Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rite of Summer Blog Tour! (+$20 Amazon GC Giveaway!)

Title: Rite of Summer
Author: Tess Bowery
Series: Treading the Boards #1
Pages: N/A
Date Published: 2015
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Format: Kindle
Genre: MM Romance
Source: Goddess Fish Blog Tours
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There are terrors worse than stage fright. Like falling in love.

Violinist Stephen Ashbrook is passionate about three things—his music, the excitement of life in London, and his lover, Evander Cade. It’s too bad that Evander only loves himself. A house party at their patron’s beautiful country estate seems like a chance for Stephen to remember who he is, when he’s not trying to live up to someone else’s harsh expectations.

Joshua Beaufort, a painter whose works are very much in demand among the right sort of people, has no expectations about this party at all. Until, that is, he finds out who else is on the guest list. Joshua swore off love long ago, but has been infatuated with Stephen since seeing his brilliant performance at Vauxhall. Now he has the chance to meet the object of his lust face to face—and more.

But changing an open relationship to a triad is a lot more complicated than it seems, and while Evander’s trying to climb the social ladder, Stephen’s trying to climb Joshua. When the dust settles, only two will remain standing…when they’re not flat on their backs.

Warning: Contents under pressure. Contains three men, two beds, one erotic piercing, and the hottest six weeks of summer the nineteenth century has ever seen.

~My Thoughts~
Well, Tess Bowery certainly know's how to grab your attention. How could she not with an opening line of:

"There were few things in the world as perfect as Evander’s prick."

The writing style Tess uses was reminescent of classical English, but with flairs and little details that made it easily comprehensible by us modern day speakers :) Her words and styling rolled off the tongue and bounced around the ears, making reading this book almost lyrical in it's descriptions and characters. A definite win for style Tess! 

But the style is easily explained, when you simply look to the professions of two of the book's characters. Evander, the aforemetioned well-endowed gentleman, is an affluent composer-pulling sounds and melodies from thin air to accompany the emotions and meanings of life. While Stephan is the violinist who brings Evander's music to life, dazzling duke, king, and country with his proficiency and the way his violin makes the music lift off the pages in dancing lyricism. Yet not all is perfect with these two, despite their partnership. Evander is vain and thinks only of himself, leaving his love-Stephan-behind as he strives to please his patron. Stephan is strong-armed into accompanying Evander and Coventry, the patron, into the countryside for 6 weeks of a hunting party-gathering, meaning that Stephan is to be cooped up in a house with about two dozen of the gentry to please at all hours. 

The Real romance picks up at the Coventry's country home, when Stephan runs into another favored artist, Joshua, though his particular flavor of the arts tends towards painting rather than music. Yet the two have white-hot chemistry and it may be a much better match than Stephan had before...despite his fondness for a few of Evander's body parts... 

As you can tell, this is truly a NSFW novel of epic proportions *giggles*...There are some truly steamy scenes in her of the M/M and MMM persuasion, so if that's not something you can handle you may need something a little softer. While the romance, and subsequent encounters, are the main course, the character development and storyline are delicious hors-d'oeuvres as well, and shouldn't be ignored. I enjoyed reading Rite of summer for all of its aspects and would gladly read something new from Tess in the future!

~Research Strategies for Historical Novels~
There’s something intoxicating about stories set in the past. When we’re removed from a time period we don’t think of the problems that come with no indoor plumbing, or the realities of social and financial inequalities. We imagine instead the rustle of silk skirts, the warm golden flicker of candlelight, and satin-gloved hands brushing intoxicatingly against one another during a slow, intimate dance. We come to these time periods – the middle ages, the Tudors, the Regency – with notions gleaned from television miniseries and other modern books, and that’s the kind of thing that can trip us up when writing a book with an historical setting.

To start, when I’m planning a new book, I like to hit the library first. I’ll grab a couple of general books about the region, the time period and the specific people and places that will matter to my characters. It’s even better if it’s a diary or something written by someone alive at the time. That’s where I’ll get details about daily life and general concerns that my characters might have to deal with.
Online sources like archive.org and Gutenberg.org are great for finding free copies of books that are in the public domain, which will include piles of autobiographies and older sources about some of our favourite time periods.

Once I start writing, I’ll often run into small details that either I think I know – all men wore cutaway coats in 1815, right? – or that I have no earthly idea about (what did women use during their periods?). I have a choice there: I can either rewrite the previous section so that the Thing I Don’t Know doesn’t come up after all, or I can go fact-hunting.

I have to admit that I’m a bit obsessive about detail, and I once spent a good hour digging up information on what colours of upholstery were the height of fashion in 1811. On the plus side, anything from the 1700s forward can generally be found, given enough time! Women’s magazines began printing in that century, as did men’s magazines, and pdfs of those are freely available online.
Reading through a copy of The Gentlemen’s Magazine will give you a sense not only of what was being advertised in that month, but what was going on politically, what sense of humour were like, and so on. Even better, women’s magazines like Ladies Mercury had fashion plates and, later, paper patterns for home sewers.

