Taking A Different Approach, Part Two

I am sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.   I considered making a new category for it, but decided that it really is a Captured Moment.   My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.


Adding injury to the mix.

Luckily I was pretty active for the most part, so I was about twenty-five pounds overweight. Around the same time as the depression hit, I had some foot problems that kept me from wearing any closed in shoes. It looked as if surgery was the only option. I balked and wore clogs and sandals, was less active and the weight came on. I started a new job and thought that would help but I gained ten pounds in the first nine months (they were big into potlucks).

After consulting with two surgeons, they determined I had two bone spurs in my right heel. One is a Haglund’s Deformity and the other on the bottom, is a calcaneal spur  (heel spur). The bursa on the back of the heel from the Haglund’s deformity was no longer fluid filled and had formed a large, painful ball which was irritating the tendon. There were two options for surgery. One would have me off my feet for eight weeks with a possible eight month or longer recovery. The second option was less invasive but still required three complete weeks of no weight-bearing then several weeks in a boot, but it would not totally fix the problem. The thing that scared me most was being told that if I fell, I could damage the foot more than it was before surgery from either procedure. The second option recommended orthotics after surgery, but the surgery had to be done first.

Below is an x-ray I found online that illustrates what my bone spurs look like.  The tenonitis in the back of the heel has progressed to tendonosis.

What’s the difference?  Achilles tendonitisis an acute, inflammatory, repetitive stress injury of the Achilles tendon,commonly affecting athletes and active individuals. When tendons (tendons attach muscles to bones) are inflamed they may become painful. Research, however, indicates that when there is ongoing or chronic pain from a tendon such as the Achilles, the tendon is not persistently inflamed but actually degenerative, with thickening, scar tissue, and sometimes partial tearing. This degenerative condition of the tendon is referred to as tendinosis. Understanding the difference is changing how tendon “overuse” injuries are treated and is crucial to effective management of these conditions.”  Excerpt from Achilles Tendonitis or Tendinosis? Minnesota Sports Medicine.

Bone spursOf course I turned to food for comfort and I was up to forty pounds overweight. Did I mention that I am pre-diabetic? Well, this weight was not helping and I could feel changes in my body and how I responded to certain foods. I really needed to do something.
This is when I took my husband’s advice and went to see his chiropractor. He said he could work on the shortened tendon and muscle that caused the problem initially and possibly give me relief with orthotic shoe inserts (ok, I had heard about orthotics before but this time there was no cutting of tendons involved with this option). The ball on the back of the foot would most likely remain but not be as painful. I was skeptical but it was a better option than surgery. Besides, I could always have the surgery if it didn’t work.
When I went to the chiropractor I also found that I was out of alignment. This helped explain the bit of length difference in my legs as well as the pain in my neck, shoulders and lower back. I have been going to bi-weekly sessions and everything is lining up, so to speak. I am able to move more comfortably, I stretch daily to keep the muscles loose and (gasp) I am now wearing closed in shoes with the orthotic inserts. I am very pleased about that.
So that should help get me back to being more active, right? It was a good step, but there was still that pesky depression to work on.

Next: Part Three, weight gain and depression.  What am I going to do?



When I first started reviewing books, I was with Live Your Life Buy The Book.  I was so excited to be a part of the blogging community and be with a great group of people.  One of the first books I reviewed was Dracones, an anthology from Storm Moon Press.  I have mentioned that I love anthologies and a well written short story is a joy to read.  When I saw there was an anthology available about Dragons, I immediately wanted to review it.   I was not disappointed.  I enjoyed some stories more than others but over all I really liked the book. (Review originally posted on Live your Life Buy the Book)

A Storm Moon Press Anthology
Publisher : Storm Moon Press (BUY HERE)
Genre : M/M, Fantasy
Length : 100,000 words (e-book)
Published : May 17, 2013
Overall rating:
4 stars

Almost every ancient civilization has stories of some form of dragon, from the winged serpents of Asian lore to the traditional Western image of the fire-breathing behemoth. Literature is filled with stories of valiant heroes riding into the jaws of danger to slay the beast and rescue the princess. But sometimes, the knight in shining armor is less interested in the maiden in distress than in the dragon he’s supposed to slay. Dracones brings together seven stories detailing the power and majesty of a dragon’s love.

