November 13, 2015
Susan Laine here, saying big thanks to everyone reading these posts about Yellow Streak by Dreamspinner Press. I hope you’ve enjoyed the excerpts, pictures (few more delicious ones below), and insight into the issues being dealt with in the Heroes At Heart series. Thank you for your company and comments, and I hope you continue to enjoy my stories. Goodbye, and see you around the internet
THE GIVEAWAY: Anyone who comments on any of the Release Party posts is part of the giveaway, for one e-book copy of Yellow Streak, Yellowbelly Hero, or any book in my backlog. The winner will be named tomorrow, so comment anywhere and stay tuned!
A few last pictures to whet your appetite <3
(CrisArt) The last picture hints at the future of Yancy and Curt’s relationship, as Yancy wants to be a writer and Curt just loves listening to his voice <3
Susan Laine is an award-winning, multi-published author of LGBTQ erotic romance. Susan lives in Finland, where summers are wet and winters long. Thankfully, she’s kept plenty warm by the spark for writing, which kindled when Susan discovered the sizzling hot gay erotic romance genre. Trained as an anthropologist, Susan’s long-term plan is to become a full-time writer. Susan enjoys hanging out with her sister, two nieces, and friends in movie theaters, bookstores, and parks. Her favorite pastimes include listening to music, watching action flicks, eating chocolate, and doing the dishes while pondering the meaning of life.
November 11, 2015
Hi, all. I’m here to talk about my new release, Like No One Is Watching, which is the first book in a new series titled Dance, Love, Live. The series is about a group of friends, most of them dancers, but also instructors, former dancers, or those whose lives have been overrun by the passion most dancers have for their art. Oddly enough, the series came about because I thought I had lost my own passion there for a minute.
There was a day, a while back, when I was going about my routine, trying to come up with a new story idea to get myself out of a rut. I wanted something that would write itself. Something I didn’t have to think too hard about. Something I wouldn’t have to spend hours researching. But my life, I thought, as I looked around my daughter’s dance studio (I was cleaning it at the time) was so devoid of anything, lately, other than sitting at my computer writing stories…or trying to write stories…that I just didn’t have anything interesting to bring to the table.
As I stood there, gazing through the mirror at the rest of the room, a spider flitted across the floor about ten feet behind me. It was big enough for me to see it in the mirror ten feet away. Knowing the studio’s Director as I do, I hunted that sucker down and evicted its ass before she got back, thereby avoiding any awkward moments when a grown woman in charge of a gaggle of tutued young ladies had to try not to freak out over it.
I was still standing there, writing the spider scene of this story in my head when my fellow cleaner (aka: Husband) came along and asked me what the ever loving heck I was doing leaning on my broom staring into space.
For weeks before that day, I hadn’t felt much like a writer at all. I’d spent many an hour doing just about anything I could find to do other than write. I felt like I was losing it. But when he asked me that, and I answered “writing” without even missing a beat, I realized there are some things, once they are in your system, in your blood and under your skin, they never go away completely.
And there it was. The opening scene of book one, the theme for the series, the setting and characterization for the first book. I had the landscape. The rest was details. I hope you like the first act, because it rekindled that need to do what I do, even when I should be doing something else.
So what is it in your life that drags you away from the everyday and burrows into your soul so that you can’t let it go or walk away, or finish folding the laundry and washing the dishes? For me, it’s writing.
If you want to read the book, you can find it here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7060
If you’d like a copy of something else from my back list, talk to me about your passion in the comments, and let me know what you’d like to read, and I will chose one winner at 9:00 AM Eastern November 12.
November 11, 2015
Drumroll please and here it is, my big debut, both as a Dreamspinner Press author and as a writer of m/m romance. It’s pretty nerve-wracking for any author on release day, but with those additional factors, I’m a bit of a wreck right now. My new sci-fi book, Raider Captured, is finally available after what has seemed like months and months of writing, submitting, waiting, and editing. Hold on a minute, that’s exactly how long it has taken. Hopefully all that hard work both on my part and all the talented folks at Dreamspinner will result in an entertaining read for you.
Raider Captured, as the title implies, is, in addition to being a romance and outer space adventure tale, my exploration of the strictures and pressures of imprisonment on both sides of the cage. My initial inspiration for the story was putting two characters in opposition to each other in the most fundamental way; prisoner and jailor. How could I weave romance into such a power imbalance? Both characters would have to overcome many obstacles to eventually place trust in each other and finally discover love. Equally important was having each character empathize with the other’s position. Sagiv, the captured warrior, knows that Daran, his young captor, is facing tremendous pressure to return him for a ransom. Sagiv is certain none of his people would offer up anything for his return as he’s disgraced in defeat. Daran realizes he should feel nothing but disdain for Sagiv, a man who attacked his ship, but he can’t suppress his innate curiosity about the mysterious fighter. There is a connection between them, forged first in the manacles around Sagiv’s wrists, and only strengthened when Daran decides to remove the restraints and free his fearsome prisoner.
