Friday, September 19, 2014

Apollo’s Curse by Brad Vance ~ Interview, Review and Giveaway

Apollo's Curse

I LOVE nice surprises! And this was a totally unexpected surprise that completely broadsided me to my utter delight. We have Brad in the SSBR house with us today and he tells us why he’s wandered away from his usual style with this novel and has gone out on a limb. Interested? Then read on……..


Author Interview

We have Brad Vance with us today on the Sumptuous Sinfully Sexy Sofa as I have just read his novel Apollo’s Curse. I received Brad’s book some time ago, June to be exact, but I was born with a TBR list I’m never going to finish, so it went on the waiting list and has been moving up patiently ever since. I have now read it ~ and OH MY!! What a delight this book is……….

Mark: Hi Brad, welcome back to Sinfully Sexy. I have read a few of your books now, which of course have always been very good. But this one was definitely, for you I feel, a new kind of style and book. It completely broadsided me, caught me off-guard so to speak,  but WOW! - what a pleasant surprise - LOVE IT! Would you say that this book wanders away from the normal Brad Vance style a little or have I just still not read enough of your books?

Brad: Thanks, Mark!  So glad you loved it!  Oh, it wanders very far away from the normal Brad Vance style, for sure.  I guess it’s closest to my paranormal “Rob the Daemon” stories, in that it’s first person and more comedic than my romances.  The romances have light touches here and there, of course, but are mostly about the feelin’s.

Mark: There is absolutely no Brad Vance style, hot, man-sex in this book. It’s only eluded to in a fleeting moment between Dane and Paul. This didn't matter for me, not one bit. The story, plot, characters and concept carried the whole thing beautifully. Some might say that this isn’t a typical M/M romance. Why did you decide to go for the more “traditional” (if I may say that) line of romance and leave the more graphic eroticism completely out of the frame this time? What exactly is then “romance” in your view?

Brad:  Yeah, it’s a very atypical M/M romance.  And I know I went out on a limb with it.  There’s a great quote by Dean Koontz.  “If I had to write the same thing time after time, I’d become a plumber.”  I wanted to stretch myself, I wanted to see if I could write something that was totally different from what I’d been doing so far.  Everyone I know in the biz is always talking about “branding, your brand, brand identity,” etc. etc.  And the BradCo brand is “hot sexin’ all the way,” even in the romances.  And the greatest risk I could take would be, of course, going against that “brand.”

So what I was “supposed” to do, if I wanted to write something without any sex in it, was to start a whole new pen name.  To be honest, I *did* start the book as a M/F romance, in which Dane was really Diana LOL.  It was going to be the first book by my sister Angelina ;) but I realized a few things.  First, I just didn’t have time or energy to start from ground zero with a new pen name.  And second, and more importantly, I was writing my *own story* here, about being a writer and having a muse and having broader literary ambitions.  It was about a guy name Dane, but really, obviously, in the broader sense it was about “Brad Vance.”  To stay true to the story, it had to be a Brad Vance book, even if its roots were in the old style romances, the Harlequins and Barbara Cartlands that ended with a kiss on the last page.  Of course, the old romances end with a kiss because that’s the end of the heroine’s adventures.  Now she’s gonna get married and she’ll live “happily ever after,” i.e. nothing interesting will ever happen to her again.  Whereas in Dane’s case….well, I don’t want to give away the plot and say any more, though :)

And I think a romance is any journey that brings two people together at the end, which of course “Apollo” delivers! 

Mark:  As I mentioned in my review for me there seems to be two lessons to be learned for new authors or authors going down the self-publishing road.  One of the lessons for me was the use of cover photos and maybe using stock photos or homing in on one particular model. I know the model on the cover of this book has been used on several other covers from M/M authors in various cropped, turned and edited versions and even on another book of yours A Little Too Broken if my eyes aren’t completely deceiving me. What is your take on stock photos and book covers? Was it intentional to use such a popular model for the cover of this book considering the storyline?

