A Chat with Damon Suede about Horn Gate, Bad Idea and audio books…And I made a Gin Gimlet

HornGateAUDlgLast week I wrote my Ode to Bad Idea and waxed long about all the things that were fantastic about that book. One of my FAVORITE things specifically, was getting to read about Trip’s, one of the heroes, and his creation of the  comic Scratch. In the story we get to read how he comes up with the demon as the main character, the descriptions of his appearance are wonderful and very very alluring. There is also Scratch’s nemesis, The Judge, who promises to be a mighty villain. As a comics fan, there was so much goodness to conjure up in my mind…I was so very curious of what that comic book would look like, I wanted to see it to so bad. To my delight Mr. Suede wrote, Horn Gate, a novella with the first installment of the Scratch series, which is available in ebook and audio formats!  About halfway through Bad Idea I went and bought Horn Gate on audio to pounce on it the moment I finished the book.

First things first, it should be required that this story is read in combination with Bad Idea. Actually, I find it hard to believe anyone could get to the end of Bad Idea and NOT feel an overwhelming need to read it! The build up and back story we get for it are so damn intriguing it was all I could do to not read both books at once!  Not surprisingly Scratch’s story gets off to a delightfully dark and sensual start. There is a lot of mysticism in the story to build on, and like any good comic arc it uses traditional (or obscure) lore elements to create a super interesting world. This story blends in Hebraic lore and demonology, and a strong dose of urban fantasy which totally worked for me. The audio version is narrated by Charlie David who has done both of Damon’s previous novels. He did an amazing job here, and in my opinion really helped the story come to life.

Horn Gate is set in NYC. Isaac a rare volumes curator in a NYC library is our hero, on his 22nd birthday he decided to venture to a sex lounge, Gehenna, he has inadvertently acquired an invitation for. Once Isaac, who is a bit on the pudgy side and quite geeky, goes into the club he realizes just how out of place he is. There are some strange goings on at Gehenna. Of course Isaac can’t keep from snooping around, and soon he finds himself in a room with what looks to be some sort of fallen angel. Things end up getting a bit confusing when Isaac gets a bit closer to the beautiful being who seems to be imprisoned in Gehenna’s basement. He wakes up the next day unsure of what happened, but with an intense desire to see his demon again. Strange things are happening to him, and quickly realizes he might walked into something a lot more sinister than he could have imagined. His fate is linked to the his demon’s and he will do what he has to for both of them to walk out alive.

This novella (as it should!) will leave you with more questions than answers. This is the setup for an arc, so what we get is a look at the relevant actors, a sense of the setting, the world, and the tone for the story. As openers go this was delicious, basically what we have here is a whole lot to look forward to! After finishing Horn Gate, I had some questions regarding the story and putting it on audio. Damon kindly took the time to answer them for me. But, before we go on to that, let’s talk alcoholic beverages…I made  a cocktail for this one, because, A. Wine just did not seem to go with this story and B. Because I hadn’t had a Gin Gimlet in a really long time and Isaac, Scratch’s hero drinks them in the story. So, The Gimlet.

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Like I said, I was really curious about what involved putting Bad Idea and Horn Gate on audio, they are both extremely visual stories, but completely different in their tone, genre, etc. I took my questions to Damon, and he very graciously answered them, and then some!

Tipsy Bibliophile: How did the process of getting Bad Idea and Horn Gate on audio go? 

Damon Suede: Honestly, smooth as silk. Charlie David and I have been friends and colleagues for a whole bunch of years. He did such a masterful job on the Hot Head audiobook that I had him written into my contract for both books. LOL I knew going in that he was the baseline. I knew that Horn Gate and Bad Idea needed to have the same narrator because of the overlap between them. Thing is, he gets my voice and really knows how to bring the characters to life. He always goes the extra mile to make may books dazzle and I love him for it.  The truth is, I trust him pretty implicitly… He has a way of splashing around in language that’s sexy, funny, and thrilling to hear. Because he gets my voice, I knew he would dive into these books in the same way, even though they were so different from Griff & Dante’s story in Hot Head.

