Sunday, January 20, 2013

Book Tour for Drama Queens With Love Scenes by Kevin Klehr (Guest Post & Review)

As a fan of books in the m/m genre I love discovering new authors.  Today I have an author visiting who makes you think of the Afterlife in a whole new way. Kevin Klehr and his new release Drama Queens With Love Scenes also makes angels sexy.  He's here talking about making angels sexy as well as giving us a glimpse into his book.  So keep reading to learn more about this unique story....

About ten years ago I read Elizabeth Knox’s original novel, The Vintner’s Luck. In it a failed wine maker and family man, Sorban, meets a male angel who he develops a relationship with, over a considerable period of his life. They talk, they make love, and they talk some more. A lot more happens in this book, but for me, it was my first example of an erotic angel.
When I wrote my winged citizen of the Afterlife, Guy, I based him loosely on someone we used to know. This person wasn’t sensual in nature, and was often troubled by the mostrudimentary things. At one stage in the novel, one of my characters questions whether angels are ‘not supposed to give into sensual pleasures like jazz’. When I read this line at a writer’s group, one of my colleagues corrected me, thus educating me on a small fact I wasn’t aware of. Angels are sensual by nature.
In Carol Lynne’s novel, Hell Hath No Fury, the hero is a fallen angel who has been given the job of mayor in The City (or as we know it, Hell). A good looking bodyguard is sent to him from Heaven to help him with his task. Our angel tries every trick in the book to sleep with his attractive guest, who is playing hard to get.
Even author, Serena Yates, turns up the heat in her guardian angel novel, Araton’s Destiny. There’s a former pro-football player that has to be saved by a bad-assed winged being. The plot itself already has you reaching for a box of tissues. So why did I go straight for a slightly goody-two-shoes cherub in my novel?
Perhaps I’m not the only one to think this way. A short story by K-Lee Klein has a loving angel who says no to sex. In Love and Patience, Anael (love the name) meets up with Del one week a year for a non-erotic relationship. This love continues over time, but Anael is worried about the complications of becoming a ‘sexual being’.
But if they did ‘do it’, would Del know what to do with his wings? Would they get in the way, or have angels already worked out what positions work and which don’t? Perhaps this was what Anael was scared of? His lack of experience might have meant Del would have ended up with a mouth full of feathers, literally.
Regardless of the complications, there’s something spiritual about the thought of having sex with an angel. It may be the most dirty we’ll ever be, while our soul is being cleansed. Sin and salvation in one hit! And it seems more likely than ever having a fling with a vampire, orcarnal lust with a brooding werewolf. Somehow angels come from bible stories, and even non-believers have a soft spot for holy texts, just in case.

Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They're not crazy about the idea so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.
They are soon drawn into the world of theatre - Afterlife style, with all the bitchiness, back-stabbing and ego usually associated with the mortal world.
Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.
Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.


Warwick looked up and smiled. I wanted to savor his maroon lips. Their sheen was highlighted against the claret colored wall. I wanted to reach behind his head and slide my fingers through his thick curly hair, before slowly moving his lips to mine.
“I’m astounded!” he said.
I paused my daydream to compute what he’d uttered.
“Reassuringly ‘feels like home’ astounded, or unnervingly ‘what the frig’ astounded?”
“More like ‘stunned, I need answers but not jumping to conclusions’ astounded.”
“Warwick, at this stage we have no choice but to jump to conclusions. Where are we?”
“In the Limelight Quarter,” he replied blank faced.
“Very funny. You know what I mean.”
My friend wandered to the window. I watched him, unrealistically believing he could give me all the answers. He viewed the flourishing garden outside before turning to me.
“They all seem secretive,” he said. “The only answer I seem to get from people is the Limelight Quarter. I don’t feel we’re in danger though.”
“What choice do we have? After bonding with Guy last night, I feel pretty safe, too.”
“I guess it makes sense to find comfort in an angel. He’s the only one who has to be a true local.”
“Comfort, yes, answers, no.”
“Allan, I thought you’d find him sort of a geek. He’s a bit Gomer Pyle. When we first got here, you were admiring Samantha’s outfit and gawking at Guy’s.”
There was not much I could keep secret from Warwick.
“Okay, I did at first, but you left me so I had to get to know him. In some ways he reminded me of what I was like when you first met me. A bit of a lost soul. Our chat helped take my mind off this bizarre place.”
“Yes, Allan, I went home with Pedro to take my mind off this bizarre place.”
That repeated phrase reverberated in my head. I stared at Warwick. He stared back. The thought of my demise was hard enough to face, but this version of the Afterlife with no link back to concepts favored in religious texts, made it harder to accept. There was not an omnipotent being in sight. We had one angel surrounded by a cast from different eras of earth-bound time, going about their business with no qualms. And still, no one wanted to elaborate.
“Heaven or Hell?” my friend asked.
“Perhaps Limbo, or maybe we’re just having a weird dream?”
“Of course, Allan, at exactly the same time.” Warwick winked at me.
“Yeah maybe. Your wet-dream with Pedro and my, my...”
“Your buddy-genre dream with an angel.”
He made me smile. As he looked out at the garden again, a more believable explanation came to me.
“Warwick, maybe I’m just in a coma, and somewhere near my hospital bed you’re talking to me, trying to wake me up.”
“Allan, if I am talking to you from your hospital bed, how will I know you can hear me?”
“Look, Warwick, I’m wiggling my toes.”
My friend turned to see me lift my legs and shake both feet.
“Allan, what if you’re covered by a blanket, and I can’t notice your toes?”
“Don’t be silly, you’d notice my toes wiggling under the covers.”
“Maybe there’s a serving tray or a hospital chart on the sheets?”
I thrashed my legs more violently, just in case there was some truth in my theory.
“Allan, you’re not in a coma.”
“How can you be sure?”
“Because from my point of view, I might be the one in a coma.”
My legs stopped kicking.
“Warwick, either way we should keep conversing, so no one ends up pulling the plug from our life support.”

