Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Project X by Nephlyim ~ Guest Post, Review and Giveaway

Project X

WOW – now this was a dark and mysterious read. Thoroughly enjoyed the whole shady concept of experiments and the fight for life in this book. How far do you go in the field of research to get your results? If a dark, mystery-thriller is your thing then you had better read Mark’s review…………………..

Nephylim is also with us today and is talking about…….


Guest Post ~ My Legal Journey

When I first left school, I was way too shy to go to university. The thought of all those people I didn’t know gave me panic attacks. I immediately got a job with a bank and worked there for about five years. After the birth of my daughter in 1986, I re-evaluated my life and realised the very thought of spending the rest of my working life in banking filled me with horror. I therefore decided to go back to university as a mature student.

As part of the banking exams I did, I had an introduction to Family Law and I ate up every word. I therefore decided to take a law degree. I started at Cardiff University in 1988, sat my Solicitors Finals (A postgraduate vocational qualification) in 1992 and finally qualified in 1994.

Since then, I have worked almost exclusively in Family Law. I also trained as a mediator in 2003 and shared part of my career between acting as a solicitor and mediator.

I started off, as many people do, with high ideals of helping people and making the world a better place. In many small ways, I think I did, but on the way I learned a few uncomfortable truths. These include:

1. Some people don’t want to be helped

2. Some people won’t help themselves

3. There are definite patterns in human behaviour. Chiefly for our purposes

· Need to control others

· Belief in being owed something – by another person, society or the world

· Appallingly bad skills of communication with partners.

· Total lack of respect for self and others.

4. There is no such thing as justice

I’ve used my experiences with each of these in my writing and have applied them to my stories

1. Some people don’t want to be helped

Love in Chains – no matter how many people tell Nye he has to get away from Adam’s clutches, he doesn’t want to listen, although deep down I think he knows.

Weeping Lily – Jayden doesn’t want to talk about his issues, let alone allow himself to be helped.

Dangerous Liaisons – After his traumatic experience, Daniel actively runs away from help.

2. Some people won’t help themselves

The Face In the Window to some extent. Haze has been running from his issues for the past two years and has never fully engaged in trying to help himself. Ace has allowed himself to be abused by his brothers, and after everything that happens, he still begs Haze not to tell on Logan

The Unfairness of Life Gabriel has been running all his life, refusing to face the issues that have been snapping at his heels and threatening to destroy him.

The Runaway Ciarrai takes extreme action to avoid having to face and resolve his issues.

3. Desire to Control

Love in Chains Adam wants to control every aspect of Nye’s life, including whether he gets to keep it or not.

Fallen Lumi, the vampire, is in complete and utter control of his ‘stable’ of beautiful boys. It’s only when he finds Star and Bridge and comes up against things he can’t control, that he is able to move on

Enigma Silver was a slave and was conditioned and controlled so much that when the control ended he was unable to function.

4. Duty/Expectation

Project X There are all kinds of little expositions and examinations of duty/expectation. Matthew agreeing to go to a particular university because Cory wanted it so much. Responsibility of a parent to take care of their child, and a father’s expectation that their child will do as they’re told, and accepts anything done to them. Feeling responsible for a car accident.

Enigma Silver had a duty to obey his master in whatever he was told. He continued to blindly obey every command.

The Runaway Ciarrai stays in a situation that makes him unbearably unhappy because he feels he has a duty to his family, his work colleagues, and others.

5. Communication.

Pretty much all of them. Communication is key to any kind of relationship and lack of communication is an invaluable tool to bring depth to characters, by showing how they each deal with the misunderstanding, creating tension and moving on the plot. In particular there have been huge misunderstandings in

Enigma Happens ALL the time because Silver sees the world so differently to everyone else.

Finding Alex No one understands the way Sacha’s mind works which lead to numerous minor, and devastating misunderstandings and mis-communications.

Memories of Forgotten Love The lack of communication here is imposed and has dramatic consequences.

6. Respect, or lack thereof

Fallen Luma has absolutely no respect for his boys or for human life as a whole, until Star comes along, then he finds respect is infectious and the infection spreads fast

The Face in the Window Ace’s brother Logan has absolutely no respect for him and torments him as much as he can. In allowing Ace to be abused and in not allowing him his freedom, his parents show him lack of respect. A motivating factor in Haze’s personal development is his respect for Ace.

