Tag Archives: escape publishing


GUEST POST – by Auralee Wallace

I’ve had a number of readers express confusion about whether SIDEKICK is a stand-alone book or a series. First let me say, I am so sorry! Kind of. I know SIDEKICK ends with some questions unanswered, and I also know that was a horrible thing for me to do. I think I need to go into a little bit of the history to explain how SIDEKICK came into being in order to clarify why I did this.

To begin, I always intended SIDEKICK to be a series. I love series, and when I came up with the idea for SIDEKICK, I was so excited about all the different directions I could take the character Bremy St. James. After I finished writing the first book, however, the cold, brutal realities of the publishing world set in. At first, SIDEKICK’s future looked bright. I had a number of nibbles from agents, but they all can back with the same verdict – it’s funny, it’s smart, but it may be just too out there to be an easy sell. After all, the urban fantasy world is pretty well saturated, and most of the genre focuses on the moody and broody. Well, Bremy St. James is a lot of things, but moody and broody she is not. That was a purposeful intention on my part, though. I wanted to depict a young woman who was resilient, who didn’t break into a million pieces by every hardship that came her way, whose everything wasn’t wrapped up in a man… someone heroic, even if at times her heroism is slightly delusional.

Anyway, at this point, a friend of mine recommended I pitch directly to editors. That’s when things really started to happen. All of the sudden, I had a bunch of offers! Good times. I finally settled on Escape Publishing because, to use a modern cliche, they really seemed to be picking up what I was putting down. The thing with my ebook contract though is that I didn’t get a multi-book deal with a schedule. Don’t get me wrong Escape has been extremely encouraging about sequels, but it’s just not guaranteed.

So where does SIDEKICK 2 stand? Well, I hope to have it completely done by the end of October. Let me say, I have had so much fun with the sequel. My poor Bremy who never lets anything get to her is about to be truly tested to her emotional core; Jenny, her mysterious twin, is about to step into the light; and, of course, everybody’s romantic relationship will be shaken…Oh! And, of course, there will be more Dark Ryder. Once it’s done, I will have to submit to Escape to see what they think. I am thoroughly optimistic that they will be pleased (SIDEKICK, I think, has had a good debut, so that helps). At that point, I should have a release date, a cover reveal, and all that fun stuff.

So in the meantime, if you’re hoping for a sequel, write a review or give SIDEKICK a rating if you haven’t already (Goodreads, Amazon, KOBO, B&N, whatever!), recommend it to a friend, or just keep your fingers crossed.

Thank you to everyone who has expressed interest, and, once again, I apologize for the confusion!


ABOUT Auralee

photo (1)Auralee Wallace is an author of humorous commercial women’s fiction and occasional guest blogger at Penny Dreadful Book Reviews https://pennydreadfulbooks.me/. She is a member of the RWA, and her debut novel, Sidekick, a superhero urban fantasy, placed as a finalist in the Virginia Fool for Love Contest, The TARA Contest and The Catherine. Sidekick has been picked up by Harlequin’s Escape Publishing and is due for release June 1st, 2014. Auralee has an undergraduate degree in psychology, a Master’s degree in English literature and has worked in the publishing industry for a number of years before teaching at the college level.

Auralee has always been fascinated by the power of stereotypes in terms of race, gender, and disability and how those beliefs colour our understanding of the world and of each other.

When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children and three rescue cats isn’t writing or playing soccer, she can be found watching soap operas with lurid fascination and warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard. She can also be found on Twitter, Goodreads, Facebook, and her blog http://auraleewallace.com.


SidekickHeroes meets Bridget Jones in this brilliant, hilarious debut novel about a girl who just wants to save the world…

Bremy St James, daughter of billionaire Atticus St James, has been cut off from the family fortune and is struggling to survive in a world that no longer holds its breath every time she buys a new outfit. To make matters worse, her twin sister is keeping secrets, loan sharks are circling, and the man of her dreams — a newspaper reporter — is on assignment to bring down everyone with the last name St James.