Brad: Good eye!  Yep, that’s even Francesco modeling as Tom on “A Little Too Broken,” and on many of my other titles as well.  Well, I really do what Dane does, which is go over hundreds or thousands of stock photos, looking for one that will illustrate a story.  It can’t just “illustrate” it, it has to match it - the man on the cover has to be as hot as the contents behind it.  If I put generic beefcake on the cover, then, to me, it looks like there’s generic product inside. 

And I found my muse in Francesco Cura, who’s the cover model for almost all my books. Over time, I even found myself altering stories to fit the picture.  I had former Special Forces soldier Sam grow his hair long in Sam’s Reluctant Submission, Part 3, because I had a fantastic Francesco pic to go with it.  But it also made sense, because in the story, Sam is starting a new life, and growing his hair long would be the ultimate sign that he wasn’t a military man any more. 

And Francesco really was the inspiration for “Apollo.”  I mean, if you go through all those pics online, and every time one really leaps out at you, excites you, it’s the same guy, then...that’s your muse, right?  And I know he’s so popular, but there’s a very good reason for that.  I wrote that in Apollo, if you don’t mind my quoting:

“And what surprised me was that there were not only so many images of him, but that he could be so many different men in so many different pictures, different settings – he was the tender lover with the rose, the snarling Viking, the cool guy in a band, the Miami Beach tool, the shifter/werewolf, the business man, the college kid, the gym rat, the outdoorsman, the poet, the drill sergeant, the soccer player, the swimmer…  As I looked at each picture, I was totally convinced that I was looking at the real man, that that was who he really was…until I looked at the next.

And yet, always, he was clearly recognizably himself – Paul.  It was those eyes, reminding you that he was in there, somewhere, behind the image, and you’d never know which one he really was, he was all of them, he was whoever you wanted him to be…”

So that was really the seed of “Apollo.”  And once I realized that he was my Muse, then your mind starts traveling down those mystical, supernatural directions, when you think of a Muse as an elemental being who inspires you.  So one day lightning just struck and I thought, what if he WAS a supernatural being, what if these photos WERE his way of providing inspiration? 

I didn’t know anything about Francesco Cura when I wrote the book - I didn’t want to know the truth, since it’s often so disappointing.  To me he was a cipher, and I could create whatever character I wanted for him.  Only after I finished the book did I look into him, and discover that he’s both the model and the photographer!  So all those scenarios are dreamed up by him, staged by him, modeled by him and photographed by him.  I mean, what a talent, right?  So he really is a Muse, isn’t he, given how many writers use him on our covers.  I even wrote him a letter after I found out that he was also the photographer, but he never responded.  I didn’t think it sounded stalker-y, but I guess you never know.

Mark: I just loved the whole thread about Greek mythology connected with the mysterious Paul running through the book. Are you naturally a history buff or did you have to put your research in here?

Brad: Oh, I’m very much a history buff.  A really well-written narrative history with fascinating characters is better than most novels.  But I very much had to do research!  It’s been a long time since I read the Greek myths and I had a lot of refreshing to do.  And I did a ton of research on Venice, for the scenes there.  I spent hours and hours using Google Street View, picking up the little man and dropping him all over the city and “walking” it, to decide where Jackson would live, where Dane would dead-end at the Grand Canal, where Dane would stay, what he’d see, where Dane and Paul would finally meet again…  Thank heavens for Google!  I feel like I’ve been to Venice myself now.  And while I created the island of Kryptos, I had to look at a ton of tourist videos and Rick Steves videos and what not of various Greek islands, to make sure my imaginary one “felt real.” 

Mark: Dane is a gay author writing M/F romance because it sells and becomes incredibly successful. I thought this was a great twist on the perspective, thinking about the number of excellent female authors writing M/M. Was this intentional and how do you think Dane would cope with writing M/F erotica?

Brad: Well, I think you definitely need divine intervention to write about a kind of sex you’ll never have :)  “Angelina” did write a novel, eventually, and I wrote my first M/F sex scene for it.  And fortunately I had a female editor, who helpfully told me, “no woman would have an orgasm that fast,” et cetera!  I’m much more comfortable with M/M because I know how it works, inside and out, so to speak - not just the plumbing but the sensations, the feelings, what hurts, what hurts so good…  I was only able to write M/F when I realized that as long as I was writing from the woman’s POV, I could focus on how hot the guy was!

