DEFENSELESS Release Day Contest

Defenseless by AJ Rose, Published by The Grim Writer Press, Releasing September 13, 2016
Amazon$3.99 pre-order price, $5.99 regular price. mobi format
Barnes & Noble
$5.99 epub
iTunes: $5.99 epub
All Romance Ebooks$5.99 mobi, epub, pdf
Page Foundry
: $5.99 epub
(Links made live as they become available.)

Length: approx. 145,000 words, 438 pgs
Genre: m/m, bisexual romance, legal drama, contemporary

From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.

Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.

But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.

While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.

With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.

Official Book Trailer:

I will give away an ecopy of the book to two lucky commenters on this post, but you have to answer this question: Where were you when you heard the SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality, and what went through your head?

Contest ends 8 pm Central Time, tomorrow, September 14th.


DEFENSELESS Available for Pre-Order!


For a limited amount of time, get a special pre-order price of Defenseless, only $3.99 (regular price $5.99). Available now at Amazon! Get it now while you can!

Title: Defenseless
Author: AJ Rose
Length: approx. 145,000 words, 438 pgs
Genre: m/m, bisexual romance, legal drama, contemporary
Publication Date: September 13, 2016

About Defenseless:
From Rainbow Award-winning author AJ Rose, Defenseless is a gut-wrenching, heart-stopping story of love through adversity.

Kyle Decker knew dating Jesse McGovern would change his life. Young and in love, and with the Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, the world is theirs to conquer.

But their victorious Pride celebration ends in a savage attack, brutally demonstrating they’re far from equal. Instead of wedding planning, Jesse and Kyle face an arduous recovery and a shattered sense of their place in the world, their once-promising future suddenly something to survive.

While Jesse struggles with a permanent injury and its emotional aftermath, Kyle’s single-minded focus on Jesse’s recovery is the only thing keeping his demons at bay…for now. What was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love is now full of lies and resentment.

With their dreams tattered and forever changed, trusting anyone—even each other—is daunting. So how can they have faith in twelve strangers on a jury? They’ve already learned the hard way it only takes a moment to become truly defenseless.





Defenseless Cover Reveal

I’ve been waiting for this for a while, and the day’s finally here. The cover for my new release, Defenseless, is up at Diverse Reader and you can enter to win a pre-release copy, one of three I’m giving away. The book will be released in September. Sooooooon.

Let me know what you think!

Reaping Fate Released!

Reaping FateReaping Fate by AJ Rose, Published by The Grim Writer Press, Released May 5, 2016
Amazon: $4.99. mobi format
Barnes & Noble: 
$4.99 epub
iTunes: $4.99 epub
All Romance Ebooks: $4.99 mobi, epub, pdf
Page Foundry
: $4.99 epub
Scribd: $4.99 epub


Length: approx. 88,000 words, 270 pgs
Genre: Paranormal, New Adult,

(Links made live as they become available.)

For Nate Koehn, the worst part of being a reaper is maintaining his compassion without becoming too involved with the souls in his charge. He’s always been sensitive to others’ hurts, and there is no hurt bigger than death, with which he’s already intimately familiar. The learning curve is steep, but the perks of the job—spending the next 300 years with the love of his life, his husband Mitch Seeker—are unmistakable. For Nate, death is a lifelong commitment.

Then Mitch is assigned to reap a serial killer’s victim.

Mitch and Nate are willing to go to just about any lengths to bring the killer to justice, but Divinity has a plan for everyone, and the reapers are at risk of being terminated themselves if they meddle too much. Mitch knows better than to tempt fate, but Nate isn’t wired to sit idly by while innocent people lose their lives to a vicious killer.

Nate sets out to balance the scales of justice for the souls in their charge, but what happens when he becomes the killer’s bug in the web? Can he stop a killer without exercising his own free will or putting those he loves in the crosshairs? Only Death knows, and he’s not talking.

Warning: Contains graphic descriptions of violence, which may be too intense for some readers. Reader discretion advised.

Reaping Fate Cover Reveal (and a Sale)

For a limited time, Reaping Havoc (Reaping Havoc Book 1) is available at the following retailers for $0.99:

Amazon:  mobi format
All Romance Ebooks: 
mobi, epub, pdf
Barnes & Noble: 
iTunes:  epub
Page Foundry:  epub

What is the reason for my generosity?

