Title: Stripped Bare
Author: Susan Mac Nicol
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance, Suspense
Publisher: Boroughs Publishing Group
Rating: 4.75 Puppy Dog Kisses
Now that Shane Templar has stripped the armour from Matt Langer’s heart, will either of them ever be safe again?
Though two years past, Matthew Langer is still getting over the death of a loved one. He’s steered clear of serious relationships, but when he meets the irascible, dirty mouthed and tempestuous Shane Templar that decision has never been harder. Shane is sexy, warm and funny, and Matthew finds himself trying like hell not to fall for him. Especially when Shane, with his quick wit and hacking skills, is quick to stand up for justice and avenge wrongs. Then Shane strikes at the wrong target, and Matthew realises just how far he’s already fallen. At the threat of losing for good yet another man who has broken through his armour, Matthew finds his heart stripped bare. He must face the demons of his soul or a future without love.
“Sexy, warm and funny. Dirty. And heart-wrenching.”— Bestselling Author Kindle Alexander
Be sure to read through to the giveaway at the end of the post, as well as Susan Mac Nicol’s advice on making the most of your promotional tools!
I read a lot of books.
The last time I moved, I counted my books as I packed them–I stopped when I hit one thousand because it was slowing me down.
I read a lot of M/M romance. I love the genre, and besides, a gal has got to know what the competition is like, right? That’s how I justify my voracious reading habit, anyway.
However, you’ll note I seldom review books. There are many reasons for this. The biggest one is lack of time. I think there is an art to crafting a well-written, informative book review that doesn’t give too much away. I love reading and reviewing books, but I love writing more. I have to put my time in where it counts the most. Then, too, there is the fact that as much as I love romances in general, the vast majority of stories that I read simply don’t make a lasting impact on me. I enjoyed them, and they served their purpose of entertaining me and helping me to put aside the cares of the day for a few hours, but nothing more. So it was with excitement (and not a little trepidation) that I volunteered to review Susan Mac Nicol’s new M/M romance, Stripped Bare, as part of her promotional tour.
I wasn’t disappointed. 🙂 To begin with, Stripped Bare is an extremely well-written story. Not just from the standpoint of being a rip-snorting tale of blackmail and homophobia, or that we get to watch two complicated and engaging characters work out their new-found relationship. No, it is much more than that! One of the things I appreciate most in novels is a layered approach to story-telling–the slow reveal of motivations and past history, all while reflecting the impact of those decisions and actions on the characters as they are today. Stripped Bare delivered this and more– a refreshing change from some of the stories I’ve read recently. At no point do you have difficulty telling the main characters apart (one of my pet peeves as a reviewer)–these men are distinct, three-dimensional characters. Nor do you have to wade through pages of exposition. The patient reader will be rewarded as all things are made clear over time. I emphasize this fact because part of the pleasure in reading Stripped Bare is the sheer craftsmanship of the story. Be patient, Grasshopper. 🙂
Without giving too much away, I was impressed that Mac Nicols could keep me guessing, resolving some conflicts early only on, only to have bigger, more serious issues rise up out to cause problems for our heroes. The characters have real conflicts keep them apart and yet these same issues eventually bring them together as well. While there is plenty of hot sex (whew boy, is there hot sex!) there is a complex plot that drives the story forward through blackmail, computer hacking, and the worlds of high finance and high-class escort services, among other things!
Both men have trust issues, but for very different reasons. I found this to be the part of the story that really rang with authenticity. This alone raised Stripped Bare above the average M/M romance. In fact, it is difficult to believe that this is Mac Nicol’s first attempt at the genre!
I had some minor little quibbles. Shane is obviously a risk-taker, but I found it odd that someone with his computer skills and his financial stability would work as an escort, no matter how high-class the operation might be. I thought both Shane and Matthew’s attachment to their mutual friend, David, to be a little puzzling at first. David’s treatment of Shane in the beginning of the story was something that was hard for me to forgive, no matter what his home situation was like.
This is where Mac Nicol’s skill at slowly revealing nuances of character comes into play, however. Shane comes from a background which would lend itself to forgiving David’s actions–while I can also believe that he might get a kick out of being an escort. Matthew, knowing much better the kind of existence that David lives in his father’s home, is the sort of guy that is extremely loyal to his friends. Mac Nicol takes you from the shivery excitement that comes when people with instant attraction collide to a dramatic conclusion that proves there is more to this relationship than mere chemistry. The bottom line is that Stripped Bare is a wonderful, memorable read. One that you are really going to enjoy!