Mark: This book for me was like reading a reflection on the romance writing industry and having a bit of a good humoured laugh about it, especially in Part One. There are some wonderfully funny moments and dialogues between Dane and the girls that had me laughing out loud. Would I be right to think this was one of the intentions in the book?

Brad: Oh yeah!  I love the old Hollywood movies where the supernatural element makes for comedy, whether it’s “The Ghost and Mrs. Muir” or “Heaven Can Wait” or whatnot.  And let’s face it, some of what sells in the world of erotica really is absurd and comical.  I totally made up a book titled “Her Billionaire Shifter” as a satire of how many tropes you could cram into one story, but I know someone’s got to be working on that right now!  I’m going to NYC in October, and I’m thinking about going to see “50 Shades: The Musical.”  I bet it’s hilarious.

Mark: The other lesson for new authors would be about their use of social media. What is your experience here and what words of advice would you give to new authors?

Brad: Wow, I would say, be yourself.  Don’t try to concoct an artificial persona you think will present well on social media.  I started out feeling like I had to do the whole bullshit thing, you know, “I’m so excited to tell you about my new release!” and that I needed to sound like a brochure all the time.  And that’s why I hated doing it, to start out.  Because it felt wrong.  And it was wrong!

But now I’m just me.  If I like or share something on Facebook, it’s because I really do like it, I really do have something to say about it.  If you do that, then the friends you make as an author will really be friends, the fans you make will be hard core, die hard fans.  Focus on Facebook; unless you’re Oscar Wilde or Shit My Dad Says and you’re full of epigrams on a daily basis, Twitter isn’t the most valuable use of your promotional time.  There’s so much spam on Twitter that your stuff gets lost there.  Start a blog and blog a lot.  Make sure people know what you’re doing, and post lots of excerpts of your WIP.  Someone may steal your big idea :) but only you can write it the way you do.

Mark: Dane, Sherry and Rose embark on a team writing venture. Each having their own strengths, are actually moderately successful and writing under the name of Pamela Clarice. What is your opinion about writing in collaboration?

Brad:  Well, Angelina collaborated with a team for her first book, “The Cowboy’s New Bride.”  And it was really a dream in terms of the process - I worked with a couple of people who are very good at selling and marketing, and who had a lot of good editorial advice for that market.  The book hasn’t done that great, but, that’s because I went off program LOL and put it in the 1930s on a “divorce ranch” in Nevada, instead of either the old west or current times, which is what the market really wants.  But so it goes!  You have to take risks.  I’ve never written in collaboration with someone, I don’t think that would work for me.  But a great editor is a gift from the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and Aubrey Rose really did that for me on this book.

Mark: This story I found had a strong theme of unrequited love. Dane develops feelings for someone he thinks will never be interested in him. However, he is reading the signals totally wrong as is Jackson the other half of this romance and it takes a third person, Father Herc, to point out the obvious to Dane. Do you think that people regularly misread the signals sometimes?

Brad:  Absolutely, 100%.  The story I stuck in there that Dane writes, “The Next Keith,” that totally happened to me.  I was completely clueless that this HAWT guy was coming on to me in a bar until after he moved on, when all my friends were like, well, why are you still here with us?  A lot of us have self-esteem issues that make us misread signals.  There’s this concept called “The Ladder of Inference,” and you climb the rungs as you create them - oh, he’s not looking at me, that’s because (inference) I’m not hot enough for him, (conclusion) I won’t look at him anymore because I’m not good enough and (inference) it’ll piss him off if I bother him.  When in reality, he’s not looking at you because he IS interested and wants to play it cool, you know?  But you don’t look back so he infers that YOU’RE not interested…  

And Jackson is...well, he’s not exactly Mr. Rochester, but for him to be the Lover in the old-school romance, he did have to present as, if not brooding, at least a bit mysterious.  The Darcy/Rochester dude never ever lets on that he’s into you until the crisis forces his hand :)

Mark: Another message I found in this book was the one that many people look down their noses at romance novels for being inferior to other forms of literature. Dane finds out this is not the case and neither should it be. What do you think about this?

