Tag Archives: Cleis Press

Best Gay Erotica Anthology by Rob Rosen

Best Gay Erotica CoverRelease Date: January 13, 2014
Published by Cleis Press
Review Copy from Editor

Best Gay Erotica 2015 is filled to the page-turning brim with fantastic tales of fire dancers and TV repairmen, of hunky painters and electricians and magicians, solo sex, duo sex, and sweat-soaked triple onslaughts. Heck, throw in an alien and a priest, and you’ll soon see why this anthology is head and shoulders — not to mention certain other body parts — above the rest, and always with the highest literary quality that readers have come to expect from this esteemed and steamy collection.

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Typically the purpose of genre anthologies is thought to simply be to categorize or compile a group of similar short stories into a single collection. I know, I’m not telling you anything new, but humor me for a minute. The real value for me in anthologies is to get a sampling of a genre to determine if I’d like to delve further into it, and also to experience several different authors to see if I’d like to read more of their work.  I’ve always struggled with anthologies, because I have trouble with all the starts and stops, switching characters and voice so rapidly.  For this reason, I tend to shy away from them, but this anthology didn’t give me the same pause.  Erotica in general has such a broad spectrum ranging from risqué to raunchy, so I was curious as to what kind of variety I’d find in a gay erotica anthology. I guess you could say I wanted to see how many different ways these authors could find to get guys together in a quick and dirty story – literally. Just read the synopsis – there’s plenty there to pique your curiosity.

I think gay erotica fans will be pleased with what they find in Best Gay Erotica 2015. There truly is something for everyone, whether you’re a fan of hot, French bikers,  forbidden bathroom hook-ups or online voyeurism.  Readers will find no shortage of adventurous characters or scenes – one elicit encounter with an elusive fire dancer comes to mind. The writers keep things moving, infusing each encounter with excitement.  There are a variety of writing styles, however none really threw me off when moving from one story to the next.  What they all have in common is the ability to add excitement, anticipation and suspense in all the best ways.

Rather than talk about each story individually and spoil it all, I’d like to highlight just one story that stood out as my overall favorite. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty I really enjoyed, but there’s something about this one that stuck with me.

Nothing to Lose by Dale Chase

The events in this story take place surrounding the wedding of friends of the main character, Alex. Maybe that’s what really drew me in? The atmosphere surrounding a wedding is typically infused with romance, so maybe I was hoping there’d be more than just erotic hookups.

Overall Nothing to Lose is the perfect example of finding exactly what you need when you’re not looking or how the perfect person can be right in front of you the entire time but you fail to notice. Alex is at a crossroads of sorts – still trying to get over the pain of breaking up with his ex and determined never to settle down. He’s enjoying himself to say the least; his list of conquests at the wedding includes one of the grooms himself. This story has a broad appeal based on the variety of enticing encounters, especially for those seeking the thrill of public encounters and forbidden pairings.


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Men of the Manor Anthology – Review & Giveaway

Men of the ManorReleased 9 September 2014

Published by Cleis Press

Copy obtained from editor for review.


The country estate, masters and servants, mystery and intrigue, sex and money. All go hand in hand in these turn-of-the-century tales of what goes on behind the manor’s closed doors. Does the master lure the butler to the phonograph room for a romp behind the sofa, or does the stable boy have a tryst with the footman while the lord longingly watches on? Does the aristocrat drop his foppish manners when the butler helps him undress? And do the classes exchange more than pleasantries when the lamps are dimmed and the ladies retire for the evening?

Rob Rosen has gathered the hottest stories of romance and sex between wealthy aristocrats and the hard-working estate staff, all with a pre-World War I backdrop, including the fashion and art and the latest inventions of the day. War is years way, the estates are huge and sprawling, the fashionably elite have too much time on their hands, while the toiling underclass are always on the lookout for a means to a brighter future — no matter whose bed they end up in. Think Downton Abbey and Upstairs, Downstairs, but with enough sex to make the town vicar blush.

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Purchase a copy: AMAZON / BARNES & NOBLE

Janette’s Thoughts:
This is my kind of book. Normally anthologies don’t hold my attention as well as a full-length novels, but Men of the Manor is definitely an exception. I love m/m historicals, and I’ve mentioned before that I find a lack of books in this genre. It seems Rob Rosen has taken it upon himself to try to remedy that; this collection features a little bit of everything that represents the best – and worst – of Regency England.

These stories offer a variety of scenarios and settings, but one thing remains constant: these Upstairs Lords need their Downstairs Lads in more ways than one.  I’ve always been drawn in by tales of  forbidden attraction between master and servant, but in most historical romances it’s between the Lord of the manor and some maid or other.  We root for them to defy the social barriers while allowing true love to prevail. In a situation where two gentlemen are involved, it adds an extra edge to the liaison –  not only because it’s socially unacceptable, but also because homosexuality is a crime punishable by death. How’s that for forbidden?

What can you expect from Men of the Manor?  All the regal elegance you expect from the Ton without all the pretentious circumstance. These encounters have some of the tension and angst that’s understandable given the situation, but they feature guys who are letting go and indulging their most base desires. Ultimately this means great storytelling complete with plenty of hot, steamy moments and surprising twists.


