August 27, 2015
Hello, I’m Diane Adams and I’m here to share the second edition release of my book Rearranging Stars. It came out yesterday and I’m super stoked to have the book available again. It was published the first time in 2011, which was a long time ago, and yet not so long I can’t remember some details about writing it. One of those details is the song that inspired the book. Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.
I first conceived the idea for the book after listening to the song. Because of the title I found myself thinking about angels and it occurred to me how crowded the world would seem if we could see the angels following us around. My imagination drifted to the idea of being the only one who could see them. Of course a story about me seeing guardian angels would be ho-hum at best, but a hot guy like Grey, oh yeah, that was another matter. With the idea for his character firmly in mind I moved on to the stage of jotting down notes and began to flesh out the rules for the angels he could see. Soon after that Drake appeared to challenge the status quo.
It’s never easy to take a stand against long held rules and traditions. It takes a kind of iron will that not everyone possesses. Heroes are born from the people willing to step forward without thought of personal cost to make a difference. Sometimes such actions require the ultimate sacrifice. Those are some of the ideas I explored as I wrote Drake and Grey’s story.
Drake is an angel. Grey is human. They are not real but even in fiction some heroes emerge bold and bright and change the world. Others wake up each day care for the people in their lives and create a safe haven for the ones they love. Daily living requires a type of heroism that is often overlooked. I believe not giving up in the face of the minutiae of life requires more strength of heart than making a grand stand.
It’s fun to write and imagine beings like guardian angels taking special care of us. Of course reality isn’t populated by hot angels with magnificent wings, but the lucky among us have people in our lives watching over us. Those who love us not just during the best times but in all the times. They are sometimes those we expect, like family members, but sometimes a guardian angel turn out to be someone who takes us completely by surprise.
Thank you for stopping by today. Do you have a guardian angel in your life? Please take a few minutes to share the story with us. I’m looking forward to reading all about them and will give away a free book to someone randomly drawn from those who share their story with me.
I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone at DreamSpinner Press who have helped with the rerelease of my book. Rearranging Stars isn’t my first time working with DreamSpinner. I published a few short stories several years ago. This is my first book published with them and I’ve enjoyed the experience very much. The editing experience was wonderful. My editors were supportive and helpful. My cover, created by the incredibly talented Paul Richmond, is a dream come true. When I saw the initial cover sketch I felt as if he had pulled an image of the passionate tenderness shared between Drake and Grey straight from my mind. The detail of Grey’s fingers tangled in black feathers. Perfection.
I am so proud of this edition of Rearranging Stars. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.
Get Rearranging Stars here!
Please keep in touch!
My website: http://dianeadams.virtualdelusions.com/
Facebook: Diane Adams
August 24, 2015
Does a certain place speak to you, resonate in your mind and soul? I’m Kim Fielding, and today I’d like to talk about a place that does that for me. Or, more accurately, places.
Nestled in the Sierra mountains and foothills are a bunch of small towns that originated during the California gold rush. Even some of the names are evocative of their history: Placerville. Twain Harte. Angels Camp. Chinese Camp. Sutter Creek. Jamestown. Copperopolis. And while progress has marched on there as everywhere else, when you visit, you can still see the remnants of life in the 1850s. You can still get a little feel of the past.
I’m lucky enough to live close to this area, and I’m especially partial to a few of the towns clustered along or near Highway 49. Columbia, for instance, was a mining boomtown that once boasted over forty saloons. Nowadays it’s a state park, although a couple thousand people still live there. I also like Sonora, which is just a few miles away. Some of the shops on the main street have the remnants of gold mines in their basements. My family is also very fond of Murphys. The main attractions for my husband are the zillion local wineries, but the kids and I love the caves, which you can explore as long as you’re willing to go down—and back up—a lot of stairs.
To get a very good sense of the history of these towns—and because I’m a wee bit morbid—I like to visit the old cemeteries. You can see the many places people came from before heading to California and trying to strike it rich. You get a sense of how very difficult life was. Take a look at this census from Sonora’s cemetery, for instance. Fascinating. And you find some mysteries. Were Joel Cumback and Jacob Giddis lovers?
These gold rush towns were one of the main inspirations for my new book—my 13th novel!—Rattlesnake. It takes place in a fictional town modeled loosely on Angels Camp and called, well, Rattlesnake. It’s a contemporary story, but a sense of the past haunts the protagonists just as it haunts the old town. I fell in love with Jimmy and Shane, but I also fell in love with the town, with the atmosphere. It felt so real to me that last time my family was heading to Angels Camp for the weekend, I was all excited about having breakfast at Mae’s Café. Until I remembered that Mae’s exists only in my fictional Rattlesnake and not, sadly, in real life. I could really have gone for one of her cinnamon rolls.
Rattlesnake releases August 31, but you can preorder now. And for a chance to win an e-copy of any of my backlist books—that is, anything but Rattlesnake—comment here and tell me what place is special to you.
I hope when you read Rattlesnake, the town will become one of your special places too. Meanwhile, I’m off to another of my favorite locations on earth, Croatia. Ah, but that’s a future story….
A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.
On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.
Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.
You can learn more about Kim Fielding and download some free stories here: http://kfieldingwrites.blogspot.com
You can also follow her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites
Or Twitter: @KFieldingWrites
August 21, 2015
Hello all! I’m pleased to be back on the Dreamspinner Blog to talk about the release of the third novel in my Serpentine Series: Sex, Love, and Videogames.
The Serpentine Series books are standalone contemporary novels set at the University of Virginia. Although many characters are in more than one book, each book can be read separately. Sex, Love, and Videogames features Jed Carter, who is the quiet nice guy Pete Morgan takes advantage of in Serpentine Walls. Its other main character is Charlie Ambrose, who is what U.Va. students call a “townie.” Charlie is biracial and grew up in a tight-knit African-American family and church community in Charlottesville. Besides the two main characters, the book is the story of Morocco Ambrose, Charlie’s cousin. She’s transgender and as extroverted as Charlie is introverted. Another extrovert, Jed’s best friend Myesha, rounds out the central cast of characters.