Brad: I certainly had that snobbery, when I was young.  In school, and in artistic culture in general, I was taught the whole high/middle/lowbrow distinction, and the high road was the only road if you were “talented enough.”  It was very elitist, and I think there’s a classist/economic elitism in there as well - you didn’t have to lower yourself to the “trade” of plot if you could write “beautiful sentences.”  (And if you had a trust fund or tenure or a MacArthur grant and you didn’t have to write to make a living!) 

But the more I read, the more I realized that great fiction is ALL ABOUT PLOT.  All the “luminous prose” in the world can’t hide a shitty story or boring characters.  And romance is, when done right, the greatest vehicle for character development there is - you have two people who are changing each other in fundamental ways through the course of the story.  The reason people complain about “instalove” that you see in some romances is because it completely abandons the idea that these two people will change, which is what really drives a good romance.

Dane writes romances on the Island of Kryptos that have a powerful effect on the natives, stories that change their lives, and that has an effect on how he sees his own storytelling talent.  I know that fiction *can* change your life, can give you a whole new perspective on things.  

Mark: Also we learn that Dane has sacrificed his own creative values and beliefs in order to write to the market and provide what the market wants e.g. I have to write a story about shifters because that’s the in thing and what’s selling at the moment, but don’t really want to. Do you think many authors suffer from this dilemma?

Brad:  There are really two paths you can take to success.  You can make a million dollars doing what everyone else is doing, copying and following trends.  It’s a good living, writing shifter stories and werewolves and billionaires.  Or, you can make a billion dollars, by doing your own thing, going out on a limb, creating the trend.  J. K. Rowling said, “I’m going to write a series of seven doorstoppers about a boy wizard.”  That’s crazy talk!  Now she’s a billionaire.

What people really want is the comfort of the familiar, the tale told by a fireside for thousands of years, but different enough that it makes the old tale feel all new again.  Rowling did that, she took two existing genres and mashed them up - the classic British public school novel like “Tom Brown’s School Days,” and the LOTR/wizard quest.  Who is Draco Malfoy but Flashman with a broom?  That’s what I tried to do with the fairy tales that Dane creates on Kryptos, blend the modern and the classical and do something new.

I think the key is to find a happy medium.  You can write “art” for yourself, lots of sentences about a crumbling marriage, or you can write for an audience.  But to do that well, and to be able to look at yourself in the mirror and know you’re not “selling out,” you have to give more than is expected, more than is required for the million dollar story.  For the “Sam’s Reluctant Submission” series, I was following a trend, because the keywords that were selling erotica were “reluctance” and “submission.”  Okay, I need money, I’ll write a story about a guy who reluctantly submits and then finds out he likes it. 

But...then I started writing it, and suddenly Sam wasn’t just a sexy military guy/cliche - I researched what Special Forces was really like, and what SERE training was like, and I turned him into a guy who was on a journey, a “journey into gayness,” as he figured out his sexuality.  He was a real person who really develops his sexuality and his sense of self as he goes, and struggles to maintain his independence even as his relationship with this controlling billionaire (I know!) develops - in the usual story, the billionaire submits you and you’re done, but I knew that while Sam might submit sexually, psychologically it was going to be a different story.  So it started with cheesy tropes, and then became something more as I messed with them, subverted expectations.  And now, when all those other reluctant submission stories are in the dustbin of history, Sam and Derek are still big sellers for me, because I pleased the audience, and myself.

TLDR?  Write a good story.  Even if you’re writing “for the market,” write something more than just what will sell.  Put just a little more into it than you would need to do just to make a saleable object.  Craftsmanship shows.  A great romance or space opera or thriller is always a better work of art than a mediocre hash of “luminous prose.”

Mark: So all in all I thoroughly enjoyed this book from beginning to end. Is there anything else you would like to say about it or any other things for your readers?

Brad: I’m so glad that you and a lot of other people are finding “Apollo” and loving it.  It was a big risk for me, it was a huge departure, it’s not a big seller but I’m so proud of it, and I think if I do somehow leave a “literary legacy” some day, “Apollo’s Curse” will be in the first paragraph of my obituary :)

Mark: Well thank you Brad for taking the time to visit us today on Sinfully Sexy. I would like to wish all the very best for the future and will look forward to having you back again with us again sometime.

