Winter Holiday Round Up Molly Reviews: This Wish Tonight Anthology

Blurb:
Warmth, family, good cheer? Not everyone associates these things with the winter holidays. For some, it’s a time of longing and reflection. Mischief Corner Books invites authors to create stories set during the holiday season and centered on the fulfillment of a wish or desire.

Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris

Glass Artist Lucius Price works desperately to create a holiday symbol intended to help the town of Villatopia heal from a rash of unsolved hate crimes against gay men. When he is targeted next and his studio set ablaze, handsome firefighter Oscar Ramos rescues Lucius from the flames, creating a different kind of fire during an unforgettable Christmas.

Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth

Zeke is a loner his late forties, living in a small cabin in rural Montana. Nathan has been traveling across country on foot since the zombie apocalypse, dealing with his OCD in an empty world.  Zeke just wants someone to love. Nathan just wants to be home again.

Fate brings them together in a winter wonderland, but their own fears and baggage may tear them apart.

Is there still hope for love at Christmas, at the end of the world?

Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone

Remi has prepared for over a year to be the king’s gift at the annual celebration of the Eve of the Great Frost on the planet Niobe. Twelve men, taught under the tutelage of the Pleasure Master, hope to be the one (or one of several) chosen to spend an erotic night with the mysterious alien king who always wears a mask. But when Remi’s turn comes to be presented to His Majesty, everything goes wrong from a costume malfunction to breaking protocol. What happens next is a shock, and a night he will never forget.

Where To Buy:
Smashwords || ARe || Amazon || Kobo

Review:
This anthology was so much fun. I truly enjoyed all of the stories. There’s something for every kind of reader here. And with all of them being feel good holiday stories you are sure to have happy feelings as you read.
Overall Stars:
Four and a half
Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone
I’m a huge fan of Ms. Rathbone’s work and this story is no different. There’s not as much of the lyrical, poetic quality I’m used to in her fiction. However there’s still hints of it as you read and it made me enjoy this story so much more. The world building was quick and effortless. You don’t realize you’re transported to Niobe until you’re immersed in the story and you feel like you’re there. Remi was sweet. I liked his insecurities. Like Shin said, it made him more real and more open. Shin was fascinating and I would love to learn more about him. What we do know about is how kind he is and gentle with Remi. The pacing was a little quick. But the story told here was wonderful and felt longer than it is. Ms. Rathbone is great with an economy of words and can say more in fewer words  than most can. I would read a sequel to this story the hot minute it came out. The worlds she creates are amazing and I always want to spend more time there.
Stars:
Four and a half
Wonderland by J. Scott Coatsworth
I really enjoyed this story. I found the world Mr. Coatsworth created fascinating and the reasoning behind the post apocalyptic world being completely hilarious but also totally plausible in many ways. Nathan and Zeke were interesting characters and I liked that we got to know them so well. They both focused on survival and making sure they had what they needed. The tiny bit of mysticism in the story was a wonderful touch. I figured it out quickly but I liked getting to see how Nathan handled it as he learned about it. The survival aspects of the story are amazingly researched. You can tell serious thought was put in to what would still be around, what would actually work, and what could be figured out with what’s on hand. There’s a wonderful happy ending for the story, or as happy as can be expected for a world completely decimated. But you can tell Zeke and Nathan are going to be together no matter what gets in their path.
Stars:
Four and a half
Fear of Fire by Gregory L. Norris
This story was sweet. It was fun and a little bit tropey with Oscar and Lucius both having crushes on each other before meeting and falling in love quickly. But it wasn’t too far fetched or so out there you rolled your eyes. Oscar was such a typical alpha male protector. But I adored how he handled himself with Lucius. It was well written and made you like him more. Lucius was a gentle soul but clearly wanted to bring some light to his community. These two have a nice happy for now ending. I’d love to read a sequel with these two to see how they handle a relationship after things calm down. Mr. Norris is a new to me author and I liked his voice. I’m hoping to read more by him in the future.
Stars:
Four

Excerpt:
Eve of the Great Frost by Wendy Rathbone
I stood quiet and still as instructed, my hands clasped behind my back, my head slightly bowed. The red jewels on my sleeves caught the light, winking. All twelve of us glimmered in rubies.

We waited.

The pleasure master was a short, portly man with gray-silver hair tied tightly back. His black shirt was trimmed in white fur. He held a traditional leather whip, black as onyx, that he gestured with the way a conductor of an orchestra might use his baton. Since the new ways and laws came into effect, whips were for ornament only, never used for punishment.