Writing Sex, Love, and Videogames surprised me. I couldn’t get a handle on Jed’s love interest. I thought it was going to be his older brother Kent’s college roommate, Tucker. But the story wasn’t going anywhere with that plot and I was having a hard time getting into Jed’s head. The light-bulb finally turned on when I realized I was again relegating Jed to the sidelines in favor of a more compelling character (Tucker), just the way Jed was relegated to the sidelines by Pete in Serpentine Walls.
With that realization, a character named Charlie emerged: a shy artist who isn’t part of the university crowd. Charlie was white when I first visualized him, but quickly he was in my head as biracial. And his amazing transgender cousin Morocco was right there with him. People think writers plan all this out in advance: “Aha! I know – I’ll have a biracial townie and his trans cousin in the Jed novel!” If I were to show you my first outlines of the story, Charlie and Morocco are nowhere to be found. But once they popped up, I went with it. And it turned out that Charlie and Jed are perfect for each other.
I grew up in the DC area, which is quite diverse, and have had many close friends of other races and ethnicities. Still, I’m glad Dreamspinner has a Diversity Panel because even though I agree books need diverse characters, I live in fear of being unknowingly offensive or racist or whatever else I have unknowingly done. Members of the diversity panel read my draft and pointed out places where I put my foot in it, thus allowing me to withdraw my foot by hitting the delete button.
I struggled with how to write dialect without being too over the top. (For the record, we DO say y’all in Northern Virginia!) I was informed one of the terms I used to describe transgender was no longer welcome. I read books on being black and gay in the South and books on the transgender experience. I talked to people who live further South than I do about aspects of the culture there. (Did you know “bless your heart” means “screw you” in Southern?)
And all the while, Charlie and Morocco and their family were talking in my head and I knew them. I knew all about them and loved them. I want a Granny Myrt of my own. Or maybe not Granny Myrt until she evolves her beliefs about LGBTQ folks, but an Aunt Tawniece. I want Morocco and Myesha to be my besties and call me “girl.” I want to go out dancing with them and get our funk on.
Jed is still being outshined, because he and Charlie are never going to be as “out there” as Morocco and Myesha. But that’s okay, because Jed ends the story knowing who he is and where he wants to go in life, and having a great guy by his side.
Jed made it out of the frat house and walked toward the dorm through the crowds of bid-night revelers. He hadn’t thought about how awkward things could get with him and Kent in the fraternity together. Frats meant parties, which meant alcohol and girls. Put Kent in the middle of that, with his “everyone follow me over the cliff” personality, and that was it. Jed was sunk. Dead meat. He’d either have to persuade Myesha to be his beard, or… come out?
Right. Get real.
As if summoned by the gay unicorn gods, Aidan Emery and his merry band of queers appeared, strutting down the sidewalk, laughing and singing. Jed’s insides contorted with jealousy. He wanted to stick out his foot and trip them for daring to be so openly gay and happy about it.
Coming out? To Kent and a bunch of Wahoos in SAE? To the rugby team? To the world in general? No way.
Jed changed course and headed to Lucky’s. He’d thought about going to lift weights at the university gym, but the truth was, he was tired of everything U.Va., with its fraternities, homophobia, and all the rest. He needed a videogame fix. Kent had told him Lucky’s had the best selection in town. The wind picked up, carrying with it a hint of snow. He pulled his coat closer around him and started a slow jog, relieved to be leaving the Grounds and the parties behind.
Ten minutes later, Jed reached Lucky’s, breathing hard but feeling more centered as he pushed open the door. He stopped to survey the scene, having never been there. The place was hopping—people eating, drinking, playing pool and pinball—and there against the far wall were huge screens and sofas for gamers. He went over to scope out the games.
“Let me know if I can help you with anything.”
A handsome black guy stood next to the counter. He gave Jed a shy smile, and Jed smiled back. Zing. Jed had never thought about having gaydar, but this guy set something off in him that said they were playing for the same team.
“Do you have any suggestions?”
“D-depends.” The guy came to stand next to him. He was a couple inches taller than Jed and he smelled nice. Plus he had striking greenish-brown eyes. His nametag read Charlie. “W-what’re you into?”
You. Jed’s cheeks warmed. Damn stupid blushing. “I like Halo, Mass Effect, stuff like that. But I also like fantasy games. I was way into Oblivion in high school.”
Charlie picked out a game and handed it over. “You’d l-like this if you haven’t p-played it. It came out a c-couple months ago.”
“Dragon Age: Origins. Cool. I’ve been wanting to try this one. Thanks.” He followed Charlie back to the counter. “You go to U.Va.?” Jed wasn’t usually this forward in striking up conversations, but something about Charlie—his obvious shyness, his slight stutter—made Jed want to put him at ease. To Jed’s dismay, his question seemed to embarrass him.
“N-no.” Charlie shut his mouth in a grim line as he rang up Jed’s rental.
“Oh.” Jed cast around for something else to say but a bunch of high school kids rushed up to the counter, clutching games. Charlie didn’t meet Jed’s eyes as he handed over Dragon Age and turned to his new customers. “Um, thanks.”
Jed left Lucky’s, puzzling over Charlie’s response. So he’s a “townie.” So what? Oh well. The guy hadn’t seemed all that interested in Jed anyway. He lost himself in reading the game jacket as he walked back to the dorm.
Near Alderman Library, he heard, “Carter, you are so busted!” Bud weaved toward him on the sidewalk. “Where the hell’d you go?”
“Like hell you did. I—oh.” Bud lurched and Jed caught him by one arm.
“Someone’s wasted. You need help getting back?”
“Naw, ’m’fine. But don’t cut out on us like that, boy. I love ya, man!”