I’m so glad you asked! The reason is, you need to catch up on book one this week, because next week, dun, dun, duuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnn…

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Q&A Giveaway

I asked you, dear reader, to send me your questions, whether for me or for characters in my books, and one lucky commenter would win an advanced copy of my upcoming release, Reaping Havoc, before anyone else could buy it. You came through for me, so now it’s my turn. As promised, here are the answers you’re all dying to know.

The blurb for this says Mitch didn’t want to be a reaper. What would he have wanted instead? Why would someone WANT to be a reaper?

AJ: Mitch would have made a great teacher. He has a natural curiosity about the world and is pretty eager to be a part of it. Also, because he’s a reaper, he has to keep to himself or risk people finding out about him because of odd behavioral quirks. This lends to him feeling starved for human contact, so though he is a solitary soul, if he didn’t have to be, I think he’d have quite a lot of friends and would be good with mentoring people.


Helena Stone:
I know this is not a fair question, but I’m going to ask it anyway because I’m evil that way 🙂
If you had to pick one of your characters as the one who most resembles you, or you poured most of yourself into, who would it be?

AJ: There are elements of my experiences in all my characters. It’s difficult to write a book without something personal leaking into their personalities. I try to keep this to a minimum to avoid all my characters sounding the same, but my sense of humor lurks in them, my hot temper, my sense of justice and right and wrong. There’s not one character who is me, or most resembles me because I specifically avoid letting that happen. If I had to pick one it would be Gavin. I identify with his fairness and sense of duty the most.


Tanya Prophet:
I was wondering…. how do you choose the covers for your books?

AJ: I like dramatic covers that don’t tend to be busy, that quickly focus the eye to one element, and the rest of the cover serves to highlight that element. With the Power Exchange series, it was the rope. For Queers, it was the piano. My last three titles, I’ve hired a fabulous graphic designer named Elizabeth Mackey, whose work is breathtaking (I’m not speaking only about the work she’s done for me, but also for Kate Aaron, Kade Boehme, George Weir, Russell Blake, BG Kring, Suzie O’Connell, Nick Russell, Holly Spaulding and so many more). She’s incredibly easy to work with, and even when I don’t have a concept, she manages to find a vein of visual inspiration in what the book is about and runs with it. When she has a few mockups to look at, I choose the one that speaks to me the most, and then we tweak the wording, placement of title/author, fonts and such. It’s a process, but in the end, it has to stand out in a page full of cover thumbnails.


El @ Just Love:
I recently re-read “Power Exchange”, so I hope it’s okay to ask about that. Did you draw inspiration from people you know in real life for any of the characters, especially Cole, Myah, and the rest of Gavin’s family? I realized in re-reading it that as much as I love Gavin and Ben’s relationship, I also love all of the characters who support Gavin!

AJ: Of course it’s okay to ask about Power Exchange. I tend to have an idea of what each character’s major traits will be like in my head as I’m plotting, like if they’re a wallflower, if they’re kind of loud and brash, if they’re good humored and laid back. Once I know that, I troll through celebrity photographs looking for visual inspiration for some of the characters, picking people who not only resemble what I see in my head for the characters’ physical traits, but who also carry themselves in a manner consistent with the personality I’m going for in a specific character. Once I have that in place, the character comes to life in my head, and even if it takes me a couple chapters to get fully in their heads, once that initial visual inspiration is made, they get a voice and a face and that’s when my imagination goes into overdrive.


Andrea M:
I understand why it would be difficult for Gavin and Ben to resume their relationship as it was before the attack. They were gradually introducing new elements but does Ben ever want to get back to what they had in the beginning and how would Gavin feel about that? And will we see them again? Please?

Ben: Every relationship goes through its evolution organically, and those experiences shape not only the people involved as individuals, but who they are as a couple. Gavin and I would not feel how we do about each other without the past we’ve had together. Going back to how things were at the beginning wouldn’t fit who we are today, warts and all. Would I wish Gavin hadn’t suffered as he did at the hands of the Breath Play Killer, or being targeted by Alex Dennan? Absolutely. I’d save him all the pain I could. But I cannot deny we are closer because of those experiences. When you hurt and learn you can rely on a loved one, that love deepens despite the pain. Or even because of it. So no, I like who we are now. Our marriage has been hard won, and we earned every drop of sweat we’ve put into it. I believe Gavin feels the same.

AJ: Ben and Gavin are always going to be very dear to me. They were my first foray into the world of m/m (for a novel), and as such, will always be old friends. I have, however, decided to leave them alone. They may have a cameo, or extremely secondary role in any book I might write from that world. If we see them again, it’ll be in a minimal amount. I have ideas about two other characters from the third book, Consent, in that series, however. It’s in the writing queue.