TB: Was there anything in particular you asked him to focus on? Where there parts of the story you were especially worried about?

 DS: With Horn Gate, my biggest concern was all the insane Hebrew and demonology, but I trusted him because I know I can. LOL In a sense, Bad Idea actually felt a lock for him. It’s such a theatrical book and has a bit of a rom-com feel that I knew he’d groove on. Charlie LOVES digging into characters and finding the stuff that makes them tick, so I was certain he’d go balls to the wall on that one. For Bad Idea, I didn’t really have concerns beyond the general flow of it. Dreamspinner has been phenomenal with audiobooks and Andrew Grey has taken over the production end with dazzling results. I’m so grateful for the way he shepherded these through so quickly and gracefully. Between Andrew and Charlie, my audio was in the best hands.

TBWhat was it like for you to listen to Scratch and Issac’s story on audio? For me, it was amazing, especially after the build up for it in Bad Idea. Did the images come to your mind just like they did when you were making them?

DS: Horn Gate is such a visual story, so yeah. The original idea for the comic came to me while I was drafting Bad Idea. And the more I wrote Silas and Trip’s story, the more I wanted to know the details about their collaboration. SO much of Bad Idea is about the sexiness of collaborating, bringing something to life. Also, I used to write for comics, and I truly plotted Scratch’s story out the way I would a graphic novel. I built Scratch’s series arc in his first big sticky adventure, and I wanted it to echo back and forth between the two books thematically. Not to mention, as I was finishing the rough draft of Horn Gate, Rey Arzeno came to my loft and PAINTED Scratch for me while I wrote, both of us listening to my soundtrack for the project. Amazing mojo! I’d have an idea and he’d paint it, and he could just look over and ask about the way Scratch came off the page. I love that kind of creative back and forth, when we bring out the best in each other by kicking each other’s asses.

And since (technically) I was writing the novella AS Trip Spector, that added a funny sizzle to the process because I have my personal experience in that industry, but wanted Scratch to be in his “voice” if you know what I mean. Horn Gate definitely has an urban fantasy feel, and the Indiana-Jones style digging in the musty library only added to that as the pieces came together. I loved the way Charlie built that sense of wonder/urgency/anxiety into that last build solving the mystery of Scratch. Again Charlie is phenomenal at digging the drama out of a situation and he just went for it. As he does!

Writing Bad Idea and Horn Gate turned out to be such a blessing, because the contemporary side of the two artists let me do one kind of exploration and then playing in the paranormal let me flex all kinds of other spooky muscles. That’s like muse-candy. 🙂 And coming soon I’ll have the second Scratch novella, and the sequel to Bad Idea (which will be Ziggy’s book). We’ve already had offers on an actual comic book adaptation of Scratch which is so f#$%ing exciting.

So there you have it folks. Thanks again to the lovely Mr. Suede, I learned so much about his creative process for both Bad Idea and Horn Gate, as well as some exciting news of what’s to come! I CANNOT wait for the comic book adaptation for Horn Gate and can barely contain my excitement about Ziggy and Kurt!

Totally recommend this novella! Horn Gate is available on ebook and audio version at Dreamspinner press.

The Gimlet

1 oz Gin

4 oz of sweetened lemon juice

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In an cocktail shaker mix the gin and juice with LOTS of ice. Pour on to a martini glass and garnish with a sliver of lemon peel.

That’s all for me today! Hope you enjoyed the chat with Damon, and that you giver the Gimlet a try.

Cheers and Happy Reading.




Remnant by Jordan L Hawk and KJ Charles and one of my fave mixologies, The Negroni.