Jed watched fondly as Bud stumbled off into the night, then hoofed it to his dorm room.
Time for videogames.
Buy Link for Sex, Love, and Videogames:
How to reach CJane Elliott:
Answer the question below for a chance to win any book from my backlist of novels and novellas.
Late teens and early twenties is the time when people start to figure themselves out, often breaking away from their family’s idea of them, or going outside of their childhood comfort zones. Jed and Charlie did all of these in Sex, Love, and Videogames. Now for the question:
What was one of your first experiences in your late teens or early twenties where you stepped beyond your childhood comfort zone and started to be an adult? And was it fun or was it depressing?
August 19, 2015
Hi all! Charley Descoteaux here to chat with you about my new release, Buchanan House. I’m so excited to be here with you! The day job might make me slow to reply, so please bear with me. I’ll be popping in and out for the next few days.
Before I go any farther I want to tell you about the giveaway. At the end of this post I’ll ask a question, and every answer is a chance to win an ebook. I’m giving away one copy of every ebook on my backlist and that means there will be six winners!
I’m a huge fan of the Marvel movies, so I’m calling this an origin story for my contemporary Romance. ☺
Last summer I got a shiny new degree and a new Evil Day Job to go with it. Not as evil as my last one, but it still keeps me busy when I’d rather be writing. Before going back to cubicle-land I took a short vacation to the Oregon Coast. I love the beach and the Pacific Ocean, and as has happened before I was struck with inspiration while walking on the beach.
The original inspiration was for a murder mystery, but I let the guy live and turned it into a pure Romance. “Pure” as in that’s the main plot, not as in “pure as the driven snow.” Buchanan House has sexy-times but even though it deals with the effects of bullying it’s a sweet and almost lighthearted story. Due in large part to the location. Lincoln City just might be more accepting than Portland, if the number of same-sex couples openly behaving as couples was any indication. I saw so many men with men and women with women in those few days—it made me feel very much at-home, even though it was my first time there.
Since it was my first time, I did a lot of exploring. To the south of the hotel I found a secluded area that looked to be about the size of a suburban cul de sac. One of the homes was for sale and I thought about how cool it would be to write a story with a bunch of guys getting away from the city to live there. Nobody would believe a group of friends buying up all the homes in the neighborhood, though. What would they do for a living? How would they afford those rustic old homes (even if the prices made my m0uth water)? There aren’t a lot of good jobs on the coast so they’d have to bring a means of income with them—and since the largest industry on the Oregon coast is tourism, that question was answered fast!
One object in the book also has its own origin story: the hand carved bench on the front porch. Last year when I celebrated the release of The Nesting Habits of Strange Birds I had a wonderful time with a Goodreads chat. A lot of fun people gave me great ideas for an object to honor Eric’s grandmother. Penumbra suggested a bench, and I love the way it appeared in the story. It’s almost the headstone Eric would’ve chosen for his grandmother if it had been up to him, but a little more fun than that.
Okay, I think I’ve gone on long enough. If you have any questions you’d like to ask, about the book or me or what I’m working on now, please don’t be shy! I might be slow, but I’ll be happy to answer.
As for my question, I’d love to hear an origin story of yours! Do you have an object or a superpower with a story? If not, make one up! The more outlandish the better!
On Saturday the 22nd I’ll choose the winners by random number generator so don’t forget to include your Dreamspinner Store account email address with your stories! Each winner will get an ebook from my backlist (every book except Buchanan House, in order of release)!
Here’s a little about Buchanan House—the blurb and an exclusive excerpt!
Eric Allen, thirty-three-year-old line cook, moved in with his grandmother, Jewell, after a disastrous coming-out when he was in middle school. She raised him, and he cared for her when she fell ill. When Jewell died she left everything to Eric—angering his parents and older brother. The inheritance isn’t much, but Eric and his bestie Nathan pool their money and buy an abandoned hotel on an isolated stretch of the Central Oregon Coast. The hotel isn’t far from Lincoln City—a town with its own Pride Festival and named for a president—so they christen it Buchanan House after James Buchanan, the “confirmed bachelor” president with the close male friend.
Eric and Nathan need a handyman to help them turn Buchanan House into the gay resort of their dreams. Eric finds Tim Tate in the local listings and over the months leading to opening weekend Tim reveals himself as a skilled carpenter with many hidden talents. Eric falls hard for Tim, but before he can see a future with the gorgeous handyman he has to get over twenty years of being bullied and shamed by his birth family. It would be much easier if Eric’s brother Zach weren’t trying to grab part of the inheritance or ruin opening weekend.
This excerpt is from one of Eric and Nathan’s days off—they’re in the backyard of Buchanan House, watching a lone surfer.
Nathan rested the cookie plate on top of his mug and brought his own binoculars to his eyes. “Wow. Is that…. Yes, I do believe that is Tim Tate, superhero, handyman, and also, apparently, surfer dude!”
Nathan sounded inordinately pleased to announce what Eric had seen for himself. Which probably meant he’d already known it was Tim. Somehow. Eric pointedly ignored his tone, but kept watching Tim walk toward the rocks south of Buchanan House.
Tim didn’t seem to be in any hurry. He stopped a few times to look at things the tide had washed in, poking the sand with his foot and once bending at the waist for a closer look. Eric wondered if he’d found any tsunami debris. Signs were posted anywhere tourists were likely to pull off the Coast Highway, along with Tsunami Debris Watch depositories. Eric wanted to find something with Japanese writing on it, an object that had traveled all the way across the Pacific to reach him, but had yet to see anything even close. Not that he’d had a ton of time to walk the beach or participate in Lincoln City’s nightlife, but he hadn’t exactly been a hermit either.