We know Gavin’s family but next to nothing about Ben’s family or his past. Where was Ben born and what is a favorite childhood memory? One more if I may … have Ben and Gavin thought about having children?

Ben: I was born in Seattle and lived there until I left for college. My father was a neurosurgeon and my mother was a sculptor. She worked with police departments in the Pacific Northwest on facial reconstruction cases, as well as the statues and pottery she made for a landscaping company. They had resigned themselves to being childless after years of fertility treatments, so by the time I was born—and yes, I was a surprise to them—they were both older. My father spent years working on neurological treatments for patients with mental disorders, but when I was in high school, he retired. The last years I was home, they were a constant presence, and when I left for Washington University in St. Louis, they sold their home and moved here. While I was in graduate school, they spent time traveling all over the world. On one of these trips, their plane crashed. It was a mechanical malfunction resulting from negligence, and the families of the passengers each received a hefty settlement. My parents were well off to begin with, and I have no other relatives, so the lawsuit basically set me up for a few lifetimes. I knew my father had hopes for me getting a PhD, so the first thing I did was move into their home to care for it myself, and finish school. In a way, I feel it’s my legacy to them, becoming a doctor—albeit of a different kind—and in a way, carrying on my father’s work, while also working with the police as a consultant in honor of my mother.

They taught me about compassion and finding what moves you in life, and while I wish like hell I had more time with them, they did right by me. I can only hope I’m doing right by them, now.

A favorite memory. Hmmm. My mother tried to teach me to throw a pot. Just a bowl or something for a small flower, I don’t remember. I ended up actually launching this blob of clay off the wheel and smacking a tree plantar she had just finished but had yet to fire. She loved the starburst pattern on the side of her plantar so much she carved it out and ended up carving the rest of the plantar with a stellar pattern, painted and fired it, and planted an ornamental tree in it. It was my tree and we named it Sonny.

As for children, maybe in a few years Gavin and I will want them, but right now, he’s happy teaching criminology and playing with his nieces. We have an idea for a project that keeps getting more airtime in our conversations, and it has to do with kids, but not how you might be thinking. We’ll see if it pans out.


Which character, of all you’ve written, scared you the most either during conception or through the writing process, and why?

AJ: That’s tough to answer because none of them really scared me. Surprised me, inspired me, made me laugh out loud, absolutely. But the worst one of them could do is go off the script and push me to write the story the way they wanted to go with it, and I find those moments to be the best part of writing. Pure creation. Sure, it might wreak havoc on my plot, but I find there are always better details from listening to the characters than trying to shoehorn them into my idea of where to go. Ben was notorious for throwing in a wrench now and then, but I generally fell in love with him more when he did it.



Hi Ben and Gavin, do you keep in touch with McKnight, I’d love to see him again.

Gavin: We do keep in touch with him. There are some plans afoot…


And the winner of the advanced copy of Reaping Havoc is… *dramatic music* Andrea M. Andrea, I will email you for your format of choice. Thank you all so much for participating!

Reaping Havoc: Excerpt

Begun: July 26, 2015
Completed: October 15, 2015
Approx 95,000 words (pre-edit)

grim reaper watermarkDeacon the Reaper

So I finished another book. Huzzah! And the appearance of Deacon is especially fitting for this one, since it concerns a grim reaper. I have quite a bit to do for it still, including a cover and blurb, but soon. A few weeks. To whet your appetite, here’s an excerpt after the jump:

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A Piece of Me

I’m over at Diverse Reader today talking about my feelings from before the UK Meet, and sharing something I’ve held close to the vest since the beginning of my career. Take a peek and drop a comment. Come say hello, maybe make a face with me.

Will You King Me?

Today I have invited Edmond Manning to stop by and give us a little taste of his upcoming new release, King John, part of The Lost and Founds series, which is one of my all-time favorites. If you haven’t read it, you should run to get King Perry now while you have time to catch up this week. You’re welcome.

King John coverVin Vanbly, the strange and unpredictable narrator of The Lost and Founds, meets the men he kings in some unusual ways. In the first book, King Perry, Vin randomly meets a handsome investment banker named Perry at an art gallery and invites him to participate in a King Weekend. Of course, Perry has no idea what those words mean. In the second book, King Mai, Vin and his “target,” Mai Kearns, have been corresponding on AOL and through email for several months. Vin shows up in Mai’s hometown and stalks him for a month before finally meeting him in person. In The Butterfly King, we learn that Vin discovered the author of a magazine article he enjoyed. After a snail-mail exchange of several months, Vin decided to king this powerful man from New York.