Brad:  Thanks, Mark!  

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Title: Apollo’s Curse

Author: Brad Vance

Publisher: Self-Published

Released: 1st May 2014

Genre: M/M (contemporary)


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All Dane Gale ever wanted was to be a successful writer. After a few sessions with his new friends Rose and Sherry at a romance book club, well, the more romances they read, the more they're convinced they can do better. And do they ever! They join their creative forces to become "Pamela Clarice," self-published romance novelist. When they look for a cover model for their first book, Dane sees the photos that will change his life.

Paul Musegetes is the world's most popular romance cover model, and the most secretive. Dane soon finds himself obsessed with this supernaturally handsome man, and when he meets Paul at the Romance Writers' Ball on the Summer Solstice, he and Paul connect for one night of passion...

After that night, Dane's a writing machine. He can't stop writing romances, and every story he touches turns to gold. But he also finds that he can't write anything but romances. And soon he's spending every waking moment of every day writing another after another...

Then Dane finds out that this Midas touch has a heavy price. When the year is over, he'll never write again. Not a romance, not a serious novel. Nothing. Not even a grocery list. And that leaves him with only one option - find Paul, and get him to break the curse. But before he can do that, he'll have to track down Paul's equally mysterious photographer, Jackson da Vinci...

Mark’s Review

Have you ever opened a book and been completely broadsided by it in a positive way? Well, this definitely was the case for me when I started to read Apollo’s Curse by Brad Vance.

It was seriously not what I was expecting in any shape or form, especially going by the cover (more about that later), but it caught my interest from the word go, drew me in deeper and deeper, until I couldn’t put my Kindle aside for five minutes. I was addicted to this book, a magical read that took me to romantic places, introduced me to romantic characters and sent me on a journey of human caring and love.

First let this be said, it isn’t a typical M/M erotic romance with hot sexin in every chapter, well to be honest there is no sex in it at all to speak of, only once is it eluded too but is a great plot device which we only discover later in the book. So is it an M/M romance? Not at all in the “what you expect today” sense, but the romance is there which comes later in the book, well to be more specific right at the very end, just like the first kiss where everything is well at the end and we all go skipping off into the sunset. Sounds a little clichéd, right? But let me tell you this book was neither clichéd nor schmalzy. When it happens, it is heartfelt, beautifully timed and yes, very romantic!!! The book just left me with a big happy, soppy sigh!

The book is in four parts each part having it’s own particular plot and setting. All thought out exceptionally well in my opinion. The first part is a little like a book that has been written by an author, about authors for authors. BUT you don’t have to be an author to thoroughly enjoy this read. Confused? Don’t be, it is an excellent story. Brad in my own personal view of his work, which has always been good, has surpassed himself with this story. Has knocked me for six with a work that I just wasn’t expecting. Just loved the whole idea, concept and writing style in this book ~ Apollo’s Curse.

First we have Dane the author of the story, it’s in first person so you’re reading his story. He’d spent years writing a book and when it was published, self-published to be exact, it never did anything so you can imagine the disappointment and disillusion when you have spent so long creating and forging a work of art and it does nothing. This is Dane’s story. Dane has also never been in a successful relationship or ever really truly been in love, which is quite sad really. So how can he write about something that he has truly never experienced first hand. He just has Ryder, a friend with benefits arrangement, and that suits him just fine. When it comes to love, he seems to be a bit of a cynic.