Eric thought he should stop spying on Tim but couldn’t bring himself to lower the binoculars. Tim seemed more relaxed than he was at Buchanan House, his walk more athletic, graceful. On workdays, Tim wore comfortable, almost loose jeans, and T-shirts either under a flannel or over a thermal. He almost looked like a different man. Eric had tried to get a feel for what the body beneath the clothes looked like, without being caught staring, but hadn’t enjoyed the level of success he’d hoped for. After seeing Tim in a wetsuit, Eric knew his fumbling guesses hadn’t even been close. The suit clung to Tim’s broad shoulders and chest, tapering to trim hips, only to bulge again over his defined thigh muscles. He looked like a god.
“Mm-mm-mmm. That is a tasty dish.” Nathan bumped his shoulder into Eric’s.
Before Eric could respond to Nathan’s teasing, Tim unzipped the top of his wetsuit. Eric stood, transfixed, as Tim peeled the top half from his body and let it hang around his waist like the bib on a pair of overalls. It was like watching a live-action ad for Men’s Fitness. Tim’s upper body was sculpted to lean perfection—he looked strong and athletic, but not bulky.
His hair sent drops of water sliding down his chest, and Eric thought about licking the salt water from his warm skin, peeling the rest of the wetsuit away, and—
Nathan’s soft laughter interrupted Eric’s fantasy. He practically pushed the binoculars away from his face. Normally he would’ve had the strap around his neck, but because he hadn’t taken the time, the binoculars fell to the ground, landed on his foot, and flopped into the future garden. Eric kept from shouting curses only with great effort. The last thing he wanted was for Tim to see them standing there, binoculars in hand, ogling him like a couple of perverts.
“Yeah, sweetheart. There’s your dessert right there.”
Eric wasn’t sure if Nathan was ignoring his ridiculous move with the binoculars, or if he hadn’t seen it. The show on the beach was definitely more interesting. “Put down your binoculars. He’ll see.”
“And so what if he does?” Nathan let his binoculars rest against his chest, dangling safely from the strap. And then he waved.
“Nathan,” Eric hissed.
Tim obviously saw him. He stopped walking, frozen in place with his surfboard under his arm, still connected to his ankle with what looked like a chain. Slowly, Tim raised a hand to shield his eyes from the sunlight, but who else would it be? Who else would be in Buchanan House’s backyard in his pink robe after noon on a Sunday? When Tim waved back, Eric’s heart sank a little. Of course he was attracted to Nathan. Who wasn’t?
With the notable exception of me, naturally.
Nathan was six one, handsome as a movie star, and never tried to hide he was ripped to boot.
Eric picked up his binoculars and headed back into the kitchen. He limped a little, but not only because his foot hurt. Obviously Little Eric didn’t get the message that this Tim, just like the last one, was nothing more than a fantasy that would end in disappointment, if not outright humiliation.
Thanks for reading!
I hope you’ll share an origin story with me—I love giving books away as much as I love stories.
Don’t be shy, either here or on Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads—I’d love to hear from you!
August 18, 2015
A big thank you to Sue Brown, who agreed to do this interview and answer the questions of her readers. I also want to thank you, the readers, who came up with the questions and thus made this interview possible.
Thank you very much for the interview and all the questions. I really appreciate it.
First of all, name one thing readers would be surprised to know about you.
I learned to dance as a kid and wish I’d kept it up. I loved dancing the rhumba and paso doble. I still remember sweeping across the polished dance floor in a floaty dress.
If you could meet any writer, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
David Eddings – a fantasy writer (The Belgariad). He was one of the few authors I truly fangirled over as a teenager. I was very sad when he died. I’d like to tell him how much pleasure he gave me.
What made you start writing M/M novels? How long have you been writing, and was it a long process to become a published author?
I started writing Torchwood (spin-off from Doctor Who) fanfiction in 2007. I went into the Supernatural fandom after that. In 2010 friends of mine, like RJ Scott and Lisa Worrall, were getting published. I thought I’d have a go. I wrote a short scifi story to Dreamspinner and sent it even though it was past the deadline. They accepted Sacrifice and that was the start of an amazing journey. I think it took me 3 weeks from starting the story to acceptance.
Is there any advice you would give to new writers seeking representation and publication in today’s market?
Know the market for your genre. The M/M Romance genre is not like traditional publishing. You don’t need an agent and you can submit directly to the publisher. But be realistic. Even the small presses get swamped with submissions. Make sure your story is right for that publisher.
I hope this question is not too personal; if yes you of course don’t have to answer it. How do you unite your writing with your private life (family, friends, partner, etc.) without neglecting anyone or anything?
I work seven days a week; even more now I have two additional jobs. But I work from home so if the kids need me I am here which helps when they’re sick. We had a really bad couple of years and being at home was helpful. It’s easier now they’re older as they don’t need me to entertain them. My friends have found it hardest. I live in straight couple/family world, and a friend who writes gay romance is very odd. Still, they’re good people and they’ve accepted it finally.
Do you work at several books at the same time or do you rather focus on one?
I prefer to write one book at a time. I like focusing on one pair of guys at a time. When I’m stressed I write a number of half-stories which drives me mad. I have ten plots to finish and more in my head.
How long does it take you on average to write a story and what does your daily writing routine look like?
How long is a piece of string? I try to write in the morning and do my day jobs in the afternoon and evening. A novel takes me about six weeks, and short stories anything from a week onwards. But if I get stuck it could take months. Letters From a Cowboy took years to complete because of bad writer’s block.
Which novel or series did you enjoy writing the best?
I loved Morning Report. It was so much fun to write. I wrote it when I had writer’s block with Nothing Ever Happens. I also love Frankie & Al because Frankie is wonderful. My favourite series was the Isle series although I sobbed through the prologue of The Isle of… Where?
Are there particular songs you like to hear during the writing?
I write to the background of my two dogs snoring.
Have you ever experienced writer’s block and if so how did you overcome this?
I get writer’s block so often it’s not funny. Mainly due to stress. Nothing I try seems to shift it, although I recommend writing for twenty minutes a day to other authors.