Things are certainly looking bleak for the down-and-out socialite until a good deed throws her into the path of the city’s top crime-fighter, Dark Ryder. Suddenly, Bremy has a new goal: apprentice to a superhero, and start her own crime-fighting career.

Ryder has no need for a sidekick, but it turns out the city needs Bremy’s help. Atticus St James is planning the crime of the century, and Bremy may be the only one able to get close enough to her father to stop him.

Now all she needs to do is figure out this superhero thing in less than a month, keep her identity secret from the man who could very well be The One, and save the city from total annihilation.

Well, no one ever said being a superhero would be easy




The Year of Blogging Dangerously – Beta Reading, Ranting and Reviewing

On this date in 2013, an innocuous blog was created Penny Dreadful Book Reviews. At the time, a fact that was significant probably only to a handful of people, if that, hopefully there are more of you now. A few days after I wrote my first post I clearly remember casually mentioning to my husband that I had started a blog and he asked me how many followers I had when I told him proudly that there were four. He laughed and then proceeded to list my three closest friends. He was right but missed my childhood neighbor albeit that was a curve-ball after all since they had never met. In retrospect it might sound more auspicious if I said I lost a bet or something, but truly the reason I started this blog seemed arbitrary at the time.

They say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, however aren’t we all guilty of this particular crime? I have been taken in countless times by gorgeous covers and then found the substance within sorely lacking. Typically I chalk it up to “you win some, you lose some,” today being the first anniversary of my blog’s creation I was reflecting on how I came to start it in the first place. Somewhat ironically it was a case of as Wiki states prejudging the worth or value of something by its outward appearance alone that led me to this place.

Throughout my teens and even into my early twenties I entertained dreams of becoming a writer when I “grew up”,

I know, I know. Who didn’t?

But I was the one in English class who was regularly told that I was one of the best (in more than one school I might add) and as I write that sentence it occurred to me that that was out of thirty some odd students and that I may not have been truly very special at all! Give me a moment …that is a hard pill to swallow. Regardless, I have taken writing courses and know my way around a sentence BUT I later realized to my chagrin that I really had no stories to tell still don’t. Like Cartman, I maturely decided to go home, I was content to quietly lose myself in the work of others or so I thought.

I can be standoffish, to be honest I am not sure why. Unlike most babies perhaps I just never got past the “stranger danger” stage, however once I have finished eyeing you mistrustfully and decided that you pose no real threat good luck shutting me up. I met Auralee Wallace at work, against my will, I would like to state for the record. A friend, who completely unlike myself never met a stranger, was having a long drawn out conversation with her while I lurked in the background wondering when we could return to our regularly scheduled programming. Then the unthinkable happened she transferred into our department, I should preface this somewhat so you don’t think I am a complete bitch. Auralee is one of those elegantly beautiful blondes, and my past dealings with the beautiful people had left me with a healthy mistrust of their ilk. But as I am sure you have already guessed, she was the exception to the rule, a blonde who was not only gorgeous but smart too. Admit it you would have hated her as well! Worst of all she’s nice and despite my best efforts I grew to adore her.

During the decade and a half that I have known her, she completed her masters, taught college English and has written four manuscripts. Quite without realizing it I have been beta reading for a number of years and unofficially reviewing for longer. We have had some very satisfying discourse on the implications of geriatric pregnancies on Bold & the Beautiful, my love hate relationship with New Adult literature and the strange appeal of erotica just to name a few. In between these often bizarre discussions she would cleverly dole out Sidekick in bite sized pieces wanting to know what I thought. I would gobble up these offerings demanding more and tactfully sometimes more so than others, pointing out things that I liked and very carefully, authors are SENSITIVE, things that I didn’t.

She, unlike myself was not content to take her toys and return to more hospitable climbs that are not littered with rejections from agents and as of this time last year she “was”, take note that is significant, was unpublished and having heard just about all that I ever wanted to on the subject. I decided the solution was ridiculously easy.

  1. Start a blog
  2. Get noticed
  3. Share my opinion on what I read in the meantime
  4. And get her published already duh!