Kristy’s reviews:

The Maze by Dale Chase: Man of the hall! Just when Preston thinks he must sell the hall, he takes a walk into the garden and the maze he enjoyed as a child. The place where he dreamed of unicorns and other fantasies. This time his fantasy is erotic and in real form as the head gardener takes the yard boy right there, in the middle of the maze, by the statue! A voyeurs view allows Preston the release he desires but he is left wanting, craving what the yard boy was gifted. When Preston returns to the maze, he gets exactly what he’s craved and been left unfulfilled by his wife. Just like that, the hall is off the market!

Seducing the Footman by Brent Archer: Oh I love the twist at the end of this story! Trenton thinks he is doing the seducing of the footman, John. John appeases Trenton just enough to rock his world then turns the tables and takes his virgin ass… or does he? John is in good standing as Trenton’s footman and he’s set up for a nice comfortable position and the chance to tour the world. But, nothing is as it seems with this savory morsel!

Booting by Salome Wilde: Two men enter an inn asking for a room under the pretense of brothers traveling when one of their horses goes lame. Yeah right. Davie knows better. He’s a ‘boot boy’ and no one can hide the quality of boots at least one of the men is sporting. Those boots belong to a Lord and the other is probably the Lord’s footman. Davie decides a little blackmail is in order but what he gets instead of quick cash is buggered and a promotion. Not bad for an evening at the inn!

Brass Rags by J.L. Merrow: Historical BDSM! I love a good kink in a story but this one was a surprise! Robert is saved from jail and loss of a job by Lord Algy. The reason? He caught sight of Robert in the stables buggering a young lad quite steadily. Oh how he wanted that lad to be himself. Lord Algy is currently without a valet because his was his former lover and starting acting out and not keeping to his class. No matter what he and Algy were up to in the bedroom, he needed to know his place and keep it in the bedroom. Of course Algy is paying for his continued silence as to their bedroom affairs. Robert isn’t sure what his new Lord wants. They finally break the ice, Robert asks Lord Algy how he can accommodate his needs. The level of kink Lord Algy dabbles in was shocking! Piss play, spanking, domination, Lord Algy loves it all. Robert is new to it but plays along well and even begins thinking ahead to their next time–wink, wink!

Overall, there was a nice variety of stories in this anthology. The best thing about anthologies is that the stories are perfect length for an indulgence here and there. There is also something for everyone. I quite enjoyed the twist that all the stories embraced. The servants were definitely not taken advantage of!


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Blog Tour for Active Duty Anthology edited by Neil Plakcy

Active Duty:
Gay Miliatry Erotic Romance

Published 17 June 2014

Published by Cleis Press

Edited by Neil Plakcy


Do Ask Do Tell

The military has never been sexier when these hunky heroes serve their country and each other in Active Duty: Gay Military Erotic Romance, an anthology edited by Neil Plakcy. Experience the thrill of romantic trysts in the middle of battle, witness the everlasting bonds that develop between men who have put their lives on the line for one another day after day, and swoon over the charismatic charm and hard bodies that only the most disciplined of soldiers possess. With the abolition of the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, being gay in the armed services has never been more accepted, and this collection has fourteen stories celebrating the freedom of our heroes to love and to lust after whomever they desire.

In Shane Allison’s “Weekend Leave”, a man falls in love with a soldier after a night at a bar, an Air Force captain can finally marry his beloved in “Soaring” by Michael Bracken, and when it comes to hierarchies in the military, rank certainly has its privileges for the Sergeants in Bearmuffin’s “Semper Fi Wrestlers.” The stories in Active Duty are as touchingly honest as they are sexy and will give readers a newfound appreciation for these men in uniform.

“The public displays of affection between soldiers and other men, the first same-sex service academy prom dates, and the first same-sex military weddings serve to illustrate something we have known all along—that gay men are strong, brave and
resilient, the very characteristics that make a great soldier.”
—Neil Plakcy, from the Introduction

Our Thoughts:
What’s not to like about an anthology? The stories are short so you can grab the book and read one if you have some time while on lunch break, or several on a lazy, relaxed day. The Active Duty anthology offers 14 diversely different shorts, definitely something for everyone! I will highlight a sampling of the stories that I enjoyed in Active Duty.

Marine Guard by Dirk Strong: Marine Security Guard outside the embassy in Italy catches the eye of embassy worker Adam Burr with a keenness for history  (and later art) and a beautiful smile. When Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is repealed, Lucas Roemer comes calling and Adam is not going to turn the smart, sexy Marine away. Pasta anyone?!

So, Then by Emily Moreton: Mike and Danny have been a Navy couple for a while. Mike wants to go to Pride and isn’t afraid to show off his gay pride, Danny is not in favor. Danny is no longer active duty due to an injury and had turned to academia. He fears for Mike and any repercussions he might face if someone sees him at Pride. Mike finds the perfect distraction for his man, a distraction he will love– Freddie! Room for one more?!