Is there any specific type of man that fascinates you more than others? If yes, do you often tend to use that type in your stories?
I think I’ve written most types of guys. I suppose the men I meet in my local area are close to my heart. I know them, I recognise them and I understand them. However I do have a passion for guys like Frankie from Frankie & Al, although he‘d drive me insane if I had to live with him.
Do some protagonists grow dear to your heart more than others? If yes, which are the ones you like best? Did one couple drive you to insanity?
I think I’ve probably answered that already. Frankie from Frankie & Al and Simon and Luke from Morning Report. Drew and Nathan from Nothing Ever Happens were hard to write because they had such complicated lives. I think in real life it would have been very difficult for them to be together.
If you could have a drink with any of your book’s fictional character who would it be? Why?
I‘d like to have a drink with the Owens family from the Isle series. I’m part of a large family too.
Which character do you think most closely resembles your own personality?
Nathan from Nothing Ever Happens. He’d based on me. He’s also the character that people dislike.
Have you ever got insulted because of your books? Or have your books ever got insulted? If yes, how did you react to it?
It’s part of the job and you have to live with it. My first review on Amazon for Hairy Harry’s Car Seat said This is pants! I found that funny.
Rapid Fire Time
- Favorite city? London (I am a Londoner)
- Coffee or tea? Coffee (Earl Grey tea for breakfast)
- Contemporary or paranormal? Contemporary (although I’m a huge shifter fan)
- Sweet or sour? Sweet. I don’t like sour.
Last week DSP published the german translation of Morning Report. It’s the first book of the eponymic series. What inspired you to write this novel? What aspect of this novel came to you first – the setting, characters, something else?
I used to write Supernatural fanfiction based on the actors, rather than the series. I was struggling with Nothing Ever Happens so I decided to write an easy, light, erotic story with cowboys. The very first M/M book I read was Bareback by Chris Owen. I became addicted to cowboys from that moment and I was determined to have my own cowboys. I had my cowboys then I had my setting.
What part of the book was the most fun to write and why?
That’s a hard one. It was a long time ago. I think the start when I describe how the boys take their morning report. I’ve been in many meetings but never one like their‘s.
What part made you struggle the most?
How to kill a cow slowly. I live in the UK, I know nothing about cows. I spent a long time reading vets‘ reports.
If you had to pick a theme song for the novel, what would it be?
I’m not a huge music lover. All suggestions would be appreciated. In fact I’ll send out a Morning Report mug for the best suggestion. (Contest rules: one comment below will win a mug. Comments must be posted by midnight EDT August 25)
If there was one thing you’d like your readers to take away with them from this book, what do you hope it is?
People don’t always make the best decisions. Sometimes they need to be shown the right thing to do. Also Luke will string anyone who touches his man up by the balls.
Can you give your readers any insight as to what we have to look forward to in the rest of the series?
The virgin cowboy gets his man (Complete Faith). The nasty pastor’s family take centre stage (Papa’s Boy). Simon takes his man in hand (Luke’s Present).
Last but not least: What are you currently working?
I’m just finishing Summer’s Song, a short story like Summer’s Dawn. Then I have a detective story to complete. Then Rogue Wolf in my shifter series. Then another Left at the Crossroad with Lisa Worrall.
August 16, 2015
Switching gears, let’s talk about the novel, Soldiers of the Sun. Technically it’s the third in the series, but as mentioned, it’s a stand alone and the first full-length story. (And hey at the end of this post will be a giveaway!). Paul Richmond did another fantastic cover for Soldiers. Have a look at it. Just love it, especially the menacing shadows.
The original inspiration for the whole Soldiers of the Sun series was Dreamspinner’s Necking anthology, looking for polyamorous relationships. Simple enough, so very open ended. I have a thing for groups of warriors fighting the supernatural so making the trio demon hunters was a natural for me.
As to why I set it in the 1930s, I have a lot of theories. The leading one is my brain hates me. It’s a time period in which I had done no research. I suspect it went a little like this: Hey you like research. It’s only a short story. You can do enough research to handle that without much pain.
The research ballooned to a lot of work but I do like research. That really is half the fun. I set the stories in the Pittsburgh area because I grew up there and why not learn about the history of my own stomping grounds? Of course it’s still tricky to write historicals because it’s so easy to get accidental anachronisms in there. I’m very glad for eagle-eyed editors.
I tried to research the lingo and lucked into a website that documented where they culled the slang from, movie-wise. That was helpful. I also ended up watching some movies from the time period, even though that’s not my thing other than the horror flicks. Still, it’s a good view into the lingo and the clothing styles, or at least the styles of the wealthy, which I just happen to have in this story.
Caleb, Temple and Agni live in a world of repression and depression. They are lucky the Soldiers of the Sun is a fairly inclusive organization, religious- and gender-wise. They have male and female teams and represent a wide range of beliefs. This has not, however, left them untouched by the Great Depression. Even their headquarters is showing signs of not having enough money for upkeep. Temple especially is infuriated by Prohibition. At least the Soldiers are savvy enough to have relaxation times for them, including Temple’s favorite: dancing. However, the biggest piece of luck they have is the generals are content to look the other way when it comes to their homosexual soldiers and tries to keep them together in teams. That said, they certainly are not living openly but what happens behind closed doors is ignored by the organization.
The Depression plays a large role in the story. Without giving away too much, it is the impetus of why the villain of the piece has been summoned from Hell. This Devil is known for granted wishes and money and keeping your fortune is something he can help you with. You can see the appeal. Caleb, Temple and Agni have their work cut out for them.
The end result of all the inspiration was a team of demon hunters in the 1930s, keeping the city safe at a time when my grandmother was young. In fact, she and her friends make a cameo appearance in the Phipps Conservancy – a place you should check out if you’re ever in Pittsburgh. She was thrilled I put her in the story but sadly Grandma passed before this came out (August is her birth month) missing it by just a few months. She was would have been 100 and the novel is dedicated to her.