Sooooooo...Jordan L Hawk and KJ Charles wrote a story together and it’s free…Featuring characters from their stories which we know and love!!!! That is what I call GOOD NEWS! These ladies have been producing some of the best reading material I’ve gotten my hands on in the pasty year. KJ and Jordan each have very unique writing styles, and their stories are RICH with captivating adventures, great humor and very intriguing mysteries. These ladies bring elegance to the horror genre, I kid you not. But where the both take really bring it in their stories, their men. I LOVE their characters. Jordan’s men they are not always comfortable in their own skin, but they are noble and true. Whyborne and Griffin are a delight to read.  As for KJ, the woman elevates the term dark and mysterious, to some new heights. She also has a true gift in weaving humor into her stories in a way that really adds value.

Like I said my excitement was susbtantial when I heard that Jordan and KJ has hooked up to write  story…That got me thinking what to do, what do drink, what to eat…I decided food, might not be the thing for this one, because people this is a PARTAY…Like a let’s get tipsy and go kinda a crazy up in here…So naturally. Cocktails. One of my favoritest cocktails is the Negroni, it’s a got equal parts of Campari, Vermouth and Gin. Three things I enjoy very much separately, but when they come together it’s PERFECTION, and then sipping it while reading a story written by two authors I LOVE!!!…I need a GIF for this…

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Now back to this collaboration, to be honest, despite the fact that their stories do dabble in similar areas, I had never considered they could write something together. Thankfully, I’m not the one doing the brainstorming for the authors I LOVE. This story brought the two worlds they created together seamlessly. They played the characters off each other so so well. Honestly, it was like the four guys had meant to meet all along.

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Ok let’s get serious here. The story. SO! Remnant is set in London just a few months from when we left Whyborne and Griffin after their last adventure. Simon and Robert have been together for about five years and their latest case is a strange one indeed. Three people have been found dead, HORRIBLY dead that is. When Robert and Simon arrive at the scene of the latest murder, they reach an impasse.  The writings on Simon’s body, which usually tell the tale of the ghost at hand turns out to be in some sort of ancient language. Egyptian language to be more specific, this is a problem. If they can’t decipher the runes, they won’t be able to figure out what needs to be done to appease the angry spirit from the beyond.

While reading the paper Simon happens to spot Percival Endicott Whyborne’s name in the list of notable passengers, arriving in London on a steamer from America. He has heard of this Whyborne, and of his association with cults, necromancers and all kinds of unsavory types. BUT the man is said to be an Egyptologist which means he could be valuable in helping with the message in the runes. Robert quickly sets of to try and find him. He eventually identifies Whyborne and his travelling companion (a very fetching young man) and before they know it they’re all in a weapon laden stand-off. Things are tense, but Whyborne and Griffin are not ones to walk away from an adventure, specially if they can help prevent more deaths. So pretty soon the foursome is teaming up to come after the person responsible for the the strange murders.

Whyborne and Feximal are not too fond of each other, but Griffin and Caldwell get on like old bosom buddies…And doesn’t that chafe their respective lovers asses?  The dynamics that ensue from this unlikely team effort are fabulous. The banter is exquisite and so fun to read, Whyborne was in rare form  in this story. He is so awkward and lovable and the way Griffin completely adores him ALWAYS charms me. Robert is such an imp and completely shameless, the man can certainly get sober and serious Simon to loose his cool. In the BEST ways possible. This one is a winner for sure. I really do hope these ladies consider bringing these guys together again. It was a delight to read, the mystery itself was not really the meat of the story, there was not much horror on this one. I was fine with that, just seeing these guys run into each other take of in an adventure together was satisfying to the extreme.

Totally recommend this one! It is available for free here. 

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The Negroni

1 oz Vermouth

1 oz Campari

1 oz Gin (I used Citadelle, which in my opinion is the best value in the market)

Stir in a cocktail shaker and serve over ice. Add a couple of slices of orange to the glass for garnish and taste!

I hope you enjoy the story and the cocktail.

Cheers and Happy Reading!


