Monday, September 28, 2015

Monday's Montage Mantlepiece: Sins of the Autumn

Book two in The Seven Deadly Sins Collection of Anthologies

The seven deadly sins: lust, wrath, greed, gluttony, envy, pride and sloth.

The Sins of Autumn weaves a general thread of revelation loosely tying these tales together. Wrath, gluttony and pride are explored in these hot m/m tales involving action, burning hot sex and out-of-this-world adventures that will leave you hoping for cooler weather—soon!

Hail Storm by D.J.Manly
D.J. Manly tackles the sin of wrath.

Chance and his buddies adore the band Hail Storm so much they form a tribute band in their honour—never knowing that Chance has a bigger connection to the lead singer of the group than he is aware of. At a fan reunion for the band, Chance finally meets the members of Hail Storm, and a secret related to Chance’s health years before is revealed.

Whisked into the world of rock ‘n roll, Chance will become torn between Hail, the brother he never knew, and the enigmatic Storm, to whom he is gradually losing his heart. Can he risk his brother’s wrath and confess the torrid affair he is having with the man Hail loves, or will Chance abandon Storm in order to keep his brother’s love?

Full by A.J.Llewellyn
A.J. Llewellyn explores the sin of gluttony.

Barney Calloway is a super-successful voice over actor in Hollywood. He is, however, extremely overweight. He has struggled with his weight his whole life. Things come to a head when he demolishes half his sister’s birthday cake before she can even set eyes on it.

Leaving her house after her party is over, he finds a business card tucked under his windshield wiper saying one word.


On the reverse side of the card is a toll-free number, which, out of curiosity he calls. A woman’s voice tells him his order has been processed. Order? What order? He goes home and falls asleep, waking in the morning to find he’s lost a hundred and three pounds. He’s gone from being a lard ass to a hot ass and nothing will be the same again...unbelievably, the changes aren’t necessarily for the better. His family members all react weirdly and an old love, Diego, really struggles with the new Barney. Will Barney ever have the life and the love he craves? And will he ever really feel...full?

Autumn Quest by Serena Yates
Serena Yates tackles the sin of pride.

The parchment thief has been stealing books and scrolls all over Naiman, but when he manages to enter the Royal Library, the Khan’s patience runs out. He decides it is time for a change of tactics and puts his youngest son, Bayar, in charge of solving the mystery of the thief’s identity. Bayar is as surprised about this as about the fact he is going to have a guardian—the ruggedly attractive Chinux.

Chinux is a bounty hunter of some renown and very much his own man. He relishes the challenge of finding the parchment thief and bringing him to justice, even if he has to ‘babysit’ the youngest prince in the process. When Bayar and Chinux discover the thief’s identity, they are shocked.

Will the quest to find and bring him to justice tear them apart or bring them closer together?

Hail Storm by D.J.Manly
When Hail Storm came to New York the first time, Chance was only thirteen years old. The year before, he’d been stuck in the hospital, waiting to die. His parents were extremely protective of him ever since he’d got his second chance at life. Although it annoyed the hell out of him, he understood. What he didn’t understand was why his father was so against anything that specifically had to do with Hail Storm. Chance had saved all his allowance for six months to purchase a ticket to their show. He did odd jobs and had even secretly skipped his lunch on occasion. When the box office opened, Chance got there early in the morning before school, knowing he’d find himself at the back of a long line because people had been camping out all night waiting for tickets. He racked his brain in order to come up with a good excuse for missing his morning classes.

He purchased the cheapest ticket. It was way up in the rafters but it didn’t matter. He’d be in the same room with them. He was still so damn excited he couldn’t concentrate on anything except that damn ticket. As for his dad, he figured if he bought the ticket he’d have to let him go.

He was wrong.

His father said no, and Chance knew by the way he said it, he really meant it. He even cancelled his shift at the hospital that night so that he could take Chance to a movie instead. Chance knew it was his way of making sure he didn’t sneak out and go to the show despite his father’s objections.

Chance was miserable. He even cried bitter tears and refused to go to the movie. He locked himself in his room, hating his father and vowing never to forgive him. His mother tried talking to his father before she left for work that night. She told him some of Chance’s other friends were going with their parents and he could get a ride there and back. "It’s perfectly safe," she said. "Why won’t you let him go?"

His father wouldn’t budge. Even his mother found it hard to explain. Chance knew she felt sorry for him but that didn’t make him feel any better. His heroes were in the same city and he even had a ticket to the show, yet he couldn’t go. It was too cruel.

Jackson and Pete couldn’t go, either, but that was because their parents weren’t doctors, and they had no money to fork over for tickets. Chance would have given his ticket to one of them but he knew it wasn’t fair to choose one over the other, so instead the ticket sat on his bureau, unused. Chance’s two best friends stood together outside the stadium, watching the limo speed into the underground parking lot. Pete called him on his cell phone to tell him about it.

It was wacky and bizarre, yet really wonderful in its own way. Chance never expected that their performance at a school talent contest would lead to hundreds of people wandering around in a field somewhere dressed up like members of Hail Storm. Still, none of them had been to a Hail Storm concert. Circumstances had always seemed to work against them.