Well perhaps promoting Sidekick was not my sole focus but it was definitely a motivating factor. I am a fixer at heart after all, and though I may have an inflated sense of my own self worth I would like to think I helped somewhat. At the time Auralee assured me if her seventy three year old father could manage a blog that I could. It was significantly more difficult than anticipated but I completed my first post shortly thereafter (read a few frustrating Friday nights later), a short 4-Star review of Tracey Garvis GravesOn the Island was the result, the rights of which have been sold to MGM for a screen adaptation. Now there is a movie I will look forward to.

Before I knew it, it was almost as if the blog became its own entity complete with Facebook and Twitter pages both of which I largely eschew in my personal life. I quickly learned that I was a tiny minnow (possibly only plankton) in a vast ocean and that the day I posted for the first time was not as ground breaking for everyone as it was for me. However times change and while I am no Great White as yet in the vast book sea that I have declared my home, I have had the opportunity to meet some wonderful people and the chance to pick their brains about their amazing stories. I have read some brilliant work that I would never have gotten the opportunity to read and for that I must be thankful that Auralee came up with such a ingenious suggestion. Best of all the wise people at Escape Publishing saw what I smugly identified years ago and are releasing Sidekick June 1st for you all to enjoy.


How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ― Dr. Seuss


BLOG TOUR & GIVEAWAY – Beckoning Blood by Daniel de Lorne


Beckoning Blood Banner 450 x 169

  • Title: Beckoning Blood
  • Author: Daniel de Lorne
  • ISBN: 9780857991553
  • Series: Stand Alone
  • Published: May 1st 2014 by Escape Publishing
  • Format: eARC
  • Genre: Paranormal gay m/m romance
  • Word Count: 82,000
  • Source: Publisher

Beckoning Blood Cover 1000Book Description: A gripping, blood‐drenched saga about twin brothers, the men they love, and the enduring truth that true love never dies — no matter how many times you kill it.

Thierry d’Arjou has but one escape from the daily misery of his work at a medieval abattoir — Etienne de Balthas. But keeping their love a secret triggers a bloody chain of events that condemns Thierry to a monstrous immortality. Thierry quickly learns that to survive his timeless exile, he must hide his sensitive heart from the man who both eases and ensures his loneliness…his twin brother.

Shaped by the fists of a brutal father, Olivier d’Arjou cares for only two things: his own pleasure and his twin. But their sadistic path through centuries is littered with old rivals and new foes, and Olivier must fight for what is rightfully his – Thierry, made immortal just for him.

For a free read, introducing you to the “heroes” of Daniel’s book, head to his website at www.danieldelorne.com/the-boys.


PD: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

DL: Beware of hot vampires? No, not really. I’m happy for people to come up with their own meanings from the book. There are plenty of themes that I think run through it – like the bonds of family, obsession versus love, or the weak versus the strong – but as long as readers feel something for a character, I’m happy.

PD: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?

DL: I haven’t yet completed the second (and potentially the third) book so I might get to a point where I wish I hadn’t written something in the first one. But that’s all part of the fun with writing, trying to make things fit believably.

PD: What are your ambitions for your writing career?

DL: I want to be a best-seller within the m/m genre. It’s not going to happen overnight but one day it will happen. That means writing a lot more books. I’d like to hit the twenty-book mark as a minimum, too.

PD: Which writers inspire you?

DL: Robert Jordan, Katherine Kerr and Anne Rice – all for their world building and their sagas.

PD: What have you written?

DL: Beckoning Blood is my debut novel. I’ve written three other drafts for books so far. I’ve also written a few short stories but nothing that’s been published. I’ve also written some song lyrics for a friend’s opera. That was fun.

PD: What are you working on at the minute and what’s it about?

DL: I’m on a bit of a break while Beckoning Blood is doing the rounds and soon I’ll get back onto the sequel. The first draft is done but I’ve had time to think about it and it looks like I’ll have to rewrite the whole thing. I’m ok with that as I like this new idea better.

PD: What genre are your books?

DL: Paranormal and fantasy with m/m romantic elements.

PD: What draws you to this genre?