He joins a book club, well more like two wine drinking women who talk about romance novels. Why he does this is another story. However, I loved the characters of Rose and Sherry, it was like a gang of three romance musketeers that develop, Thelma and Louise +1. As you can imagine, gay or not, it isn’t really Dane’s thing but he goes and meets Rose and Sherry and discovers he gets along with them famously. I loved this little clique and what starts out as a joke turns into a moderate success. So the pseudonym Pamela Clarice is born for three people who write romance novels. What they discover is with the right marketing and when you write for the market, then you can sell almost anything. Well, I’m sure it still isn’t as easy as that, it still needs to be edited, honed and refined, but together they are strong. A little like a witch’s coven. So obviously the dilemma here for any author is, do I prostitute my art and write what the market wants and sell books or do I stick to my creative muse write what I want and don’t sell anything. I guess many an author has asked themselves this question in the past and have faced that dilemma. I loved the banter and conversations this band of three have with each other. Especially when they’re brainstorming all the ideas for their next romance story with all it’s sub-genres, shifters, cavemen, etc. a little bit of a comical dig at the romance industry, but I LOVED it!!!! There were times for me where it was laugh out loud funny. The dialogues remained realistic and fluid, never stilted or fake.

So here is the lesson no. 1 in self-publishing ~ with all the plethora of self-published books out there today an author has to be up on social media and get the word out there otherwise it isn’t going to do anything and this was the case for Dane. You can’t expect the book to speak for itself. Authors today have to treat marketing their work as a business too.  I could Dane’s despondency over the whole matter. It is a dream of his to be a successful writer, but totally disappointed after the end result goes live. I guess it must be horrible writing something, after all it is your baby, and then…….. and then……. it doesn’t even get past first post.

This whole idea and concept really caught my imagination, why not? I mean this is something that a lot of authors know only too well and I’m sure can really appreciate. For me it was like having a peek into the world of writing and the trials and tribulations that go along with it. Excellent. Seriously well written, paced and plotted. I feel when you write about something you know well, it brings a new dimension into the words.

Now we come to lesson no. 2 in self-publishing ~ cover art or more specifically cover models. The girls and Dane need a cover for their book and after googling hundreds of pictures land on a gorgeous cover model called Paul. Paul does everything, Paul the fireman, Paul the cop, Paul the doctor, so this is now their cover guy. However, they fall into the same trap I feel that a lot of self-published authors do too when they choose a model or picture that has been used a hundred times. It’s OK I reckon if this cover model has appeared nowhere else on your books, but once s/he starts turning up on everyone else's books, then time to find a new one in my opinion. I loved the way Brad develops the relationship that Dane has with this online model. Almost to a point of obsession where it is even affecting the sex with Ryder. Here for me was another stroke of genius. The actual cover photo / picture for this very book I have personally seen like a hundred other times used as a cover in M/M romance. It may have been cropped, rotated, turned, etc. but always the same guy. No idea if this was Brad’s intention but I thought, yes, perfect cover for this book.

Dane develops what I can only describe as an intensive online crush on this guy and by pure luck, or so Dane thinks,  meets him at a writer's ball which takes place every solstice. Paul gives him a gift but there is a price to pay. This we only realise later, so another excellent bit of subtle writing that gets the reader wondering and definitely raises  the question marks, but never enough to give the whole game away yet. What ensues after this is absolutely brilliant. Pure genius. We now have a supernatural-mystery element that enters the story, connects with Greek legend and leads to what I must say was a riveting read. Nothing is revealed at first, everything normal we think, but as the story develops we realise that something more is at work here. Dane now can’t stop writing, Paul becomes his creative muse and when he sees something, smells something, hears something, it turns into a story in his head immediately and is published. Up until now Dane has never really been able to write a sex scene, no problem now though after the encounter with Paul. Well, Dane goes from rags to riches overnight. I loved the way that Brad got this idea across of the the author and what’s going on in his head. When we read about the idea for Dane’s next story, we get it more like a list of ideas and in note form to distinguish it from the real narrative of the story. Again I felt this was a great piece of writing, to do this and not to confuse the reader.

