Long and Short Reviews welcomes L.J. LaBarthe whose new release Book, Line, and Sinker has recently been released. Leave a comment or ask L.J. a question for a chance to win a free digital copy of the book.
Hello and thanks for having me! I’m L. J. LaBarthe and I’m here today to talk about my new release, “Book, Line, and Sinker.”
The novel is a contemporary m/m romance, set in the middle of the Flinders Ranges, which is one of the most beautiful parts of outback Australia. It’s the story of two men who find each other and find love, and it’s a quiet, gentle romance.
It’s also got a lot of Australian slang in it, which I discovered could well be a whole new language all on its own! Australian slang tends to do several things: it rhymes sometimes (like that!) or it uses as few letters as possible to say as much as possible. For instance, saying something like, “bonza sanga,” means “a terrific sandwich.” Or, another personal favourite is, “You gotta risk it to get the biscuit.” This means, essentially, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Some words have several meanings, depending on context, such as saying “I’m stuffed,” which can mean either, “I’m full,” “I’m tired,” or “I’ve had enough.” Another is the word, “Mob,” which means either “a large group of people,” “a chaotic group of people,” and is also the term for a group of kangaroos.
There are other differences too, for instance what Americans would call a ranch and Europeans would call a large farm, and we in Australia call a station. Stations can be huge; the largest one that’s still in operation is Anna Creek Station in the far north of South Australia. It’s 6 million acres/2.5 million hectares. To put it into perspective, Anna Creek is larger than the country of Israel.
“Book, Line, and Sinker” covers a lot of ground in terms of travel distance—all of the Flinders Ranges—and it uses a lot of the colourful and fun slang that is second nature to me. I do hope readers enjoy it as much as I enjoyed writing it!
After seventeen years serving in the Australian Army, Ash returns to his childhood home in the outback town of Quorn. Filled with the desire to live a happy life in peace and with loved ones, Ash is grimly determined to beat his PTSD and tackle his flashbacks.
What Ash isn’t prepared for is Jaxon, the new librarian in Quorn. Jaxon is calm, gentle, kind, and a rock for Ash’s battered psyche. Ash finds himself falling for the handsome newcomer, even as his mind and memories of the past torment him.
When he has the idea for a mobile library to bring books and entertainment to remote communities in the far north, Ash is delighted that Jaxon is with him every step of the way. But though the library, called Book, Line, and Sinker, takes off, Ash’s past continues to plague him. Can Jaxon’s love be enough to keep them together until Ash is strong enough to stand on his own?
About the Author: L.J. LaBarthe is a French-Australian woman, who was born during the Witching Hour, just after midnight. From this auspicious beginning, she went on to write a prize-winning short story about Humpty Dumpty wearing an Aussie hat complete with corks dangling from it when she was six years old. From there, she wrote for her high school yearbook, her university newspaper, and, from her early teens to her twenties, produced a fanzine about the local punk rock music scene. She loves music of all kinds and was once a classical pianist; she loves languages and speaks French and English and a teeny-tiny smattering of Mandarin Chinese, which she hopes to relearn properly very soon. She enjoys TV, film, travel, cooking, eating out, abandoned places, urbex, history, and researching.
L.J. loves to read complicated plots and hopes to do complex plot lines justice in her own writing. She writes paranormal, historical, urban fantasy, and contemporary Australian stories, usually m/m romance and featuring m/m erotica. She has won a Rainbow Awards Honorable Mention and another award for Best Historical Gay Novel.
L.J. lives in the city of Adelaide, and is owned by her cat.