Most of the humans in Fugue in Gold and Fire are unknowingly animals in human form, and when the Vesti Moon rises, the animal forms break free, with no memory of their human lives. Lovers Adri and Dru search for a way to recognize each other during the change, but when Dru’s true form turns out to be a dragon, he considers never changing back.

Peter Harington aspires to be a Teller of Tales when he submits his fictional dragon manuscript for publication. Tom, the editor assigned to work with Peter, though, finds the worldbuilding a little too real and is determined to learn the truth.

When the dragon Daire is wounded, only the Weird Magics of alchemist Cyras can heal him. But when one of the fae is found killed and her blood drained, Daire suspects his savior of illegal experimentation and murder.

Then, in Chanson Commencante de Guerre, the ancient dragon Rayvak finds himself strangely drawn to the young dragon shifter Stormy, despite the years of war between the dragons and the dragon shifters. The two must overcome centuries of animosity if they are to find any happiness together.

Psychic David and his dragon lover Ferdie are literally Two in the Bush when their camping trip is interrupted by the magical guardians of their forest. They can sense the power of the dragon, but believe that David and Ferdie have it bound and demand that they release it or die!

Finding the Rain is the task charged to Buwei, sent with offerings to the Dragon Lord Shenlong in hopes of ending his province’ drought, a journey none have ever returned from. But the dragon’s temple keeper, Tian, wants Buwei for himself and is willing to defy even the great dragon to keep him.

Finally, in Lukos Heat, a mission of revenge sends the dragon Najlah into the mountains and into an unlikely partnership with the wolf shifter Barkus. And the closer they get to their quarry, the more they realize that nothing is as it appears.


When I was given the opportunity to review an anthology with Dragons as the main focus I was thrilled.  As one who loves all things dragon and my favorite genre to read is m/m romance, this seemed like the perfect combination.

circledragonsFugue in Gold and Fire by Avery Vanderlyle is a beautifully written story about a land where once every thousand years the Vesti moon appears casting her purple glow upon the world and humans will find their true shape.  Adri and Dru are lovers who meet when Adri comes to the university to help research the phenomenon of the Vesti moon.  Legend has it that during this phase humans will shift into their true form, which maybe any type of creature.  The fear is not being able to remember who you are and not being able to shift back to a human form, thus losing your family and loved ones in the process.  The author weaves a lyrical tale of how Dru and Adri work to find a way to not forget one another.  I loved the emotion between the characters and I was enraptured by these two lovers struggles during the change and the events that come afterwards.  As a lover of all things dragon I thought this was a delightful story ~ rated 5 stars.

Teller of Tales by D.K. Jernigan This story is written from the perspective of the dragon. One who has been around centuries and while reading a book decides that he could tell a tale about dragons, knights and princesses with a different perspective.  Peter Harrington submits a sample of his manuscript to Editor Thomas Doherty of Midas books.  Thomas is fascinated with the story and wants to meet with Peter to discuss a possible contract.  There is an immediate attraction between the two men.  The story uses some of the better known dragon mythology with a variance specific to Peter.  This is an erotic short story that moves quickly but appropriate for such a short story ~ rated 3.5 stars.

Weird Magic by E.E. Ottoman
We are introduced to Daire as he is racing back to shore after being attacked by a creature while swimming in the sea.  Daire is a Wyrm whose magic has been stripped by an alchemist, so that he is unable to heal as he should.   He trust one man to treat him, Doctor Cyras Faulkner, also an alchemist but a healer of non human creatures.  The revolves around a group of university professors who are alchemist and Daire’s quest to reacquire his magic and find those responsible for taking his away.  The story has a definite steam punk feel to it, carriages, gritty dark settings, alchemy and machinery. Daires character is mysterious and he has an antagonistic relationship with Cyras until he finds something he needs from him.  I enjoyed the gradual build in the relationship between Cyras and Daire.  The mystery with the steam punk setting was a nice backdrop for the story. The ending felt a bit abrupt but satisfying. ~ rated 3.5 stars.

images-2Chanson Commencante de Guerre by Lor Rose
Rayvak is a dragon in living a solitary life after being exiled by his Emperor many, many years ago.  The Dragons and the dragon shifters are at war.  The reason for this war is never clearly defined in the story.  Rayvek finds a young dragon shifter, Stormy, that has been brutalized by other dragons being pursued by his cousin Tal onto his land.  He instinct to protect takes over and he chooses to protect the young shifter instead of killing him.  The differences between dragons and dragon shifters play an important role in the story.  It is apparent they have a lot of misconceptions about one another and they are capable of cross mating even though it is forbidden by the ruling party of both groups.  The feelings between Rayvek and Stormy are passionate as they struggle in this uncharted territory and what they will be faced with. Unfortunately the story ends with many questions left unanswered and felt unfinished.  ~ rated 3 stars.