DL: I love creating other worlds and creatures, taking us out of the ordinariness of everyday life. And, being gay, I’d prefer to read about gay characters (or men who love men).

PD: How much research do you do?

DL: Enough for authenticity. There’s a real danger in doing a load of research and getting so excited about it all that you try to put everything into the book. The result ends up being a textbook that no one enjoys. I’ll pick a few elements that I really want to ring true and focus on them. The rest I’ll make up or embellish to work in my favour. That’s probably why I’ll never write Regency. The attention to detail needs to be so exact, whereas I’d rather focus on the characters and how much trauma I can put them through.

PD: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?

DL: I start with a basic idea of characters and plot but then, when I sit down, I let it flow. Often things will pop up and take me along a certain route and I’ll just go with it. If I had an outline, I’d quickly lose interest because it’s like giving away the ending.

PD: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?

DL: Absolutely. And I’m so happy with the cover I’ve been given. They say “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but everybody does it. If a cover isn’t attractive, I’m unlikely to want to pick it up. If there’s some element that intrigues me (perhaps the title or it’s come recommended), I might overlook the cover and then move onto the blurb (which better be good enough to make me want to buy it).

PD: What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?

DL: Good reviews help your book sales. Bad reviews may harm them. As a reader, I’ll use reviews to choose what book I read next (failing getting a recommendation from a friend). Unfortunately, not all reviewers are the same and not every reviewer is going to like what I like. So in a lot of ways you need to take them with a pinch of salt.

PD: What do you think of “trailers” for books?

DL: Before I started writing and trying to get published, I’d never heard of book trailers. If an author has one, great, but I can’t say I’ve ever watched one, other than for doing research on whether I’d do one. They might work for some people. I’d like to make one for my book but I worry I’d never create anything that matches the vision I have in my head and a crap trailer is worse than no trailer at all. I can also imagine I’d lose a lot of time putting one together when I should be writing.

PD: How can readers discover more about you and you work?



This creature had sentenced him to a lifetime without Thierry. He groped for any scrap of his brother that remained, but he was empty. With each passing minute, strength galloped through his limbs. It hardened him, but without his twin he would always be weak.

Olivier helped him stand. ‘Why did you do this to me?’

‘I’ve already told you. I saw you in the forest with that other male. I had to have you for myself.’

Olivier sneered. Look how the mighty crumbled under the weight of loneliness. ‘That was Thierry, my brother.’

The vampire growled and lashed out at Olivier, but he just let him go. Still weak from Olivier’s excess, the Blood Hunter slumped to the ground in a shameful heap. Olivier’s heightened mind was already working faster. Better. Honed for survival. And the sting of Thierry’s absence was even keener. If he was going to live eternally, he certainly wasn’t going to do it with a pot-bellied, greasy-skinned eunuch.

‘But it’s fine. You can have both of us.’ Olivier knelt down, moved close to his ear and murmured hotly, ‘We’re twins.’

He flicked the yellowed ear with his tongue, kissed along his pudgy neck and around to his mouth. He paused and looked into those golden eyes, wondering what colour his own would now be. Would they be this otherworldly? Someone could go mad for those eyes.

‘Imagine the possibilities.’

He kissed him, and rocked his hips against the slowly increasing feel of the Blood Hunter’s choked erection.

‘But there’s something we have to do first.’

Beckoning Blood Copyright © 2014 by Daniel de Lorne Permission to reproduce text granted by Harlequin Books S.A.


If not for the compelling cover, then Beckoning Blood must be read simply for originality`s sake. In twenty seven plus years of reading anything and everything I will say that this is the first time that I have come across twin homosexual vampires. Beckoning Blood could have easily sprung from the unlikely union of vintage Stephen King, Anne Rice with a dash of Victoria Holt thrown in for interest`s sake.

Much like Romulus and Rebus, Thierry and Olivier are two halves of a whole. Thierry is the good twin, the one who has borne punishment time and again for the misdeeds of a twin whom he loves and despises in equal measure. Olivier adores his twin and is not willing to share Thierry with anyone even his lover Etienne. When he is changed into a creature of the night, he offers his twin to the monster double crossing him as soon as he is assured of eternity with the only one Olivier truly loves Thierry.