What draws you to historical fiction? Curious minds want to know. I’ll be giving away a copy of Snowbound to one lucky commentor.
August 14, 2015
Hello! I’m Rebecca Cohen and DSP have let me visit their blog to mark the release of my new novella, Overly Dramatic. As you may or may not know, I’m a Brit who now lives in Switzerland and many of my books have a very British flavour. Overly Dramatic is one such book, set in and around an amateur dramatics society in Greenwich, South London.
Overly Dramatic is the first of three novellas in the Treading the Boards series, and I’ve been asked a couple of times why I chose the setting. To explain myself, I should mention that my hubby and his family have been “am dram” fans for what seems forever, and the stories I’ve heard and the people I’ve met are just too good not to play with. But I also wanted to have a bit of fun, since my last release was quite an angsty sci fi (Under Glass).
So, today I want to talk about the play I created for Overly Dramatic. Whoops, Vicar, There Goes My Trousers is a made up work, styled in the fashion of the best (well, actually the worst) of British farce. Farce is a genre of play famed for madcap antics and double entendres, so I admit I gave myself full license to play around a bit. Missing trousers, flying cassocks and a runaway goat all make Andy, my leading man, wonder what he’s got himself into. I’d dabbled with screenplays when I studied creative writing and wanted to use the correct play format, which is also a nod to what Stephen Fry does in one of my favourite books, Making History.
Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, there isn’t room for the full play so I have included a few choice snippets in the novella, which should be enough to understand why Andy is so concerned. Here’s a few lines from the scene that inspired Paul Richmond’s magnificent cover:
Rev. Smithe, crawling around the altar, holds up a discarded pair of trousers and sees the stashed box of brandy.
REV. SMITHE. Dear Lord, what is going on?
REV. SMITHE. Gertrude? Where have you been, you silly girl?
Goat butts up against Rev. Smithe as if trying to mount him.
REV. SMITHE. No, Gertrude! Bad goat!
Gregory enters, looking for his stashed brandy, does double-take at goat and Rev. Smithe. Drags goat away and helps Rev. Smithe to his feet.
GREGORY. You all right, Reverend?
REV. SMITHE. Yes, thank you, Gregory. Thanks to your divine intervention.
GREGORY. Not sure I could be described as divine, Reverend.
Rev. Smithe stands over grating, cassock flies up.
So, for your chance to win an ebook from the choice of my back catalogue (excluding Overly Dramatic) tell me: if you were to join up for an amateur dramatics society what part would you love to play? Or what would make you run screaming for the wings?
We’ll pick a winner from the comments.
You can learn more about my stories, read guest posts and free reads at by blog:
Or following me on twitter http://twitter.com/R_Cohen_writes or Facebook https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.cohen.710
Get your copy of Overly Dramatic today!
July 10, 2015
Hi, all! Roan Parrish here, visiting the blog because my debut novel, In the Middle of Somewhere, is coming out today!
In the Middle of Somewhere is a contemporary romance, featuring a scrappy professor, an intense carpenter, and a stray dog. Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.
Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.
When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.
In the Middle of Somewhere came about rather by accident while I was working on another project entirely. I was visiting my dear friend A in Phoenix, and we were talking in her kitchen while we put together an elaborate cheese plate—talking about books in general, talking about M/M in particular; talking about various real life annoyances, dissatisfactions, and desires. The usual. A said that she wished someone would write a romance about someone in her situation: having recently moved to a brand new place to take an academic job and having a tough time adjusting. Never one to let dissatisfaction fester when there’s cheese to eat, I blurted: “I’ll write one for you!”
On the plane ride home to Philly the next day, I wrote a little story and emailed it to A. It was about Daniel, who was just finishing his Ph.D. in Philadelphia, and has to totally turn his life upside-down when he moves to small-town Michigan for his first teaching job, but ends up meeting the love of his life there. I assumed that, my duty dispatched, I’d go back to the grim urban horror story of capitalism I was working on. Except that A wrote back, “Send me MORE!!!” So I did. That story was the first chapter of what became In the Middle of Somewhere and I just kept sending her more.
As an ex-academic who worked for years on a book that only about five people in the whole world ever read, knowing that there was someone on the other side of those emails who was reading what I was writing and actually enjoying it was like a drug. After I’d written five or six chapters it stopped feeling like something I was writing just for fun. The characters started to feel real so I knew I couldn’t abandon them in the middle of the story. That is, I started thinking of it as a real book. Then as a series.
And that’s what I’m working on now: the second book in the In the Middle of Somewhere series! It features a new couple, who you’ll meet in book one, but Rex and Daniel definitely make an appearance. The second book is a bit darker, so that’s been a nice change (what can I tell you; I’m moody). I’m also having a smashing time working on a brand new project. It’s a series of novellas set in 19th century New York City, each of which revolves around one of Edgar Allan Poe’s detective stories. What do you get when you combine a very practical detective, an eccentric Poe enthusiast, and a copycat killer who may or not operate in a supernatural realm? Intrigue, horror, and a whole lot of heat. More nerdiness and ratiocination coming your way soon!
Thanks for hanging out today, everyone! I have two copies of In the Middle of Somewhere to give away. So: our hero, Daniel, has a lot of tattoos (with a tattoo artist for a best friend it’s kind of to be expected). To win an e-book of In the Middle of Somewhere, tell me your best tattoo story in the comments. If you have tattoos, you could tell me the story behind your favorite one; if not, tell me about the best (or worst!) tattoo you’ve seen. Have you always wanted a tattoo but never gotten one? Tell me what it would take to make you take the plunge. Extra credit (can you tell I used to teach?) if your story includes getting a tattoo for love. Spill all your inky tales in the comments for a chance to win!