When I first read the synopsis of this book I had no idea of the magical journey I was about to undertake.  Kevin Klehr has written a unique and clever story that doesn't work on every level but certainly sets itself apart from other books in the m/m genre.  Allan and Warwick have been best friends for the last year, but Allan always hoped for more.  Fear kept him from voicing his true feelings though and what follows, once the two of them enter this new and colorful world, is a demonstration of the need to seize the day.  Early on in the story it's not clear what's happened to the two of them and it takes a long time until the reader is let in on their fate and the importance of each step they make becomes clear.
As the colorful cast of secondary characters help bring Allan and Warwick together, while two other villains try to keep them apart, there's a play being put on that is a juxtaposition to the events going on off the stage.  This added an even more melodramatic feel to everything in this world that became a bit much at times though.  The roadblocks keeping Allan and Warwick apart were silly and didn't really make sense.  Their on-again off-again relationship made both of them appear disagreeable at times to where I wasn't sure that they should be together.  I had to trust in what a fortune teller and an angel told me.  It's not until a final unexpected heartwrenching act that I truly believe in their love.  This act left me shocked, and after the overly long journey it took to get to the end, I felt very frustrated and cheated.  Those not fond of cliffhangers or clear cut HEA should be warned.
This book needed to be shortened as the middle section dragged. What kept me reading were the glimpses of Guy the angel.  He was sweet and charming with a bit of sexiness and naughtiness thrown in.  I adored him and would love to read a story devoted to him.  The other secondary characters were unique but as their number increased it got difficult remembering who was who.  The sex scenes gave an interesting twist to how you normally picture the Afterlife and were well-written with steamy intensity.
I didn't always love this story but liked its fresh ideas. The writing was dream-like with strong emotions.  The promise shown here has me intrigued for what Mr. Klehr has planned next.  With a bit of streamlining an already interesting concept can become great.
My rating for this is a C+
*I received this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion.

BUY LINKS:   Amazon   |   BN  |   Queer Books


Kevin lives with his long-term partner in their humble apartment (affectionately named Sabrina), in Australia's own 'Emerald City,' Sydney.
He calls himself a bit of a 'media tart,' having worked both professionally and voluntarily in television, radio and online. His longest running passion is a weekly radio program he and his partner, Warren, produce for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander station, Koori Radio. Since 2005 they have been discovering music, both new and old, and interviewing local artists and community leaders. Every Saturday night, the Rhythm Divine is heard across Sydney and via the world wide web.
From an early age Kevin had a passion for writing, jotting down stories and plays until it came time to confront puberty. After dealing with pimple creams and facial hair, Kevin didn't pick up a pen again until he was in his thirties. His handwritten manuscript was being committed to paper when his social circumstances changed, giving him no time to write. Concerned, Warren snuck the notebook out to a friend who in turn came back and demanded Kevin finish his novel. It wasn't long before Kevin's active imagination was let loose again.
Kevin is currently at work on the sequel to Drama Queens with Love Scenes.

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