Anyway, this gift that has been given to Dane takes him across to Europe, Venice to be more precise, where he meets Paul’s photographer. Welcome to part two of the book. Why does he do this? Well, that’s giving too much away, but suffice to say they first become friends and decid to try and find the elusive Paul. This takes them to a small island in Greece. Here Dane finds something and more importantly discovers something about himself and his writing. From here on in things become seriously intriguing to say the least. This was the point at which I could no longer put the book down and was looking for excuses to continue reading, even if it meant taking a longer coffee break at work than normal - ahem! The part on the Greek island was beautiful, Dane discovers his story telling has power and shows through this the basic nature of human caring as it should be and that everyone needs to be loved in someway. The imagery of people sat around a fire listening to someone tell a story is romantic enough in itself. this whole idea that Brad creates is gorgeous. I sometimes ask myself whether with all the high-tech entertainment we have today maybe we are missing out on something truly wonderful in its simplicity. *sigh*

I just loved the character of the  Greek Orthodox Priest Father Herc. He was great, a real caring paternalistic father figure, but also funny and upbeat at the same time. However, a very wise man indeed. I loved their conversation about Dane’s writing, where he has ended up being a successful romance writer, even though that was never the original plan and he feels that romance is below his station a little as a writer.

“Never underestimate the power of fluff. The power to make someone smile, to get them away from their cares for a moment. Maybe later, you’ll have helped them feel stronger, maybe later they will read Ulysses, yes?”

On the island Dane discovers the power of writing romances and decides that it is really, actually OK. However, there is one problem and that is Jackson, Paul’s photographer who Dane has now developed feelings for which go way beyond friendship. We now have your typical case of unrequited love ~ beautiful! How does Dane get together with Paul or does he even? Then you’ll have to read the book.

I have read a number of books from Brad, but this one is by far the best one I have personally read to date. The writing is concise, dialogues are entertaining, realistic and seriously funny at times, the story develops at a nice pace and always leads the reader on. When I think there is absolutely no erotica or steamy sex in this book at all, it just goes to show that a romance doesn’t need this if the writing and the story are heartfelt, has something interesting to say and brings across a message of love and caring. The ending for me was just perfect! page-divider-01

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WOW – Brad will be giving away 10x eBook copies of Apollo’s Curse. So if that just hasn’t increased the chance of a win then I don’t know what will. You know the routine, just enter the rafflecopter draw below.

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  1. Hi! I'm not here for the giveaway. I want to tell Brad that I've just finished Apollo's Curse and I loved it. The characters are great (I really like Dane's sense of humour) and the story is really entertaining, and the end... OMG!!! Unconventional endings are so my thing. Thanks for such a great book.

    1. Thank you so much! So glad you liked it. Please leave a review on Amazon and Goodreads, it will help a lot :)

  2. Can't wait to read this author!

  3. Great interview and review Mark. I just finished the book as well and like you was surprised that it wasn't the "typical Brad Vance" I've read in the past, but really enjoyed it nonetheless. :)

    1. Thanks, Debra! I'd really appreciate a review on the 'zon if you can :)

  4. This sounds like an interesting book. Even if I don't win this will be added to the very loooooooooooooong list of books that I have found while visiting this website

  5. What a generous giveaway! Thanks for the chance.

  6. sounds great!
    please count me in

  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, Jodi! Long time no see, glad to see you around again :)

  8. looks like an awesome book I can't wait to read it.

  9. apollos curse sounds really good. i would love to read it

  10. Please count me in, sounds like a great book

  11. The book sounds great. Awesome interview

  12. Always looking for a good /M read!!!

  13. This sounds great, can't wait to check it out! Always love your reviews!

  14. Love Brad's work!

    1. HI CHRIS! Good to hear from one of my superfans :)

  15. This sounds awesome! Loved the interview!

  16. When it comes to great M/M reads, you haven't let me down yet!!!

  17. Very thorough review, and I'm intrigued!


  18. Interesting. Thank you for the review =)

  19. Great review and interview - this looks great! Thanks for a shot at winning a copy.

  20. As a new mm romance reader I am on the lookout for authors of this genre. This sounds like a great book. Thank you for this Awesome Giveaway.

  21. This sounds like a very interesting and different kind of book.

  22. THANK YOU to everyone who's entered the contest. I'm asking Mark now if I can expand the # of winners...WOW 1600+ entries. I think I can swing more than 10 ebooks for that many interested parties...

  23. I loved the interview, thank you for doing it.

  24. That was one hell of an interview! Thank you both, Mark and Brad! And thank you Mark for the great review. The book sounds good and although I haven't read any of Brad's books before I really am looking forward to start soon. Thanks for the giveaway!