Enigma As a slave, Silver got no respect, and it takes him a long time to learn how to accept it. Even self-respect is a difficult concept for him.

As well as these general concepts, I have used practical experiences directly in some of my work.

Love in Chains was written deliberately to explore the nature of manipulation from both sides. It was, I suppose, almost a social experiment, in that I couldn’t understand why so many of my clients chose to remain in abusive relationships, even when they’ve been given an avenue of escape. So many times people came to me in terrible distress after having been treated appallingly by a complete bastard. So many times I’ve helped them obtain and injunction to break the monster’s hold on them. So many times, when the proceedings are over; when they’re safe and independent; they go back to the same abusive asshole.

Enigma II Fighting the Man was an exploration of the wider effects of social services involvement with the family of a child they perceive to be at risk, for whatever reason. I have had many people comment that the things I’ve written would never really happen. That is absolutely not true because I have sat at conferences just like the one I describe. I’ve spoken to social workers just like the ones I’ve depicted, and I’ve heard every one of the arguments they raise. Whilst none of the fiction has happened in reality (as far as I’m aware) every one of the ‘professional facts’ has.

Project X is very much an exploration as to how wrong people can be in their perceptions of others, and their interpretation of other people’s perceptions of them. Let’s face it, Matthew wouldn’t know love if it slapped him in the face with a wet fish.

There are structures and themes that run through my writing that I think are linked directly back to my training and experience in law. For one thing I’ve had problems with writing techniques such as contractions and phraseology. There are no contractions, and very little grammar in legal documents. Fortunately, with the help of some pretty awesome editors, I’m getting to grips with that.

Where The Stories Can Be Found

Gay Authors (free reads)

Love in Chains (warning, this is the bad face of BDSM with evil manipulation and humiliation. It’s dark)

Fallen (warning, lots of very weird sex)

Dangerous Liaisons


Finding Alex

Featherweight Press

The Face in the Window

Memories of Forgotten Love (coming soon)

Romance First Publishing

The Unfairness of Life

Wayward Ink

Project X




Title: Project X

Author: Nephlyim

Publisher: Wayward Ink Publishing

Release: 23rd September 2014

Genre: M/M (mystery-thriller)


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Morgan Bentley is a bastard. Always was and always will be.

At least that’s what Matthew Hopkins thinks. Unfortunately, Morgan is also a brilliant law student, and easily eclipses Matthew, academically and socially.

Matthew insists he hates Morgan. According to Matthew’s best friend, Cory, perhaps he doth protest a bit too much.Cory has received the chance of a lifetime in the form of an internship with ITM—Information Technology and Medicine—the prestigious research company where Morgan’s father is the CEO. Too inquisitive for his own good, the naturally curious Cory stumbles on a deadly secret inside of ITM. What he has learned will tip the balance of everything, but for good or bad?

Just what is the mysterious Project X?
What is Morgan’s involvement?

Matthew has to sort fact from fiction, friend from foe, as his world is turned upside down and inside out, and nothing can be the way it was.

Mark’s Review

Morgan Bentley is drop-dead gorgeous, sexy, highly intelligent, self-assured, confident and rich. He also knows it. So what does that make him? Yes, a bastard! When we first meet Morgan he is the star student at University, the students flock around him like bees around a honey pot and the lecturers pander to his talents. The sort of person that everyone really loves or hates and for Matthew, is it love or hate? Matthew refuses to become one of the Morgan followers and hates him with a vengeance, but this is really only a smoke screen for the true feelings that he has for Morgan and his best friend Cory can see right through it even if Matthew won’t admit it to himself. Matthew is really the only other student that can challenge Morgan intellectually so that makes them perfect sparing partners in the legal moots they have to do while studying law. In the National Moot Championships the lecturers decide to team Morgan and Matthew up and this is the beginning of love-hate relationship. But can one person really be that intelligent? So intelligent it is almost freaky in its nature. As though he can anticipate people’s next moves before they know it themselves.