Two in the Bush by E.R. Karr
I felt like I was dropped into the middle of a book with this story.  David Sleight is a psychic investigator whose boyfriend Ferdie Griffon happens to be a dragon. We start with David having a dream and waking up to find he and Ferdie lost in a camp ground.  There is a lot of flashing back to fill in information about how they got to this point but it is all pretty confusing.  There are so many questions about Ferdie as a dragon in human form, his heart stone, his loss of magic (which is referred to many times as having been lost and or sealed away due to some occurrence that happened off page before this story).  I came away thinking that if this was actually part of a longer book where I had some background and world building it might be a rather fun comical romance, as it was, I finished it feeling a bit as lost as the characters had been in the story.  ~ rated 2 stars.

c3291021668182fe539e5bf2f22ba3d3Finding the Rain by Tam Ames.
This is a jewel of a story.  Buwei is a poor farmer living with his mother and grandmother in a small village.  The village has been under a drought for three years and the people are starving.  He is summoned one night by the governor to bring an offering to the Dragon Lord Shenlong, that he may bless the village and bring the rains.  Before leaving, Buwei ensures a promise from the governor that he will take care of Buwei’s family as his own until Buwei returns.  From this point we journey with Buwei in his quest to the palace of The Dragon Lord.  The beautiful descriptions of the journey, his arrival at the temple and the events that follow are vivid and lyrical.  This has the feel of a classic fable.  I look forward to reading more from this author.  ~ rated 5 stars.

Lukos Heat by Megan Derr
Najlah, is a hornless dragon (do not mistake this for weak – he is fierce) and a group of shifters are hunting a traitor into the Shide Mountains.  They are having little success and are approached by a group of Lukos, wolf shifters.  The leader of this group of Lukos is named Barkus and he and his pack agree to help in the quest , if for no other reason than to get Najlah and his group off their mountain.   This story has a great fantasy adventure setting.  There are shifters, dragons, political intrigue, battles, magic, mountains, blizzards and a golem. It was fun and rough and adventurous.  No soft sweet romance either.  The take on the dragons was different than I have read before and I was not sure I liked it at first but Najlah quickly grew on me.  I enjoyed this one and would definitely read more books set in this world.  ~ rated 4.5 stars.

Over all I enjoyed most of the stories, some more than others.  I would definitely recommend this anthology to anyone who enjoys stories about dragons and their men.

Happy Reading,


Albert Phineas Drache



Calling All Authors – The Holiday Season is Just Around the Corner.

holidays-are-comingSeptember is here and before we know it Halloween, Thanksgiving ,Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa and many other holidays that occur during this time of year will be here.

Last year I hosted an event called M/M Holiday Delights and focused on the M/M Holiday Reading list 2014.   It featured over 56 authors and their holiday/winter themed stories.  I included their new releases as well as their previously released holiday books. bear santa

I am working on the  M/M Holiday Reading list for 2015 and need your help.  If you have a Winter/ Holiday themed book or story coming out please let me know.  I would love to add it to my reading list.  If you know of anyone that you think would like to have their M/M holiday books included as well please contact me.  I will compile the holiday reading list, have a Holiday Spotlight, New release posts and a Wrapping Up the Holidays post for each author.  These are also cross posted to Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

I know many authors are preparing for GayRomLit in October and will be busy until after this event.  I will send out another request after GRL because there are a lot of us who love to curl up under a warm blanket with a hot cup of coffee and a snuggle in with a great M/M holiday book.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you and making it another wonderful holiday season filled with M/M Holiday Delights.


Albert Phineas Drache

Taking a Different Approach Part One

Over the next couple of weeks I will be sharing a small personal journey that I just completed.   I considered making a new category for it, but decided that it really is a Captured Moment.   My journey addresses an aspect of my life that I needed to work on as it was affecting my health.  I am not endorsing any products or methods for dealing with the subject of these blog posts.  I am sharing my thoughts and feeling and what I decided was the best course of action for me.

Part One.