Find In the Middle of Somewhere on:
July 8, 2015
Immutable isn’t just my first none HEA story, and my first non-anthology story with Dreamspinner Press, it’s a first in lots of ways. It’s my first ever fantasy story. I’ve done a zombie novel before now, called Patient Z, but they were very much science fiction zombies. It’s my first shifter story. It’s my first set in a historical fantasy setting. It’s not quite my first story in First Person point of view, but it’s the first of those longer than a short story that I’ve sold. So because of all of those firsts I’m just dying to see what people make of it.
Here’s an excerpt from chapter 1, to see what you make of it! Keep going and at the end there’ll be a chance to enter to win a copy.
The wind was cold that morning I found him. I remember. I’d come down to the beach when the sky was barely light. Fine rain misted my hair and clothes as I scrambled down the cliff path onto the sand.
I carried a basket on my back and began filling it with driftwood as I walked. Driftwood burns with a strange blue flame, but there were so few trees on the island it was the only type of wood we ever had to burn. Those who could afford it bought coal shipped over from the mainland. Me, I pick up the sea coal that washes ashore from the coal seams exposed under the water. I always pounced on a piece of that when I saw it, as if it were a diamond. Winter wasn’t far away. Ma wouldn’t make it through the winter if I didn’t keep the cottage warm enough.
I threw those thoughts off and continued along the beach, shoving driftwood in the basket, watching among the seaweed and pebbles for the precious sea coal. With my gaze glued to the sand, I didn’t spot the body until I was close enough to see instantly that it was a man. He lay on the wet sand, pale, almost gray in the morning light.
I ran, hoping—praying—not to find him dead. He was naked, but that didn’t surprise me. The sea can strip a body bare. I dropped the basket off my shoulders as I fell to my knees beside him. It toppled, spilling out its load.
The man lay facedown, his legs still in the surf, the waves breaking over them and ebbing as if trying to pull him back into the sea. He had skin as pale as ivory—not the skin of a sailor or fisherman exposed to the sun on deck all day. His exposed back was smooth and unmarked, without the tattoos or scars from the lash sailors often had. Hair as black as anthracite lay across his shoulders, a few strands of seaweed caught in it.
I laid a hand on him, fearing I’d find him cold and dead. But he was warm. I turned him onto his back. Nobody I knew. My island, Sula Skerry, was so small I knew the face and name of everyone who lived here. This face I’d never seen. This face… I’d never seen a face like it. Not even in schoolbooks about the legends of changelings and fair folk. For he was fair, God forgive me. I’d never seen a man so fair.
He lay against my arm, eyes closed, thick black lashes brushing cheeks marred only with wet sand. I touched his chest to feel if he still breathed. He did. I left my hand there, on that warm skin, as pale as the rest of him, one dark nipple under my palm.
I gasped at the sound of a voice and stared down at his face. He’d opened his large and dark eyes. So dark I couldn’t say they were any color at all, like I can say mine are blue. They weren’t merely dark brown; they were black. He’d spoken, and his mouth, his well-shaped lips, moved again. “I’m cold.”
The wind on his wet, naked skin must have been sucking the heat from him. I had to get him somewhere warm. I pulled off my jacket and wrapped it around him. But his long legs were still naked, and his…. I tried hard not to look at his member, for that’s a sin.
“Can you stand?” I asked him, grateful we understood each other. Sailors had been washed ashore here before, who spoke languages none among the islanders understood. I helped him up, but he sagged against me and I had to catch him in my arms to keep him from falling. I’d never get him up the cliff path to the cottage in this state. If I ran for help, he’d be dead of cold before I got back. I had a better idea.
“Hold on to me.” I hauled him toward the cliff face, a hundred feet or so along the beach, dragging my basket behind me. Good thing I’d been coming down here since I was a boy, when Ma was the one collecting the driftwood, and I’d followed behind her, barefoot, searching for shells or stones with holes in them—those were lucky—and always the precious sea coals.
With him lolling against my side and leaning heavily on me, I reached the mouth of a small cave. I’d first found it when I was eight years old. I’d hidden in it, listening to Ma calling me. “Callum! Callum!” A game to me, frightening to her the first time, fear in her voice that I didn’t understand. The cave seemed huge then, like a cavern. Fifteen years later I had to stoop over as I went into it, and I could reach the back in only a few steps.
It lay well above the high tide mark and only the worst storms ever reached into it, so there was little on the floor but dry sand. Some lichen grew on the walls. Nothing else lived here since it got sunshine only at dawn, as the sun rose over to the east and lit this cave low in the cliff for little more than an hour.
I lowered the man to the floor of the cave and he lay there shivering, despite having my jacket wrapped around him. What should I do? Go to the cottage and fetch him some clothes? Go to the village and fetch the constable or the doctor? I felt a strange reluctance to bring anyone else. I wanted him to myself.
“What’s your name?” I asked him.
“Breen,” he said, voice shaking as he spoke. “B… Breen.”
Breen? Where was that from? For all he spoke our language, he had a foreign look to him, with that coal black hair. Some of the shipwrecked sailors who washed up on the island before had skin browner than the most tanned and leathered of the shepherds and fishermen. This man had skin as pale as a highborn lady who’d never ventured out without a shady hat or parasol.
A fire. Yes. I could make a fire for him to warm himself by. I emptied my basket and built a fire at the mouth of the cave. Dried seaweed served for kindling, and I made a spark with the flint I had in my pocket. I blew softly on it until it caught and flames licked up. The wood ignited and the fire began to crackle. I hauled Breen closer to the mouth of the cave. A little smoke came in, but the wind was blowing from the north, down the beach, not from the sea, so most of the smoke blew away from us.
Breen sat up after a few minutes warming by the fire, pressed close against my shoulder. I didn’t know if the touch warmed him, but it sent a flush through me. Heat pooled low in my belly. I tried to ignore it. Mustn’t think on it. I could have left him then, gone up to fetch him some clothes from the cottage. He was out of the wind and had the fire and my jacket. He wouldn’t freeze in the time it took me to get there and back. But I didn’t want to go. I had a strange fear that if I let him out of my sight for even a minute he’d disappear.