In King John, the fourth installment of The Lost and Founds, Vin and his weekend guest meet in a very unconventional manner. In fact, when they meet for the first time, they do not even exchange names.

The excerpt which follows introduces Vin and the Purple Sarong Man to each other as Vin strolls around the weird and wonderful annual desert event known as Burning Man. Vin is dressed in traditional Middle Eastern gear: a long robe and a long head dress.

* * * * *

It’s impossible to catalog the thousands of people, some naked, some close to that state, others body-painted with handprints on their thighs. This very second, I am passed by a constant parade of burners on bikes, beat-up bikes, tall bikes, and now, at this second, a man bicycles by, wearing a top hat and a wedding veil and camo shorts. A cloud of churned dust chases in his wake. No point chiding him. The hard crust in this ancient lake bed is dust-free until you step on it. With each footstep, every crunch, alkaline dust is manufactured. More than see the white dust, I feel it sting my cheeks.

“I beg pardon, Bedouin man.”

A man at my side touches my elbow. I turn, half expecting to see Alan or Helena.

It’s not.

This man is fair, his hair mostly red-brown—more brown perhaps than I first perceived—and his face dusted lightly with freckles. Shirtless and wearing a purple sarong. Thirty, maybe? Thirty-three? He fits my definition of postathletic, someone who used to work out, maybe used to be chiseled but decided that’s simply not his style anymore. I hope he slathered his pale skin in sunscreen. Hopefully, he sunscreened the tops of his ears, which stick out a bit. Did he stop me for a reason? Did I drop my Popsicle stick?

He smiles, nervously, as if he must deliver bad news. “I waited until you finished your Popsicle.”


“May I help you?”

He smiles, broadly now. “It’s you. The king maker.”


I shake my head and smile. “No, friend, you’re thinking of someone else.”

How does he know me?

“No,” he says. “It’s definitely you. Your eyes flinched, a little. Almost imperceptibly, but I was watching for a tell. It’s you, mate. You’re the king maker.”

He’s English. English accent. Do I know any English guys from Burning Man?

I chuckle. “Sorry, friend. You mistake me. I am a simple Bedouin.”

He says, “Also, you didn’t ask me who or what a king maker was. You instantly denied it. Which means you already know what I mean when I say ‘king maker.’”

My heart beats faster. What does he want?

“Shalom,” I say, bowing.

I turn away, careful not to appear too eager to leave. If I stride too hard, it will look like I wish to escape. If I give any sign of confirmation, he will chase me. Instead, I pleasantly meander, just another burner appreciating theme camps, lost in a crowd. Chill, Vin. But hurry. Get away from him. I hear a xylophone nearby, maybe three or four of them, a xylophone band. The music sounds like the letter x to me. I’d stop and listen, but I have to get away from this guy. He was cute, though. I like a guy with big ears.

I travel only one more block before I see the same shirtless man, in his purple sarong, standing in the makeshift street before me. How the fuck did he manage to get in front of me? I approach him slowly, and he watches my every step, anticipating my racing away. When I get close, he speaks.

“You’ll find the English are not easily dissuaded. I worked arse over elbows for two full burns searching for you. Finally gave it up this year.”

“‘Arse over elbows’ isn’t British slang.”

“English slang,” he says. “It is if an English person says it.”

He grins at me, happy and lopsided.

Is he crazy? Is he…unhinged? Something feels off-kilter about this situation. Something isn’t right.

He laughs. “I invented it. You like, yeah?”

Ah. That’s it. He’s not English. Everything swirling around him says “not from England.” Years spent analyzing split-second reactions means I know things almost immediately, and I often don’t know how I know it. I can’t articulate why I’m so sure, but he’s not English. So, why pretend?

I say, “Although no forests grow nearby, metaphorically, you’re barking up the wrong tree.”

“The king’s kiss, mate,” he says. “I witnessed what you did. As I passed those two fighting, I heard you cry out ‘nobody fucks with the Butterfly King.’ After two burns searching for you, I had become attuned, listening for any overheard conversations of kings. I know other Found Kings come here. The rumor is, they use Burning Man to gather and make plans in secret.”

“Rumors, huh?”

“Burners talk.”

My heart pounds. How the hell do I get out of this?

“You mistake me.” My resolve grows weaker.

He folds his arms before him. “Which begs a few questions, yeah? Why is it important to these Found Ones to gather in secret? What are they planning?”