No one could have guessed that an amateurish video, shot in a dimly lit high school auditorium, would capture the imagination of a host of Hail Storm fans, prompting them to come together in a farmer’s field outside New York. Shortly after the video became popular, they were interviewed by all the local media. "We’re celebrities," Jackson exclaimed. "I’ve got girls crawling all over the place."

Jackson was bisexual. He’d experimented but he leaned more towards girls. Pete and Chance were into guys. They jokingly told Jackson he could have their share of the female groupies. His response was, "You can have all the guys...except I want the ones who look like Danson Storm."

They were all really excited that Friday afternoon when they headed out of town in a minivan borrowed from Pete’s older brother. They were all talking in bursts about the comments on the Internet site, while Hail Storm’s latest CD blared in the background.

"Do you think the television people will be there?" Pete asked, following Jackson’s directions as Jackson traced his finger along the map.

"I imagine," Chance replied. "I wouldn’t mind seeing that cute DJ again."

"He was hot," Pete said.

Jackson laughed. "You guys—sex, sex, sex."

Full by A.J.Llewellyn
It started with me stuffing my face with somebody else’s birthday cake, and ended with my finding a mysterious business card that sent me on a bizarre, life-altering journey with just one word—Full.

Yeah, I know. Weird, right?


I’d been the one delegated to pick up my sister Cyan’s birthday cake that fateful Friday night. What did they think they were doing asking the fat guy to pick up a cake and head clear across the San Fernando Valley in peak-hour traffic? What did they think would happen?

It started with just one rose.

I’d lifted the lid just to check on Cyan’s creamy, two hundred dollar creation from Sweet Lady Jane bakery. I’d been so good up until now. As I waited on the 101 freeway- turned-parking-lot near the 405 interchange, I got antsy. It was hot. Fall was always hotter in Los Angeles than the actual summer.

On the radio, local blowhards John and Ken were discussing the outrage of a pizzeria in the Los Angeles suburb of Maywood that only accepted pesos for pizza. Whilst they gnashed their teeth over this and the whole illegal immigration issue, all I could think of was how much I’d like a pizza right now. Since I didn’t have one, cake seemed like a pretty good substitute.

I really did open the box just to check on that expensive cake. Honest. The delicious scent of rose-infused icing tickled my nose and shot straight through to my taste buds without my permission. Just one icing rose. I could do it. I could cover up the space. At the age of thirty-two, I’ve been hiding my eating habits for years. What was one single rose? tasty. I ate it in one gulp, my starved senses wallowing in all that butter cream. For three days I’d been on my new Weight Watchers diet and my body had no idea what had happened to it. Dare I eat a second one? I looked around. Cars on either side of me, the drivers in varying degrees of stress.

But I had a cake.

Yeah...I did dare.

That’s when my problems started. The cake didn’t look right. I had to even things up a little and pick a rose from the other side. Uh-oh. Now it looked like it was missing something.

On the radio, John and Ken screamed at some hapless guy from the pizzeria who could barely speak English.

"You no want to order pizza?" he kept asking. "Is nice!"

"This isn’t Mexico, amigo!" the radio hosts shouted in unison.

I turned down the radio as I peered inside the box. The cake looked weird. Okay. I’d gone too far. Maybe...okay, maybe if I ate a couple of leaves that would make things look better. I checked the dashboard clock. Ten minutes to six. I had ten minutes to make it to my sister’s Encino house in time for her pre-dinner drinks.

I ate a rose from the middle edge of the cake, twisting the box around on the passenger seat. I took a credit card from my wallet and used it to smooth down the icing. I began to worry about bacteria from the card. Hell, I’d welcome death by bacteria if my sister saw the cake in this condition and freaked out. She’d murder me for sure, but in a slow and painful way. She’d make me watch Zumba DVDs or something. She was an exercise freak.

Blinking, I wondered what the hell had come over me. I was on a strict eating plan of twenty-nine points a day on Weight Watchers. How many points were in a single rose? How many had I eaten? Two, three...nine?

Now, I did feel a bit guilty. It sort of looked...bare. It was like that episode of I Love know, the one where Lucy and Ethel wear the same dress and rip the flowers from each other’s bodices live on camera.

Each time I tried to fix my problem, I made another one. I began to panic, especially when the traffic started to move. I drove with the cake perched on my knee. It got all mushed up in the box. Maybe that would be my excuse.

Autumn Quest by Serena Yates
"This can’t be right." Bayar stared at the ragged piece of ancient parchment in his hands. Faded ink markings indicated boundaries—the names of cities and villages more legendary than a collection of wizard myths. "I thought the Khaganate was just a legend?"

He stroked the folds and creases, trying to flatten the map so he could make sense of what he saw. The musty odour of ancient dust fluffing up from the mysterious document’s wrinkles made his nose itch. It had been hidden at the back of one of the spell books he’d recently discovered in the oldest section of the Naiman Royal Library. Small wonder no one had come across it in living memory. Tradition limited the research of history and the Old Magic to those of royal blood. Very few of his family members showed any interest in understanding their past, so he was on his own.

