. I came across the title in a forum discussion and was interested enough to download a sample, and from that decided it was worth the purchase. I started reading it the same day and didn't stop until it was finished. The story is about a 17-year old boy who falls into the clutches of a couple of villains who drug him over a period of weeks and force him into homosexual prostitution. There is some explicit sexual activity in the book, but not for the sake of being lurid. It is critical to the plot as the protagonist (Michael/Mikey) slowly loses touch with his former self and his addiction takes control of his life. While the subject matter is dark, Michael is a character you will care about. Even as he makes unwise choices and immerses himself in the very lifestyle he hates, he manages to hang onto his soul. DJ Bennett is an excellent writer, and she does a wonderful job fleshing out her characters, especially Michael and his sister, Mary, who never gives up on her brother even as her own life veers off course. The author resisted the temptation most writers have to wrap everything up in a pretty bow at the end, but I still find the conclusion satisfying. If you like a bit of rawness in your reading as I do, I highly recommend this book.
* Review by Veronice:  
One of the most utterly gripping books I’ve ever read. It made me angry what happened to Michael. It seemed so shocking – but when I thought about it, getting a girl addicted to drugs has been a favourite method of pimps to acquire girls for many, many years. It is not new because Michael is male. Yet it seems so much more shocking. 
Hamelin’s Child is an extremely good book.

Cheap and free ebooks

Here are some cheap or free ebooks you might like, all of them available on either Smashwords or Amazon or both. To buy the paperbacks, the Book Depository is good, because they have free delivery.

Quite short books, not easy to categorise.
Charlotte Castle:  'Simon's Choice.'  Very good.
Jessica Degarmo:  'Six Weeks.''   Very good.

Tom Winton: 'Beyond Nostalgia.'


Faye Meredith, 'Becoming Edward'
Jessica Degarmo:   'The Storm Within,'
                         and "How to Meet a Guy at the Supermarket.'
Violet Jones:  'The American Girl.'  girl/girl romance
Joanne Ellis: 'Spoilt.'
Cyndi Tefft:  'Between'  romance with fantasy elements.

Romances with Fantasy Elements:

Anything at all by Samantha Towle. 

Scott Strosahl:  'Framed' and 'The Nazi Conspiracy'
Richard Bard:   'Brainrush.' This one is excellent.
Katy Walters:  'Phobic Dawn'

Tony Lewis:  'If Only I Could Talk.'  I loved this one.
Catnip by Valerie Tate.

Science Fiction:

Ian Smethurst:  EDF Chronicles,  The Krenaran Massacre,  Well written and exciting

Sessha Batto:    'In Dreams'   Erotica of the male/male variety.  Well written, well plotted, and sexy.

A feel-good book:
Jilly Paddock,  ‘No Earthly Shore’

Profound Insights into Life.

Life is short.