I try to appear bored. “You lost me.”

It’s true. Some Found Kings come to Burning Man every year. Liam told me Perry’s coming this year, which terrifies me. I don’t know if I’m ready to see him, though three have years passed. Am I over him?

People navigate around us, and as it’s clear he’s not letting me go, we move out of the main pathway. We are passed by pirates, nymphs, and four men in tutus. A man wearing a Batman cloak and bat headgear strides past us without pants or underwear. Ah, shirt cocking. Kinda weird, but it’s all good. Radical acceptance.

He says, “Three years ago right here, I met Liam, the Dolphin King, late one night around a fire drum. He revealed to me, and a few others, his extraordinary tale—his forty hours spent with a garage mechanic who promised to reveal his true kingship.”

I say nothing.

“You kinged Liam. Right here at Burning Man. All of us standing around the fire drum could somehow sense the truth of it, though none of us knew what a kinging was. The longer into the night he spoke, the more Liam transformed, like some half god revealing himself. He finished his tale as the sun rose, so we all held hands to greet the dawn. I can’t tell you how this night impacted me.”

I say, “You were doing drugs, weren’t you?”

“Yes.” He doesn’t hesitate in his reply. “But I wasn’t hallucinating. I know what I saw.”

I’m not sure what to say.

“Please, mate,” he says. “I spent the next two years searching for you, yeah? No leads. As a bit of a last resort, I found Liam’s restaurant in San Francisco. He refused to put me in touch. He told me, ‘that’s not how it works.’ Said hunting for you disrespected the organics. I said, bollocks, and once again, I searched at the next burn. No results. This year, I decided to enjoy myself. Forget about finding the king maker. Then, I happen to stroll by as you’re yelling a king story and teaching two people the king’s kiss. How is that possible?” He takes a step closer. His eyes are earnest. “Please don’t tell me I’m wrong, or it’s not you. For two burns, I searched. Please be honest with me.”

Something feels off in what he told me. On the other hand, he’s not wrong. Lying to him is not the right move. I must respect his journey.

Though I fear I know what he will want from me, I must let it happen. “Okay. You found me. What do you want?”

Standing close, I see his eyes fill with tears. “Would you—would you king me?”

Damn it. I knew he would ask.

* * * * *


Edmond Manning is the author of the romance series, The Lost and Founds. The books in this series include King Perry, King Mai (a 2014 Lambda Literary finalist), The Butterfly King, and King John. King John takes place at Burning Man.

* * * * *

Release Date: September 10, 2015
Formats Available: eBook (mobi, epub, PDF) and Print
King John eBook on Amazon
King John Print edition on Amazon

Giveaway: FOR 24 HOURS ONLY, one lucky commenter will have the chance to win an ebook copy of King John. Don’t miss your chance to win this remarkable book! Leave a comment telling us what you think Edmond Manning’s King name would be, and you’ll be entered to win! Then, on September 10th, when the book is released, you’ll have a shiny new ebook waiting for you. Easy peasy.

* * * * *

King John Blog Tour:

Mon, Sept 7      My Fiction Nook

Mon, Sept 7      AJ Rose Books          pre-release excerpt #1

Tues, Sept 8      Thorny, Not Prickly   pre-release excerpt #2

Wed, Sept 9      Love Out Loud          pre-release excerpt #3

Thurs, Sept 10   Facebook Release Party, 7p-9p Central, hosted by Bike Book Reviews

Fri, Sept 11       Reviews by Amos Lassen

Sat, Sept 12       Vanessa

Tues, Sept 15    MM Good Book Reviews

Wed, Sept 16    The Novel Approach

Thurs, Sept 17   Purple Rose Tea House

Fri, Sept 18       Posy

Sat, Sept 19       Zipper Rippers

Tues, Sept 22    Joyfully Jay

Wed, Sept 23    Boys In Our Books

Thurs, Sept 24   It’s About the Book

Sat, Sept 26       Love Bytes Reviews

Sun, Sept 27      Sinfully Addicted to Male Romance

Tues, Sept 29    Molly Lolly

Wed, Sept 30    Coffee and Porn in the Morning

Wed, Sept 30    Stumbling Over Chaos

Thurs, Oct 1      The Blogger Girls Reviews

Sat, Oct 3          On Top Down Under Reviews

Sun, Oct 4         The Hat Party!

Mon, Oct 5        Prism Book Alliance

Tues, Oct 6       Jaycee

Wed, Oct 7       Hearts on Fire Book Reviews