Nephylim brings across the internal struggle going on in Matthew brilliantly. The fact that Matthew is always talking about him in a negative way obviously points to some kind of infatuation even if it is only self-denial on Matthews part while he is trying to convince himself that there is no way he has fallen for Morgan. Well, I suppose many people try to avoid what is exactly staring them in the face by going totally in the opposite direction. As the saying goes, “He who shouts the most has the most to hide.” I felt at the beginning of the story this was definitely the case for Matthew. Cory and Matthew have been friends since they were children and Cory has no hang ups about his sexuality, Matthew always jokes with him that if he fancied trying “it” with a man Cory would be the first one he would do it with. But Matthew insists he isn’t gay and has the usual dreams of career, house, wife and family. Although we get the feeling this is also just a smoke screen again for the fact that he is relatively sexually inexperienced and doesn’t really know what he wants. Therefore the self-denial about Morgan fits perfectly into the scheme that in a way he is also trying to deny the strong sexual and physical attraction he is really feeling for Morgan. Cory sees this, but it is difficult as Cory has a crush on Matthew, but can’t bring himself to ruin the friendship that they share.

However, behind every so called bastard is probably a very sad bastard. Morgan has everything, but the one thing he doesn’t have is someone to really genuinely love. He gets no love from his father, his so called friends are only friends because of the status it brings them. So they are all very shallow about their motives for wanting to be Morgan’s friend. As Matthew and Morgan have to work together in a team for the moots, Matthew and Cory get more involved in Morgan's private life. Cory is a computer genius and gets an apprenticeship at Morgan's father’s company – ITM. This is a once in a lifetime chance as Morgan's father is very powerful and owns of the biggest biotech companies going. There is no love lost between Morgan and his father due to the fact that Morgan’s mother died in a car accident several years before taking him to a party when she was ill because his father had not time. His father blames Morgan for this and therefore the relationship is a horrible one to say the least. You could just feel the venom between these two when Cory and Matthew were invited to dinner with his father.

There are a few moments where Matthew catches Morgan with his guard down and we get a glimpse of the very sad and lonely person behind the bastard mask. I liked these little windows at the beginning that just give us a glimpse of Morgan's true self and suffering, but then he always does something to confirm his bastard status once again.

Like all computer geniuses Cory can’t resist a computer and while he is at Morgan’s stumbles across some information that piques his curiosity about some research project that Morgan’s father’s company is involved in, all very top secret. Well, saying that the information is secret to Cory is like saying no to child in a sweetshop. He gets his first warning not to sneak around in things that doesn’t concern him as there are powerful men who could harm and he could get into a lot of trouble comes from Morgan. Cory takes this to be one of Morgan’s complete bastard moments again the way he shouts at Cory. So while he is working for ITM Matthew starts to hear less and less from him which is unusual within itself as normally these two would be joined at the hip. In the middle of the night Matthew gets a phone call from Cory who is in a panic and sounding very frightened and instructs Matthew to get Morgan out of his father’s house as his life is in danger to meet Cory at a given location. Here I just felt that I maybe would have liked some more backstory on what was happening with Cory in the company that lead him to call Matthew in such a panic. I felt that this came out of the blue, it definitely added to the shock factor, but I think a lead in to why Cory called Matthew in such a panic would have been nice.

At this point the book takes on a massive leap in tempo and the race is on to save Morgan’s life. Oh my, this was so excruciating when you realise how terribly lonely Morgan really is and resigned to his fate. Due to the great writing I also now changed my opinion from Morgan hater to Morgan sympathiser – WOW! I thought that would never have happened going from the beginning of the book. My feelings and opinion really changed when Morgan opened up a little to Matthew in the garden at a party and you could see the helpless, lost child behind the facade. Matthew can’t resist any longer and when the walls come tearing down, oh my what an earthquake of a sex scene ensued. It was passionate and hot, but you knew that this was Matthews first time with a guy, I think it was his first time with anyone, so yes Matthew gets his cherry completely, well and truly popped. This made for such a tender moment with the more experienced Morgan taking the lead and gave Morgan for me an even greater depth of emotion, tenderness and caring. There is now no going back to the opinion I had of him as a bastard at the beginning.