Deprived of his sole mate Thierry is resigned to innumerable soulless years until at a house party he meets a man so like his lost Etienne he has no choice but to pursue him at any cost. Though decades have passed Olivier is equally determined that his twin will remain only his.

I enjoyed Beckoning Blood, in a genre glutted with copycats this inventive storyline was a refreshing change of pace. It is particularly challenging to make the tortured vampire anything more than a caricature these days yet Daniel de Lorne has achieved this in spades. Daniel`s writing is visceral, yet spare making Beckoning Blood an easy book to devour. I am looking forward to reading more by this talented author.


Daniel-de-Lorne1Daniel de Lorne writes mostly about the loves and trials of hot and sexy paranormal men – and creatures.

He grew up in Perth, Western Australia, and developed a fascination for the mythical and magical early on. Daniel wrote stories from a young age but it was high school biology class he remembers fondly as providing an excellent cover for writing stories that were filled with teen angst and fantastical creatures.

From there it was just a short jump to creative writing in university, where Daniel really indulged his love for the gothic, particularly the vampiric. And plenty of essays on the topic gave it all an air of respectability.

After university he used his skills for good. He wrote about wildlife conservation for eight years before taking a break to explore Canada with his partner. It was while in this great northern frontier that Escape Publishing accepted his first book, Beckoning Blood, for publication.


Beautiful Illusion ARC Review – Jacquie Underdown

BIIn a moment your life flashes before your eyes, seconds before a semi drives your car into the path of an oncoming ambulance. That’s the end right? Not necessarily. You wake miraculously unharmed, sharing your room with a lovely man. Could it be anything but a dream?

A beautiful, spiritual story about a woman who meets the man of her dreams — and then wakes up…

The last thing Leah thought she’d get out of a shocking car accident was the perfect boyfriend. But there was Brennan in the hospital bed next to hers — equal parts charm, cheek, and chocolate. Their relationship, their love, her life, is almost too good to be true.

Then, to Leah’s horror, she discovers that it is. Her new life with Brennan is only a fabrication of her injured mind — a coma dream that ends when she wakes up.

Struggling with injuries and grieving for a man that never existed, Leah battles to put her life back together. But a series of coincidences hint that for some people, love can transcend all barriers and achieve the impossible.

Jacquie Underdown‘s Beautiful Illusion is just that, it reads lightly with a dreamy, ethereal quality. Leah awakens after a major traffic collision to find herself rooming with the man who was being transported in the ambulance her car collided with after the semi rear ended her car. Brennan is the perfect roommate, funny, attractive, single and in possession of contraband of the best kind, chocolate. Their sojourn in the hospital is all too short, following which Brennan and Leah’s flirtation soon turns to love.

As all things that seem to be to be too good to be true often are, so to is the life that Leah has woken to, or so she  finds when she wakens in truth. Her father and sister have no knowledge of Brennan or the life that they had begun to build together what was months prior in her mind but in fact only days had passed since the collision. She faces significant recuperation from the injuries sustained in the accident. Leah cannot even properly mourn the end of her relationship with Brennan, to everyone but herself he doesn’t even exist.

I found the premise of this book fascinating, the ability of the subconscious mind to create another life seemed entirely plausible and captured my attention. My criticisms of the story itself are in fact few. I believe I would have enjoyed Beautiful Illusion more if the reader was not made aware in the synopsis that the relationship with Brennan was a construct of Leah’s mind, because I knew she was dreaming I found I kept waiting for her to wake up and realize the truth. When she did awaken so much of the story had been devoted to her life with Brennan in the coma that the remainder of the story seemed a bit rushed and I would have enjoyed further development of the Leah’s life after the coma.

Jacquie Underdown has penned an enchanting, fantastic tale of a love that shouldn’t exist but somehow does. I know that I will look forward to reading more of her work in the future.

AUTHOR: Jacquie Underdown

RATING: 3 1/2 Stars

GENRE: Fantasy Romance


Disclaimer: ARC was kindly provided by the publisher for an honest review.