“What’s your name?” he asked me suddenly, rousing me from a daydream, my mind full of… sin.
“Callum. Are you a sailor, Breen? Were you wrecked?”
“Wrecked?” He asked it as if he didn’t know what the word meant. He had an accent, not local, not even like the men who sometimes came from the mainland.
“Were you on a ship? Did it sink?”
“No. No ship.”
No ship? So how’d he come here? For he’d surely come out of the sea.
“A fishing boat?”
“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I am here for you, Callum.”
“What?” I turned to him, thinking I’d misheard, or he’d misspoke, not knowing our language so well after all. His eyes were huge and so beautiful. Looking into them felt like falling into a tarn, or looking up into the night sky, at the velvet blackness.
“I have heard you call me,” he said, voice low, a dark, throbbing edge to it. He reached for me, his long fingers touching my face. Shock made me want to pull away. But the thrill down my spine at his touch—fingers still cold despite the fire—kept me riveted. I could no more stop him than I could fly. He leaned close. I thought he was speaking. His lips formed words, or perhaps my name, but my ears were full of the crashing of the waves and the crackle of the fire. His lips touched my mouth.
I closed my eyes. A kiss. He was kissing me. I’d never… not with a man, not a kiss. Some… fumbling with other lads, and a kiss with a lass or two, because they expected it, and because other people expected it, and it kept them from talking about me. But this… nothing had ever felt like this. His mouth slanted across mine, lips soft, but something hard behind them. No, not hard. Strong. His skin was smooth where mine was rough. I hadn’t shaved before coming to the beach.
His tongue—hot, wet—touched my lips. It should have been disgusting. Sin should feel disgusting, make me want to stop him, push him away, drag him out and toss him back in the sea that brought him. But instead it thrilled me. I wanted his tongue inside my mouth, and I opened my lips to him. It pressed in and found mine. Oh, God, to feel that for the first time. Like his tongue was a flint and mine was kindling. A spark and then flame.
If you’d like to read more check out the buy link below, or enter the contest to win an ebook copy. Comment and tell us about a memorable reading first. Maybe the first time you tried a genre you thought wasn’t your thing—and loved it. Or your first M/M book. Did it change your reading habits forever?
Answer by Friday 10th, 18:00 BST (that’s UK time) and you’re in with a chance to win.
Contest now closed. Thanks for entering and congratulations to the winner JJ.
July 6, 2015
Hello everyone! This is Grace R. Duncan and today is the release of my new contemporary BDSM novel, Turning His Life Around.
I actually started Turning a long time ago. When I first started writing it, I was just beginning to understand all that BDSM was about and what it meant to me. Make no mistake, I’ve been kinky for almost as long as I’ve been sexual. But I didn’t really understand what it all was or how it worked.
Not all of my kinky experiences happened within a romantic relationship. In fact, many of them were with people who are just friends. Sometimes, play is just that—play. Two people have fun and enjoy something mutual. One thing to remember, here, is that BDSM doesn’t require sex. One of the best scenes I’ve ever had involved me getting my ass paddled (and spanked, among other things) but the guy spanking me never touched me sexually. Another time, I volunteered to let people learn fire play with me and though I was naked, there was nothing sexual about it. Sure, sex can be involved, but it doesn’t have to be.
But sometimes kinky relationships stem from existing romantic relationships. Couples—or more—who discover kink after being together for a long time. It’s often a natural progression to go from vanilla sex to experimenting with other things—tying someone up, blindfolding them, a swat here or there—all of which can lead to even more.
However, it’s not always that clear cut. Sometimes what seems so to be only friendship between two playing starts to feel like something more. BDSM—especially D/s and pain play—involves a lot of trust, on both sides of the relationship. For a submissive to be able to let go and simply experience, they have to be able to trust their Dom. Some level of trust is necessary if they’re going to go into that oft-coveted place: subspace.
It can mean that the lines between simple play between friends and that of a romantic relationship can be blurred. It’s even worse if those boundaries weren’t that clear to begin with. What happens when two best friends who’d been so all their lives start to realize there’s more between them then occasionally fucking or saying, “Yes, Sir?”
Turning explores that. Things have always been relatively simple for Kane. They were rough when he was little, but still fairly simple. He avoided his mom’s boyfriends. He spent his days with his best friend, Ian. As they got older and away from his mother, that didn’t change all that much. Now, he didn’t have to worry about the boyfriends, but he still simply hung out with his best friend and focusing on being a teenager like most others—except for being gay, of course.
But that friendship was always there and Kane never questioned that. Until his life turns upside down and he’s faced with a whole mess of change he never expected. And through it all, the one person he’d come to depend on is still there, still his rock.
They’re not just best friends, though. They’ve been happy to be fuck buddies when neither was dating anyone. And a few years before Kane’s life goes so crazy, they start exploring BDSM.
So when it does get more than a little crazy, those already-fuzzy lines get much blurrier. Kane is asked, on more than one occasion, what Ian is to him and he discovers he’s having a hard time explaining. Everyone seems determined to label Ian as Kane’s boyfriend or partner, but Kane keeps refusing… until he tries to list all the things Ian is… and isn’t quite sure where to stop.
A big portion of what pushes him further is when they start playing more often. Kane needs the grounding the scenes with Ian gives him, with all the changes in his life. And the more they play, the harder it is for him to find those lines once again.
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Have you had relationships where the lines blurred for you? Could you play with a friend? Tell me about these for a chance to win a copy of any of my backlist titles!
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Be sure to follow the tour for more opportunities to win and learn lots more about Kane and Ian! Check it out here!
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Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination. She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.
A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States. She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.
As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics. She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.
Find Grace here:
Turning His Life Around