Some said the new young king wanted to do away with slavery for good. I did not know. If it were true, why were we here tonight, clad in the Cloaks of Erotic Promise? Was it for the ritual and nothing more?

My stomach lurched at the thought. I wanted more than ritual. I wanted this night to prove to myself I had something to give. I’d trained hard and with great dedication. I longed to belong to another in pleasure, in surrender. Decadence, sensual ardor, red passion’s heat—these were things I craved. To be worthy. To be wanted. I would not have sold myself otherwise. I knew my family would be taken care of by being chosen, but honestly, I was doing this for myself.

I stood on that gold stage worried, nervous, excited. My fingers clenched to fists, something we were told not to do. The sounds of revelry began to diminish, the volume softening across the ocean of dancing, moving bodies until only the voices from the guests outside could be heard wafting on the cool breeze.

Heads turned. The celebrants looked in the direction behind me. I was not allowed to move. I could not see what was happening, but I could feel it: the electricity of his approach; the change in air pressure.

The king had made his entrance.

The air seemed to flutter about me. Light and flame, gilt and tinsel—everything glowed. The great hall seemed too small to contain it all.

I could feel his presence looming closer, a psychic weight, a change in the dimensions of reality both subtle and dramatic. Everything blurred, all heat and distant ringing of stemware and held breaths mixing with raised pulse rates, the inner hum of awe, the rustle of silks as people realized they now occupied the same space as a legend.

Every part of my being wished to break formation, to turn and look upon the origin of this catalyst of change and upheaval, this man who’d brought an end to our suffering ways.

Only my vow of discipline kept me in my place.

The pleasure master said from somewhere behind me in a voice of wavering bass tones, “Welcome, Your Highness, Emperor of Niobe, Greatest of Venerables, King Shin. I have the honor of presenting to you on this glorious evening the revered and most exotic gifts of our land, the finest and most beautiful physical representatives of our male citizens, trained in the esteemed art of exquisite gratification.”

An enthralling voice replied, “The honor is mine.”

About The Authors:
Gregory L. Norris
I am a full-time professional writer, with numerous publication credits to my resume, mostly in national magazines and fiction anthologies. A former writer at Sci Fi, the official magazine of the Sci Fi Channel (before all those ridiculous Ys invaded), I once worked as a screenwriter on two episodes of Paramount’s modern classic, Star Trek: Voyager and am the author of the handbook to all-things-Sunnydale, The Q Guide to Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Alyson Books, 2008).

In late 2009, two of my paranormal romance novels for Ravenous Romance (www.ravenousromance.com) were reprinted as special editions by Home Shopping Network as part of their “Escape with Romance” segment – the first time HSN has offered novels to their customers. In late 2011, my collection of brandy-new terrifying short and long fiction, The Fierce and Unforgiving Muse: A Baker’s Dozen From the Terrifying Mind of Gregory L. Norris is being published by Evil Jester Press. I have fiction forthcoming from the fine people at Cleis Press, STARbooks, EJP, The Library of Horror, Simon and Shuster, and Pill Hill Press, to name a few.

J. Scott Coatsworth
Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currenty working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction.

Wendy Rathbone
Wendy Rathbone has been writing for many years in the fields of science fiction, fantasy, horror, romance and erotica. Her poetry and short stories have been widely published in magazines and anthologies, and won many awards. She is a Writers of the Future alum (second place, vol 8) and has two stories in the classic, still in print, Hot Blood series, as well as a story in the scifi volume of the classic gay anthology Bending the Landscape.

While she has always written GLBTQ characters in her fiction and fan fiction, in 2011 she began to delve deeply into the realm of male/male romance and erotica. She has many indie m/m romance novels, the most recent being “The Moonling Prince” and its sequel “The Coming of the Light”. This year she sold her newest novel “The Android and the Thief” to Dreamspinner Press for publication in April, 2017.

Wendy lives in Yucca Valley, CA with her partner of 36 years, Della Van Hise, and is currently hard at work on a new m/m romance novel.

Author Contact:
Gregory L. Norris
Website: http://www.gregorylnorris.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/gregory.norris.10

J. Scott Coatsworth
Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

Wendy Rathbone
Website: http://wendyrathbone.blogspot.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wendy.rathbone.3
Twitter: https://twitter.com/wendyrathbone1

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One response to “Winter Holiday Round Up Molly Reviews: This Wish Tonight Anthology

  1. Pingback: Review: Wonderland – Molly Lolly – J. Scott Coatsworth

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