A couple of years ago something changed and I just decided not to care about my health. I am not sure why. I was going through menopause, I felt depressed and on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Life was not all that bad. My perception was that it was and that there was some elusive magic something that would make it better.
Growing up in my family, food was the answer for all situations and feelings. My stressed-is-desserts-spelled-backwardsgrandmother had breakfast ready for us in the morning and was already planning lunch as she cleaned the kitchen. Dinner was ready when my grandfather came home from work, and we always had dessert. Always. When friends came over she made us treats. If I was sick, she would prepare a favorite food; if I was sad, there would be comfort food. Something wonderful happened, we would celebrate with food. At the holidays she baked everyone’s favorite cake or pie. I equated taking care of those you love with food.
So this is what I did. I used food for comfort. Happy, sad, angry or even bored, food was the answer.
I feel fat today cakeThe more weight I gained the more depressed I felt. There was also the apathy about doing something to fix the problem, on top of the menopause symptoms with mood swings, hot flashes and night sweats.
If you are wondering why I didn’t seek medical advice about these issues, I am not one to take medications unless it is absolutely the last course of action. Caffeine and ibuprofen are the only two medications I would use. If that didn’t fix it then I would just have to deal with it. I have always leaned towards a more natural or holistic approach to health (well, before I didn’t care). I have watched family members become so dependent on various medications without working on the underlying causes. They did not always find the answer in the medications and the side effects were more damaging than the initial problem. I am not against medications if one needs it and understands the benefits and risks. It’s just not something I choose to do. I want to explore what is causing the feelings and how I am responding to them and try to determine what avenue I need to try. Sometimes it just helps to talk to someone I trust or seek out advice from another source. This was enough to deal with, I thought, but there was another issue I had been putting off taking care of.


Next time, Part Two.  Adding injury to the mix.

Coffee Monday

You can't buy happiness but you can buy coffee

I also want to introduce you to a coffee blog that I happened upon last week.  It is

The Coffee Kitty


It is a beautiful site and filled with wonderful articles, reviews and recipes all pertaining to coffee.

This is from their site:

The Coffee Kitty is an online café.

“A place to share recipes, products, and helpful tips about brewing coffee. There’s no elitism, no requirements, and no judgement. No everyone enjoys coffee the same way, someone’s Chemex might be another’s Nespresso. Enjoy our online cafe offers free helpful advice and outstanding recipes to turn your everyday coffee into something special and unique. We’ll introduce you to exciting new products available, and show you helpful tricks to save you time and money.”

Grab a cup of coffee and take a look.


Albert Phineas Drache

News, Reviews and Giveaways for the week of August 31, 2015.

Good Morning!!

I hope everyone had a great weekend.

The review sites have a lot planned for this week.

I have been talking about the September Reading Challenge over at Joyfully Jay for the last couple of weeks.  Well – It starts now!

Each week they have a different challenge.  I have worked up a list of potential reads for each Challenge.

My current list (Not sure which book I will choose for each challenge):

Week one
An author I have never read before.
I Probably Shouldn’t have Done That by Edmond Manning
Woke Up in a Strange Place by Eric Arvin
Get Your Shine On by Nick Wilgus

Week Two
TBR pile challenge – a book on your TBR list that has been there for over a year.
Homo Action Love Story. A Tall Tale. By Ben Monopoli
Ghost (Wolf’s-Own #1) by Carole Cummings

Week Three
Genre Challenge – read a genre you don’t normally read
Ruin Porn by S.A McAuley and SJD Peterson
Rock Stars are one I do not read often.  This was hard, because I read a lot of different genres, contemporary(foremost), BDSM, Historical, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy and Paranormal.  When I saw this book I knew it would be the one.  I wanted to read it anyway and it was outside my usual picks. :-)

Week Four
Favorites List Challenge
Read a book from one of Joyfully Jays Favorites list

I am thinking I will choose Road Trips:
Easy Ryder by Deanna Wadsworth
Special Delivery by Heidi Cullinan (This is one I have been wanting to re-read before I read Double Blind (the second book in the series).

Let me know what you’re reading for the challenge. :-)

Reading Challenge Month Kick Off

Click on the icon for details


Joyfully Jay Reviews

Joyfully Jay Coming This Week large logo

The Novel Approach Reviews

novel-approach-facebook-icon The Novel Approach starts the week with Marie Sexton and countdown to GayRomLit 2015 (which unfortunately I will have to miss this year (pouts)  Never heard of it? Check out Monday’s post. ;-)

Prism Book Alliance


This week I enjoyed the Outside The margins feature with Catherine Dair.  It is something that occurs and I have taught my children similar acts of respect or kindness and they have experienced some of the things that she discusses in the blog.