Once we get into the Victorian era, erotica itself starts to be published in these periodicals, and some of it would give modern-day pornography a real run for its money! Editions of The Pearl, a Victorian erotic fiction magazine, are kicking around the web as free pdfs (but be careful – they are most definitely not safe for work, or for the bondage-and-sadism averse).
We’re very lucky in the modern day to have access to huge amounts of information at our fingertips. I turn to sites like the Jane Austen Centre (http://www.janeausten.co.uk/) and Jane Austen’s World (https://janeaustensworld.wordpress.com) for quick answers to minor questions like light fixtures, or the daily cost of keeping a horse. There are hundreds, if not thousands, more of these little gems all across the internet, focused on different time periods and regions.
Look for a website with sources – ones that can give references to where they found their information, rather than those that repeat the same muddled ‘history’ that we get on television dramas and in movies.
There’s so much out there, and so much of it available without ever leaving our computers, that research is much more like a treasure hunt than the slog through dusty archives that it used to be.

Come by www.tessbowery.com on June 2nd,  7 pm Eastern Time, to join me in the chatroom for the release party! I’ll have giveaways and prizes as well as interviews and a social hour. I look forward to seeing everyone!
~Try an Excerpt!~
“It is a massive house, you know,” Evander began as though delivering a confidence. “With galleries and gardens that extend for miles. Coventry described it to me once. We will have hours of uninterrupted leisure.”

He dug his foot down further and pressed it, firm and strong, against the front of Stephen’s trousers. “We’ll kiss and we’ll swive,” Evander sang, putting lyrics to the tune he had been humming before, his eyes alight and his smile infectiously lascivious. He was utterly ridiculous, and delightful, and Stephen could not help but laugh as his body began to respond to Evander’s excitement. “Behind we will drive, and we will contrive, new ways for lechery,” Evander finished his bawdy chorus by tangling one hand in Stephen’s hair and using it to pull his head back. Stephen’s breath caught with the spike of desire, his throat exposed to the press of Evander’s lips.

“Alright!” Stephen laughed breathlessly. “I’ve agreed already, I need no bribe to convince me further.”

“Oh, but you do,” Evander said, letting go of his hair and slinking his hand down to replace the press of his foot. “We shall make a game of it, defiling his house in as many ways and places as please us. Think of the thrill!” The man was insane, the suggestion as distractingly tempting as almost all of his ideas were. If one servant saw them, though, in the wrong place at the wrong time- Evander’s social climbing would end rather abruptly. As would their lives.
~Meet Tess!~ 
Tess has been a fan of historical fiction since learning the Greek and Roman myths at her mother's knee. Now let loose on a computer, she's spinning her own tales of romance and passion in a slightly more modern setting. Her work in the performing arts has led to a passion for the theatre and dance in all its forms, and been the inspiration for her current books. Tess lives on the east coast, with her partner of fifteen years and two cats who should have been named 'Writer's Block' and 'Get Off the Keyboard, Dammit.'

Tess can be found reblogging over on tessbowery.tumblr.com, twittering at @TessBowery, and talking about writing in general and her books specifically over at www.tessbowery.com. 
Tess will be awarding a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour, and a $20 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn host.


  1. Thank you so much for hosting, and for the lovely review. <3

    1. No thanks you Tess, for stopping by and for writing Rite of Summer! How are you doing today???

    2. I'm good! We've finally, *finally* gotten past the frost warnings in my region, so I've actually got my garden fully planted now (hooray!). I'm trying to grow bok choi for the first time this year, so fingers crossed that we get enough sun for it.

      How're things with you?

  2. What technology do you use for writing?

    1. A computer. I have written things longhand, but my writing really is appallingly messy, and transcribing is such an ordeal that it's just easier by far to type from the beginning. I save my in-progress projects to dropbox so I can pull them up from anywhere, and will alternate between my desktop, laptop and netbook for writing depending on circumstance and whim.

      As for software, I've tried the fancy programs like Scrivener, but they're complicated and too distracting; I get too involved with moving pieces around and figuring out all the toys, and not actually writing. So back to MS word I go, every time.

      I'd say the bulk of my writing is done on my laptop, in Microsoft Word, saved to Dropbox.

  3. I love the idea of accessing diaries as part of your research.

    1. It's a fantastic way to get your head around not just the details of daily life but the way people thought, as well. Here's a great link with a bunch of really fascinating ones (even the one that inspired A Midwife's Tale): http://www.artistsjournals.com/reviews/old-diaries-online.htm

  4. I loved reading about the author and the names her cats should have been named were hilarious! Thank you for sharing!

  5. I enjoyed reading about the author...thanks!

    1. You're very welcome, and thank you for dropping by!

  6. Thanks for the great review and excerpt! I had no idea so many resources were available to learn historical details. I was tempted to click on the links, but since I don't have time to become "lost," I shall have to move along right now. :-)

    1. Hee! It's as bad as getting sucked into TV Tropes, I swear. And you're very welcome!

  7. "... Now let loose on a computer...." OMG, that's how *I* feel! LOL.

  8. I love historical fiction. WooHoo, this sounds so good !