If the landmarks he was familiar with were any indication, the Khaganate had been even bigger than oral history hinted at. From the looks of it, the legendary empire that was supposed to have existed before it broke apart into today’s smaller khanates and chiefdoms, had stretched from sea to sea—as far north as the icy realm and farther south than any caravan in living memory had dared to go.

"Vashir Khan requests your presence in the council room immediately, your highness." The palace guard’s voice shocked Bayar back into reality.

"What—my father wants to see me right now?" Bayar sighed, shoving his glasses back up to the top of his nose. "I’m in the middle of something here."

"Yes, your highness, right now." The guard stood a respectful few paces away from the large table Bayar was working at today. "The matter is quite urgent and, as you know, the Khan does not like to be kept waiting."

"Isn’t it always urgent?" Bayar shook his head as he carefully put the flattened piece of parchment into a protective sleeve before sliding it into the folder containing his notes and other research materials.

The guard remained unsmiling and quiet while Bayar dusted himself off, the dark green of his velvet vest only slowly reappearing. He put his reading glasses into a pocket and grabbed his folder before following the impassive guard into the long, quiet corridors. Deep carpets covered the cold stone floor and muffled the sounds of their booted steps.

"Finally!" His father’s voice boomed across the ancient council chamber adjacent to the throne room. "Sit down so we can get to the bottom of this problem."

What the hell was going on? Not only was the whole family present, but the two royal councillors had also made an appearance. His mother puckered her brows in a very un-queenly scowl. Both of his elder brothers looked angry, and his younger sister wrung her hands. Bayar quietly joined them, focusing on keeping his hands from visibly shaking with nerves. He much preferred the company of his books to that of people...even his family. He grimaced. Especially his family.

"I have some very bad news to share." His father raked the bushy white hair that made him look far older than his fifty-five years. "The confounded parchment thief managed to get into the Royal Library last night."

Bayar suddenly felt ice cold. The unthinkable had finally happened and the royal defences had been breached. Whoever this thief was, he clearly had no respect for their traditions. Damnation! He looked around. Everyone in the room seemed to share his shock, if all the dropped jaws and horrified looks were any indication. The majority might be more worried about the potential political implications than the threat of ancient knowledge being lost to the hands of incompetent ruffians, but their fears were just as real as his concerns.

"As usual, he’s left a disgusting piece of rotten fruit to ‘replace’ the stolen book, so we know it was him. Differently from usual, there was also a note." His father frowned. "The content was slightly puzzling but made it clear this thievery is part of a bigger campaign, possibly directed at destabilising the government."

"What did it say?" Bayar leant forwards, not wanting to miss potentially revealing information.

"Autumn is not only the season of harvests. It is also the precursor for winter, the season of death." His father straightened his golden vest, a sign that he was ready to go on the offensive. "The arrogance of stealing an irreplaceable historical book from right under our noses just galls me! Together with this note, delivered on the first day of autumn, the act is a clear threat against the royal family, possibly the entire government. That is unacceptable. He has got to be stopped."

Author Bios:
DJ Manley
D.J. Manly says, "I write not only for my own pleasure, but for the pleasure of my readers. I can’t remember a time in my life when I haven’t written and told stories. When I’m not writing, I’m dreaming about writing, doing something wild and adventurous, or trying to make the world a better and more open-minded place to live in. I adore beautiful men, and I know I’m not alone in this! Eroticism between consenting adults, in all its many forms, is the icing on the cake of life!"

AJ Llewellyn
A.J. Llewellyn lives in California, but dreams of living in Hawaii. Frequent trips to all the islands, bags of Kona coffee in the fridge and a healthy collection of Hawaiian records keep this writer refueled.

A.J. never lacks inspiration for male/male erotic romances and on the rare occasions this happens, pursues other passions such as collecting books on Hawaiiana, surfing and spending time with friends and animal companions.

A.J. Llewellyn believes that love is a song best sung out loud.

Serena Yates
I’m a night owl and start writing when everyone else in my time zone is asleep. I’ve loved reading all my life and spent most of my childhood with my nose buried in a book. Although I always wanted to be a writer, financial independence came first. Twenty-some years and a successful business career later I took some online writing classes and never looked back.

Living and working in seven countries has taught me that there is more than one way to get things done. It has instilled tremendous respect for the many different cultures, beliefs, attitudes and preferences that exist on our planet.

I like exploring those differences in my stories, most of which happen to be romances. My characters have a tendency to want to do their own thing, so I often have to rein them back in. The one thing we all agree on is the desire for a happy ending.

I currently live in the United Kingdom, sharing my house with a vast collection of books. I like reading, traveling, spending time with my nieces and listening to classical music. I have a passion for science and learning new languages.

DJ Manly

AJ Lleweylln

Serena Yates



  1. Wow thank you so much for this! What a lovely surprise :)

  2. Thanks for this wonderful post! :-)