 Check it out.



 Plus Check out these other great blogs too: 

(Remember these two new blogs from last week?  J. Scott Coatsworth has Freddy Mackay on his Author Spotlight this week.)

Queer Sci Fi

J. Scott Coatsworth  My own Bent Perspective on SciFi and Fantasy

It's About The Book BadgeLive your Life buy The Book


 MM Good Book Reviews

Happy Reading


Albert Phineas Drache

From the Author that brought us Anti-gravity Cows.

I have wanted to say that for a very long time.  ;-)   I am so excited! Angel Martinez has given us a new book in the Brimstone series, Potato Surprise – A Brimstone Sequel. And guess what?  It’s Free! Thank you Shax and Angel. <3  (Free, everywhere except Amazon…)  I just grabbed my copy.  What are you waiting for.  This is an awesome series.  You can check my reviews for the series at the bottom of this post.


smashwordskobo-logoMischief Corner Books Logo





Potato Surprise Angel MartinezBy Angel Martinez
Brimstone 0
Release Date:
August 29, 2015
Word Count: 26,600
Editor: Erika OrrickBefore Ness, before Corny, before Leopold and Heckle and Mac, there was just Shax and Verin and a newly stolen, er, acquired cargo ship. Join Shax on his first adventure in space in which a pampered demon prince has a lot to learn.When a steel trap of celestial and infernal politics threatens to close around them, Shax and Verin flee Earth’s system in a stolen ship, leaving everything behind. It’s an elegantly simple plan, with a new ship and a new life as carefree brigands among the stars.

But the ship seems to hate them, and in order to have any sort of life they need funds. A frightened man offering them a contract to deliver three mysterious crates comes just in time, and Shax is sure their troubles are over. Out of his environment and in over his head, Shax scrambles to understand the players and the consequences of his new life. With cargo that’s not what it seems, shadowy motives around every turn, and a gorgeous rogue named Julian for a dash of added confusion, Shax’s grand schemes of a new start may be his demise before he can even begin.

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy

Reviews of the other books in the Brimstone series:

Hell for The Company Brimstone book 1 Angel Martinez

Fear of Frogs – Brimstone Book 2 Angel Martinez

Shax’s War (Brimstone 3) by Angel Martinez

Happy Reading,


Albert Phineas Drache


I am reading an anthology called Charmed and Dangerous: Ten Tales of Gay Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy.  The first story in the book contain dragons.  They play major parts in the story although they are not the main characters.  I always enjoy having dragons in a story and love to see how they are represented.  My first dragon series was The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffery and of course Smaug from The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.

My question to you is what are your favorite M/M  Dragon related books?

Next week I will  post a review of a book that I enjoyed.

I am looking forward to hearing from you,


Albert Phineas Drache


Dragon’s Lair Garden Update

A few of months ago I posted a couple of blogs about a plant kit I bought called Dragon’s Lair.  It came with a cute container and seeds to grow Dragon trees and Black Dragon Coleus.  The last post showed the coleus sprouting nicely.

Dragons Lair 3-13-2015 Black Dragon Coleus seedlings

Unfortunately I do not get enough sun in my house and I set them on the porch and forgot to bring them in.  Being summer, they promptly died.  The Dragon tree which is a Dracaena of some sort never sprouted.  The package said it may take up to twenty days.

I replanted the coleus and the Dracaena and the coleus came up quickly.  They were looking good and once again I set them on the porch with good intentions.  The thunder storm that blew through had other ideas and the poor little seedlings were scattered about.  The Dragon tree seeds showed no indication that they were even thinking of sprouting.  I think they may have been bad seeds.

So, I ordered Black Dragon Coleus seeds.  Planted them in seed trays and grew them in the potting shed.  These came up beautifully.  I put the little seedlings in the container and soon realized they would quickly out grow it.

Black Dragon Coleus. Third times a charm.

Black Dragon Coleus. Third times a charm.

Poor little dragon has lost a lot of his cave in the storm.

Poor little dragon has lost a lot of his cave in the storm.

Out growing the container

Out growing the container

Eventually I had to re-pot the plants into a larger container.  The dragon now has his lair, even though it wasn’t exactly the one we were aiming for.