Liberty by Dominic Santi: I loved this short because it had a sci-fi/fantasy feel to it and that really set it apart. Also, it was a story I wanted so much more of. I could read a whole book on these guys. Husbands Eric and Caleb are on a short leave before their next jump to Earth. Each mission is dangerous and they have the battle scars to prove it. Now they need to decide if they are ready to become parents. If their donations are deposited before the jump, the surrogate will be ready to deliver upon their return from the mission. These two potential daddies are hot to the core and oh so loving. Baby makes three?!

Soaring by Michael Bracken: Captain Hunter and Scott began their relationship when it was not safe for Captain Hunter to be out and proud. His career was on the line and he wasn’t willing to give it up so close to retirement. After a stolen weekend together they knew they had something special.  Captain Hunter just couldn’t take the chance and walks away. The distance doesn’t last long and finally they both agree to hide their love and be very discreet. The short story is their wedding day! They didn’t waste any time tying the knot and declaring their love once they could with the repeal of DADT! The end is so sweet it will leave you verklempt! Husband, my husband?!


About the Editor:

NEIL PLAKCY is the author of nineteen novels and collections of short stories, as well as the editor of many anthologies for Cleis Press, including Hard Hats, Surfer Boys, Skater Boys, The Handsome Prince, Model Men, Sexy Sailors, and Beach Bums. He began his erotic writing career with a story for Honcho magazine called “The Cop Who Caught Me”, and he’s been writing about cops and sex ever since, most recently with seven novels in the Mahu mystery series. He lives in South Florida. Find him at his website www.mahubooks.com.

Buy Links:

Cleis Press
All Romance eBooks

BLOG TOUR: Excerpt & Giveaway – Foolish Hearts

FoolishHearts CoverRelease Date: January 7, 2014
Published by Cleis Press
Review Copy from Publisher

About the Anthology (from Goodreads):
In the age of online dating, one night hook-ups, and getting dumped via text, it seems like romance has left the building. Best-selling authors and die-hard romantics, Timothy Lambert and R.D. Cochrane are back with a follow-up to their critically acclaimed Fool for Love, one of Insight Out Bookclub’s bestselling titles ever, with a collection of gay romance that incites love (and lust) in readers everywhere.

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Our Thoughts:
Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction is an anthology wrought with emotion  –  love, sadness, heartache, anger, fear, hope…each writer attempts to put you in touch with some aspect of love or need. There is absolutely, unequivocally romance laced throughout.  It’s refreshing to see in a time when the trend is more toward shocking the reader than wooing them with love stories.

We decided to take a second to highlight just a few of our favorites from the book:

1. Struck by ‘Nathan Burgoine – Absolutely didn’t want this story to end! Such great writing and characters, we could totally relate to Chris in just a couple of pages. Lightning Todd is…interesting. His enthusiasm is infectious, and I totally wish there was a series of stories in which he helps people find their bliss.

2.  Tea by Jeffrey Ricker  – This story is heartbreaking and incredibly moving. The way it’s told in flashbacks conveys a wealth of emotion.  Amazing how in such a short time I felt so connected, enough that I nearly shared tears right along with the main character.

3. Foundations by Timothy Forry – The most emotional story I (Kristy) read in the Anthology. The sense of urgency and tragedy just within reach really propels the story.  The struggles, hurt feelings, the strength to admit mistakes on both sides and to commit to rebuild from their foundation. More please!

4. The Green Sweater by Mark G. Harris – Cute and entertaining! I liked the way the whole story played out in good humor and yet had a sweetness to it. A complete misunderstanding over an ugly green sweater and a potential budding romance. Who knew there would be two obnoxious green sweaters at the same party? Nice execution and perfect level of snark and sweetness.

5. Touch Me in the Morning by Greg Herren – To wake up after a night with a guy you’ve held a torch for is disheartening. More so, is the fact that even after putting up fronts they both just want to have someone to touch in the morning. The security, safety and love, could be the more they both want but are just too afraid to ask the of other. Friends to lovers and all the scary feelings that come with taking that leap.

6. Victoria by Erik Orrantia –  A true gem! I loved the remote location and unique protagonists. Twenty years together and Osvaldo wants to make it official and get married. Daniel thinks it’s ridiculous to bring attention to their situation. He doesn’t want the unnecessary paper or the ostracization from their small town. Then Daniel realizes it is the right thing to do to protect their ranch but also because Osvaldo wants it. Such a sweet story of love, devotion and taking a risk for the one you love.


Don’t take our word for it, check out an excerpt from Hello Aloha” by Tony Calvert, in Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction.


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About the Editors:
With Foolish Hearts, editors Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane have teamed up again to bring us an anthology of stories that are both sexy and tender. Foolish Hearts is a collection of heart melting fiction by some of today’s best-known gay authors, with stories that range from the quirky to the steamy.

Timothy J. Lambert and R.D. Cochrane are both prolific novelists, and their stories have appeared in numerous collections. Together they have co-published several novels including When You Don’t See Me and He’s the One. Both currently reside in Houston, Texas.