Throwback Thursday: That’s What Brother’s Do by Derekica Snake

that's what brothers doI’m trying out something this new  today that I will try and do, if not every week, at least a couple of times a month! I have been reviewing M/M Romance novels on Goodreads for about four years now. It seems that in the last couple of years there are more and more newcomers to the genre, with as much appetite and enthusiasm for reading as I had when I first discovered the genre. One thing that I have been thinking about a lot is that many books which I read a few years ago may be easy to miss by someone looking for M/M novels today. There is just so much more to choose from, than there used to be, and the community is so big now.

Almost every day I get notifications from Goodreads for users liking some of the older reviews I’ve written. It’s always surprising because some of those I don’t even remember writing!! So that has given me an idea…Review Throwback Thursday!!!! I’m going to do a post a week for one of my older reviews that seems to be getting interest that particular week and pair it up with a cocktail. That’s right…A cocktail. My main focus for this blog is on wine, but I though it might be fun to do old school cocktails to go along with my old school reviews.

For the first one, I decided to go with the novel That’s What Brothers Do by Derekica Snake. This book is unusual, and it absolutely not for everyone, but I loved it. I read this book back in 2011, a couple of years after this book came out. I definitely recommend it cautiously, but for those that don’t mind edgy, this one is a FAB one to pick up.

For the cocktail, I have the Dirty Martini which is one my favorite cocktails and an all around classic.

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Now for my reviewSo what is the face of evil?  Is it the face of a criminal who has to corrupt a boy’s innocence to get what he is owed, but manages to make sure that that innocence if harried, and stained, remains unbroken? Or is it the face of a father whose weaknesses end up in the destruction of his family, and the sale of his son? Or even beyond that, is it the indolent face of a broken system that allows the cost of treating an illness to spiral down into a nightmare where people lose everything they have? <i>Evil</i> has many faces, so does honor, courage and strength. Sometimes they can all live in the same place…These thoughts were all floating around my head, barely a third into this book. This book is NOT easy, it is brutal, it is raw and it is harrowing. But IT IS GOOD.

Brant Williams offers himself off as payment to Wilber, the man that held his family’s fate in his hand. Wilber takes Brant, and whores him out for 10 years. In those 10 years Brant loses too much, but Wilber in the end gives him back his heart. He becomes Brant’s safety, his lover, his steady solid place. Things never do get easier for Brant. He is thrown into a hard life that becomes part of who he is and all he really knows.

These men live in a dark world, where people are killed, tortured, bought and sold and worse. And here is where perspective comes in handy. Because as much as it is hard to reconcile sometimes. There IS a place for love, even in a nightmare. There IS a place for honor and courage even at our lowest moments. There IS a place for happiness in places where it should never take root.

COMPROMISE, that’s the word I arrived to with this book. Because in life, for the most part, we can never have it all. The trick is figuring at what we’d rather have.

Brant is a martyred soul, whenever he needs to chose between himself, and sacrificing those he loves. He never chooses himself. Those decisions teach him many lessons. Like, sometimes those who you sacrifice for, are not always deserving. Or that finding something to cherish can change what you thought you wanted and who you thought you could be.

Despite it’s imperfections this story had an awesome point of view, and an incredibly generous take on morality, mercy, compassion, and right and wrong. And what those words can mean given the circumstances.

Brant and Wilber’s story ended well, with a ray of light. Did it have it’s shadows? Yes, but it still shined bright.

Not perfect, there were issues with editing and tons of typos. But I’d still give it a solid recommendation.

Hard read, but I really liked this book.

To go the That’s What Brother’s Do Goodreads page, click here.


COCKTAILS!!!! The recipe for this martini is from one of my favorite bars in Ithaca where I reside, Felicia’s Atomic Lounge, I LOVE their Martinis and have never ever had a bad one there.

Dirty Girl Martini

2 ounces Grey Goose Vodka
½ ounce olive juice
3 olives (I use the Goya bran large olives)

Shake vodka and olive juice with ice. Strain into a chilled glass and garnish with olives.

Hope the review encourages to find out more about this book and that possibly make yourself a cocktail this evening to sip while reading!

Cheers and Happy Reading!