“Sexy, warm and funny. Dirty. And heart-wrenching.”— Bestselling Author Kindle Alexander
“LOVED it. Matthew stole my heart…but Shane OMG. I want one of him.”— bestselling author of ‘Grand Slam’ JT Cheyanne
“Unashamedly strong and sexy, this story shows just how fast and fierce love between two men can be. And, boy, does Ms. Mac Nicol know just how to turn up the steam!”— John Trevillian, The A-Men trilogy.
Susan and her publisher, Boroughs Publishing Group, will be awarding a five-book subscription to their Lunchbox Romances, two of which will be Susan’s stories, Confounding Cupid and The Magick of Christmas, plus a copy of Cassandra by Starlight, the first book in her Starlight trilogy to a randomly drawn commenter during the tour.
Susan Mac Nicol was born in Leeds, UK, and left for South Africa when she was eight. She returned to the UK thirty years later and now lives in Essex. Her debut novel Cassandra by Starlight, the first in a trilogy, was published earlier this year by Boroughs Group Publishing in the US. Sue’s latest story, Stripped Bare is her first m/m romance.
Sue has written since she was very young, and never thought she would see herself being a Romance writer, being a horror/psychological thriller reader all her life. But the Romance genre is now something very close to her heart and she intends continuing the trend.
Sue is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Romantic Novelists Association here in the UK.
Susan Mac Nicol has few insights about making the most of your promotional tools!
As an author, one of the things that is expected of us is to try and maximise any opportunity to showcase our work and get our names out there. There are plenty of ways to do this. There are the usual social networking sites like
· And many more
One of the other ways I get my name out is by becoming an official reviewer for book review sites. I’m a member of The Romance Reviews, Harlies’ Books, Librarything and The Author Alliance. It has two benefits. One is that I get great books for free to read. The other is that I get tweeted and promoted when the review goes live and is distributed. It takes time and effort, you need to be focused and work to deadlines, and be able to write a good review. But I love this part of the job.
There are a lot of Yahoo groups too that you can join and participate in. They offer some wonderful opportunities for self promotion, with internal forums, and blogs which you can use to do guest posts etc. I’ve noted some of these forums below, mostly catering to romance but all different genres.
British Romance Fiction – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/BritishRomanceFiction/
Contemporary Fiction Network – http://groups.yahoo.com/group/contemporaryfictionnetwork//
Love Romances Cafe
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/loveromancescafe/ (one promo, but it’s a huge loop)
Talking Two Lips
There are also these two sites where you can promote and where readers can find good books too
There’s also a wonderful free service run by a man called Patrick and his husband Rondal. They offer authors exposure on their website and run a monthly newsletter with promotions too.
And of course http://askdavid.com/ is an extremely useful site where you can promote for free as well. And David goes out of his way to help you.
So there is no shortage of places to either find books or promote, whether you’re a reader or an author. It takes time and you have to be prepared to put the effort in. There is no magic wand that you can wave to get your name and your book/s out there.
But if you focus and put time aside to do it, I can guarantee that it will all be worth it.
Be sure to check out this awesome book trailer for Stripped Bare!
Book Trailer (click below)
Stripped Bare Tour Dates
Friday 30th August – Virtual Writers, Inc. (interview)
Sunday 1st September – Charlie Cochet (guest post)
Monday 2nd September – Kathryn Lively from ARe Cafe (guest post)
Tuesday 3rd September – Twitter Interview with Susan Mac Nicol (12 noon – 1pm GMT)
Wednesday 4th September – Hearts on Fire (review and guest post)
Thursday 5th September – Dianne Bylo from Tome Tender Book Blog (review)
Friday 6th September – Joyfully Jay (review and guest post)
Saturday 7th September – Kathy from Book Reviews and More (guest post)
Sunday 8th September – Annette Gisby from Zipper Rippers (interview)
Monday 9th September – Sarah Madison (review and guest post)
Tuesday 10th September – Piper Vaughn from Babes in Boyland (guest post)
Wednesday 11th September – Mrs Condit from Mrs Condit Reads Books (review and giveaway)
Thursday 12th September – Susan Mac Nicol’s site