Sweet Vernal Zephyr

Succinct Book Reviews
(aka Creating & Whit)


From Vagabondage Press, A sweet and hilarious gay romantic comedy novelette by London author Cameron Vale.

Virginal Stephen Patterson is suffering from writer’s block on his latest money-spinning bodice-ripper, and his mood can only get worse when Dave the plumber shows up two hours late, mocks him, and plunders his pantry.

But first impressions can be deceptive; Dave is a highly unusual tradesman with an odd line in biscuit-based philosophy, an open-minded approach to sex, and a cast-iron certificate in unblocking all sorts of pipes.

When Dave decides that it’s long past time for Stephen to unclog years of fear and insecurity, Stephen may finally discover who he really is.


• I had never heard it used before, but being fairly new to reading m/m romance I wondered if the title had a dual meaning... YUP!

• Heavy on the London accents (for this New Yorker). Took me a while to decipher the slang though I will admit it pulled me into the story 'cause I had to THINK about what I was reading and comprehend the humor. What does, "ASBO-d reject" mean?

Example of the slang - Quote from page 19:
"Clock ’em giving yer the old sideways glance when they think yer not looking. Sidle over. Sound them out. Bit of safe footie or music chat to kick things off. Keep it neutral and blokey to start with, then drop in the odd innuendo, see if they take the bait. If they don’t and start to get angsty, pull the innocent card, call them a queer first and walk off in high dudgeon."

• Ms. Vale has a definite style to her writing; full of detail and the oddly distracting adjective suggesting sentient presence to inanimate objects. (Ok, so maybe a quote would better help you understand, since my mimicry will most likely confuse rather than inform.)

Example of style - Quote from page 2:
"Having witnessed this particular breakdown on a plenitude of occasions, the front door waves goodbye to patience and lets rip a series of short, staccato bangs, jumping the needle from the stuck record of Stephen’s soliloquy."

• Protagonist Stephens' bodice-ripper characters breaking into the story remind me of Ripping the Bodice by Inara Lavey.

• Stephen mouthing off to the characters in his head is totally on par with the way my amateur scribblings evolve. (My husband just watches me with an odd smile on his face when he catches those one sided conversations - indulgent hunk.)

• Unique and creative phrasing: "pneumatically heaving breasts" and "Yer such a panic-merchant"

• Awesome powerplay, trippy philosophy, hot messy sex. It's all good.

• Fun and quirky, I couldn't stop grinning the whole time I read this story.

• Oh! And why is it that this m/m romance understands that anal sex doesn't happen on the first time when erotic menages just plunder that virgin ass? /rant

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I'm partial to old wild west cowboy accents meself, "I reckon you ain't got no 'shine round these parts, eh?"

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Not entering. Intriguing premise, but oh, I have a lot of trouble with books heavy on the slang.

Chris - It did take some cranial reconnoitering to get into the story, but I am glad I did. ;)

Lisa said, Favorite accent--definitely an Irish bur.

Which brings to mind lucious images of Gerard Butler in a kilt. :)

Cameron Vale said... May 27, 2011 at 1:21 PM  

Thanks for reviewing my story, SVZ. :) I apologise for making your head hurt with the London slang. An 'ASBO'd reject' is someone rejected by society because they've been cautioned by the police for bad behaviour and received an Anti-Social Behaviour Order. That was pretty obscure! Thanks for persevering. :)

All the best,

Cameron! Thank you for clearing that up and for stopping by :D

Cameron Vale said... May 27, 2011 at 6:55 PM  

My pleasure, SVZ. Thanks again for taking the time to read and review. :D

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Thanks so much for delving into my head. It's scary in here sometimes, so it is nice to have company! Don't step on the zephyr...

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