The only thing I did think here was maybe a little too rushed was the fact that after this one time they start declaring their ever undying love to each other. I wasn’t sure what to make of this, yes, the dam is broken and Matthew’s defences over Morgan have crashed down around his ears, they have just had hot steamy sex which is intense if it’s your first time possibly, but I just felt this was still a little too early and too soon to be saying that I love you forever. So I sort of consoled myself with the fact that in the heat of the moment, with teenage infatuation and the race is on to save Morgan’s life I suppose it would be OK. Well, this sort of worked as the threat that their time could be very short together, I still found it was for me personally a little too full-on too soon. Also for Matthew to be saying all the way he wasn’t gay or at least trying to cover it up, then after this first time, all of a sudden he has no problem with it. I personally would have expected a little more reticence, insecurity, conflict and confusion going on within Matthew after his first time with a man then there actually was considering all the things he had said before, even though the strong attraction was there. 

But the race is now on to save Morgan and Cory is instrumental in this. I just loved the close friendship that Matthew has with Cory, a friendship that will last for ever. Real, true, bothers. You seriously get the feeling although Cory is in total conflict with his own feelings over Morgan and Matthew, there is now way he would ever let Matthew down. He would always be at Matthew’s side before Morgan, during Morgan and who knows in the future maybe even after Morgan. Cory is that true loyal friend who will stick with you through thick or thin. Cory to be honest was my most favourite character from the whole book. The three of them manage to get there feelings all sorted out which lead to some wonderful moments and heart-felt dialogues between the three. So now the conflict within the triangle are all sorted and the race is now on to save Morgan’s life. At this point we also learn what part Morgan’s father had played in the whole affair and sees the errors of his ways and by joining the research team to save Morgan in some ways tries to make amends with all those years he had treated Morgan badly.

Nephylim has written an intriguing mystery-thriller combining it with a wonderful M/M romance. It is dark, moody but ends with a wonderful HEA, full of closure and reconciliation. Yes, I’m a sucker for those books that end with forgiveness, the scene with Morgan’s father begging him to forgive him did bring a tear to my eye I must admit. It never gets too schmaltzy as even though Morgan’s dad begs for his son’s forgiveness, Morgan still remains very distant and wary but is prepared to give his dad a chance. As for Morgan and Matthew? Well, no doubt those two really have skipped off into the sunset hand in hand and most definitely found their HEA for sure. As for Cory? Well, I guess he’ll still be at Matthew’s side whenever he is needed as Matthew would do for him. I would like to think that Cory will now be able to find someone that he could love and love him back as much as Morgan and Matthew do for each other.



About the Author


Nephylim was born into a poor mining family in the South Wales Valleys. Until she was 16, the toilet was at the bottom of the garden and the bath hung on the wall. Her refrigerator was a stone slab in the pantry and there was a black lead fireplace in the kitchen. They look lovely in a museum but aren’t so much fun to clean.

Nephylim has always been a storyteller. As a child, she’d make up stories for her nieces, nephews and cousin and they’d explore the imaginary worlds she created, in play.

Later in life, Nephylim became the storyteller for a re-enactment group who travelled widely, giving a taste of life in the Iron Age. As well as having an opportunity to run around hitting people with a sword, she had an opportunity to tell stories of all kinds, sometimes of her own making, to all kinds of people. The criticism was sometimes harsh, especially from the children, but the reward enormous.

It was here she began to appreciate the power of stories and the primal need to hear them. In ancient times, the wandering bard was the only source of news, and the storyteller the heart of the village, keeping the lore and the magic alive. Although much of the magic has been lost, the stories still provide a link to the part of us that still wants to believe that it’s still there, somewhere.

In present times, Nephylim lives in a terraced house in the valleys with her son and her two cats. Her daughter has deserted her for the big city, but they’re still close. The part of her that needs to earn money is a lawyer, but the deepest, and most important part of her is a storyteller and artist, and always will be.


Connect with the Author



Purchase Links





Wayward Ink Publishing will be giving away on ebook copy of Project X by Nephylim. Enter the rafflecopter draw below ~ GOOD LUCK!!

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  1. Sounds good, congrats on the new release! And thanks for the giveaway.

  2. I kid you not when I say that while reading your review I realized my heart was pumping so damn fast! Wow! What a great review you've given Nephy, Mark!! I'm so glad to see how much you enjoyed her book. She's such a fantastic writer. Can't to get my hands on her latest book! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Thanks for hosting the giveaway. Book looks great.

  4. Sounds intriguing!


  5. love dark reads!
    please count me in

  6. Sounds really good. Thank you for the great review as well as the giveaway!

  7. It sounds like a really good read. Thank you for the giveaway and review =)

  8. I want to read Project X. Please count me in