Another AMAZING Review for My Story and for “Two Tickets to Paradis!”

So another great review has come in for the anthology “Two Tickets to Paradise.” What thrills me to absolute heaven is the review for my story, “New Lease.” Check it out. And hey! J.L. Merrow! Great words for you too!

Here is the review…

Guest Review: Two Tickets to Paradise Anthology
Guest Review by Melanie
Title: Two Tickets to Paradise Anthology
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: Novel (Anthology)

Rating: 4 stars

Two Tickets to Paradise is a collection of 15 stories of men, alone or with a partner, traveling by car, train, plane, and the occasional time travel in search of new experiences and romance in destinations both home and abroad. What they find runs the gamut from first time love to love rediscovered after considerable time apart. Can you buy a ticket to paradise? Within these stories, the men find the answer to that question and so much more.

After reading this anthology, I found it difficult to come to a rating, as some of the stories floundered, stuck in the mundane and predictable, while others soared into great heights of emotion and romance. The stories that have remained with me are:

J.L. Merrow’s All At Sea – A tale of youth and young love on the Isle of Wight. The characters here have hidden depths, delightful dialog, exquisite scenary and an ending I am still smiling over. Her descriptions of the Isle of Wight made me want to book an airplane ticket immediately.

Chelle Dugan’s Off The Tracks – A middle-aged man who believes that love has passed him by takes a train trip into the past and gets the chance at love he’s always dreamed of. Realistic characters, vivid descriptions of the Grand Canyon, combined with flashbacks to the 80s.

Sean Michael’s Something Different – A story of two ex-lovers reunited in Las Vegas after a separation of 10 years. What can I say? It’s a Sean Michael’s story, so the sex is hot, the characters memorable, and there’s hope for a HEA is on the horizon.

Mal Peters’ Perpendicularity – The high altitude setting of the French Alps is the perfect location for Kyle, an Olympic snowboarder, to spend Valentine’s Day with his girlfriend. But an unplanned breakup, sees Kyle alone in the resort chalet until the smell of baking bread and a succulent pork tenderloin lead him to a young personal chef and a change of heart. Just the descriptions of baking bread and smells emanating from the kitchen won me over, add in the characters of Kyle and Dylan, and you have a story that is a delight to read.

B.G. Thomas’ New Lease – This is the penultimate story and reason alone to buy this collection. Wade Porter is alone at an oceanside cottage mourning the loss of his long-time lover, a married man who only saw him for two weeks out of the year at their bungalow near Key West. With the loss and his age wearing him down, Wade sees no reason to continue living until he meets Kent, a man who has just moved in next door. Kent too has lost a partner and gradually shows Wade the path out of depression and into the true meaning of love. I was still crying over this story hours later so be warned! Get those tissues handy.

Zee Kensington’s Krung Thep, City of Angels is the final story of the anthology and my final recommendation. Marco has dreamed of traveling and for his first trip abroad or any where actually, chooses to go to Thailand. Marco is the typical innocent abroad who lands in the steamy, packed streets of Krung Thep, also known as Bangkok. Clearly out of his depth, his journey is almost derailed by his inexperience until he meets seasoned journalist, Chris, who writes for travel magazines. Chris takes him under his wing, and introduces Marco to the sights, tastes and people of Krung Thep. The author did such a great job with the vivid descriptions of the food markets, pungent odors of the food stalls, and feel of swampy heat rising from the streets that I felt like I had been there. From the bouncy innocence of Marco, to the weary self isolation of Chris, the characters felt alive right down to the sweat rolling down their backs. I wanted to continue on their journey with them, seeking the paths to paradise.

Authors: J.L. Merrow, Susan Laine, Eric Renner, G.R. Richards, Claire Russett, Cecilia Ryan, B.G. Thomas, Jana Denardo, Chelle Dugan, Zee Kensington, Jamie Lowe, Dar Mavison, Sean Michael, Mal Peters, Anna Martin

Cover: The cover says it all, because how can you show the range of the stories contained within this anthology?

Thank you SO much Melanie! You made me cry happy tears of joy.

You can find the review right here:


A New Lease!

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
~ Walt Disney

So I finished a new story this morning, have sent it off to my editors, and will hit it again this afternoon. My deadline is today and I will get it in just under the wire.

The name of the story (right now anyway) is New Lease and is a sort of vacation story, going to an anthology at DSP called Two Tickets to Paradise. Here is the blurb for the anthology:

    A vacation is exactly what these men need to find love in their lives. It may be about looking for a little fun, gaining a fresh perspective after a breakup, or building up the nerve to take the plunge. Whether they travel by plane, train, or automobile, none of them want to go it alone. They’re hoping romance will be the ticket to finding paradise in another man’s arms.

I hope it fits the bill. It is far more about new chances and healing old pains and finding love than it is a vacation. If it turns out not to be right for them, they have another anthology coming in about a year called Snow on Top that it is very appropriate for!

The important thing is that I am writing again. Months of overtime through me into a completely exhausted depression where I couldn’t even clean house, not even the bathroom or dishes, let alone write.

I love love love love to write, it fulfills me like nothing else, but what a lot of non-writers do not get is that writing is work. A considerable amount of it.

Take New Lease. I would write and then hack out whole sections and then write and repeat. I had to keep the story focused on what was important and not all the side story lines that tried to make the short story a novella or more. I have diarrhea of the keyboard, wanting over and over to make a story much, much longer than it needs to be. I love long short stories and novellas, both to read and write. I want to know more, and I have to learn which will get my point across better; a plethora of words, or a bare minimum. So while some of the side story lines were interesting, I knew in this case they were not what the story was about and to stick to the point.

The story is sweet and sad but has a doubly sweet and hopeful ending. I will keep you informed as to what happens with it.

Next ~ I just can’t resist it despite my reticence to write for anthologies anymore ~ is at least one story for Men of Steel (once again for DSP). My whole life until maybe the last decade was comic books and I still adore a good superhero movie. Iron Man, Thor and Captain America were awesome examples of superhero storytelling and I have always wanted to do a gay superhero. As it write it and not “do” a superhero. Although come to think of it…

The story will keep me from attacking my novel full force (and it is going to be a good one), it will fulfill a long fantasy of mine. A whole part of having a super power has always been the aspect of feeling left out and different. Imagine gaining such a power and being gay as well, a double whammy. At least this circumstance leaves you able to help your fellow gay man.

So thanks for listening. Hope to have lots of good news for you soon. And don’t forget, is now available!
Much love,

UPDATE! Story has been edited by my wondrous betas Sal and Chris, I have worked on the final draft, and just this minute hit the SEND button. Wish me luck!