There’s always an element of risk when falling in love. Oftentimes we have to give up things we thought were important in order to create that emotional bond with another person. We might have to move, face a friend or family’s disapproval, or open ourselves up to the possibility of rejection. Everyone has to make a leap into the unknown for the chance at romance.
I’m curious about what you had to risk in order to find love. Please leave a comment below for the chance to win a copy of Raider Captured or something useful if you’re ever captured by an alien.
Check out Raider Captured here!
November 9, 2015
Hello DSP readers! I’m Elle Brownlee, and I love baseball. I also love writing, and writing gay romance. These two loves lead to an inevitable conclusion: I wrote a baseball-themed book entitled Force Play.
I’ve always loved baseball. I was raised on it (I think it’s likely I heard my first game while in the womb). Baseball was something I shared with my family, and something I’ve taken pains to pass on to my niece and nephew. Many of my cherished memories are of going to Triple-A games as a kid, thinking it was the Big Leagues and believing our team couldn’t lose. Even if they did, we agreed they’d get ‘em next time, and we’d drive home listening to a different game all the way from another state far away crackling on the radio.
There’s always a game to be found during baseball season, and I’m always glad to listen along when one is playing. I know I’m not alone in thinking baseball games make the perfect ambient background noise for just about any task, from cleaning house to falling asleep with the radio tucked under your pillow. When you’re a fan of baseball the game itself gets deep inside you, down to your marrow, and there’s inherent comfort in having its reliable rhythm around.
That idea of being grounded by the game itself is what sparked my character’s journeys for Force Play. Harmon is at a major crossroads where the book opens, and Caleb is in a rut. Harmon wants to leave the game for good, and Caleb can’t walk away despite never being given the chance to shine. They argue, and clash, and sparks fly. But despite their differences, and different directions life has taken them, at their hearts they still have baseball. Baseball is the one thing that defines them separately, connects them to while they figure out being friends, and binds them as they start falling in love.
As I wrote Force Play I listened to old favorite games played by My Team. I’d steep a pot of tea, fire up Word, and stick Game 7 from the 2011 World Series in the DVD drive. (Psst, if you follow baseball, you’ll see I’ve just given away who I root for as My Team.) Often, as soon as the sounds of the game started filling the room, the words would flow, and Harmon and Caleb would be there telling me about their place with each other, and in the game. Even on days when writing was hard, I trusted my guys to show up the next day ready to give it and each other their best, because that’s what a true ballplayer does.
Baseball has so many stories to tell because baseball is about struggles and triumphs we can all relate to. So even if you’re not a superfan like me, there’s no need to worry. As the game begins and the sounds and rhythms surround you, you’ll understand what’s going on. There’ll be outs, runs, hits and misses—and I promise, the good guys win in the end.
Do you love baseball as much as I do? What is one of your cherished baseball memories—who does baseball connect you to? If you’re not a baseball fan (gasp!) what’s your go-to perfect ambient background noise?
I’ll be checking in to comment and I’m looking forward to your responses. I’ll also choose a giveaway winner from the commenters to nab the title of their choice from my backlist, so take a few swings or put on your glove. Play ball!
Find me all over the web. I’m always glad to chat—baseball and writing or both!
November 6, 2015
Celebrating the Release of A Solitary Man by Shira Anthony and Aisling Mancy!
I have a unique writing background in a number of ways, not the least of which is that I was raised by a prolific author. I have also written in multiple mainstream venues for years, and spent way too much time on movie sets watching films come to life for the silver screen. Though I write for Harmony Ink Press and have spent the past four years concentrating on young adult works, I write primarily for adults—surprise!
Shira and I love to write romance but when we sat down to write A Solitary Man, we wanted to write more than a love story. We wanted to write a story to raise awareness about two very important issues: youth placed in solitary confinement and commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC). Both have devastating effects on our youth of today and leave everlasting invisible scars. In A Solitary Man, assistant district attorney, Chance Fairchild, and deputy sheriff, Xavier Constantine, are hot on the trail of a trafficking cartel whose interest isn’t only drugs, but also that of trafficking children. The story rocks some seriously hot sex and romance, but it also rocks a great mystery, spine-tingling suspense, and a lot of action—centered on these two serious issues.
While I have written GLBT content in the past, I’ve only written for the M/M romance community for a couple of years—and young adult works at that. When I peruse Dreamspinner’s wonderful library of works, it is readily apparent how much we, as authors, and you as readers, have accomplished to advance the rights of the LGBT community.
I’m old. I remember when no child protection laws existed, I remember segregation, and I remember when it was illegal to be gay in most states. Hell, I remember witchcraft was still illegal. While there have been qualified advances in the law over the past sixty years—most in respect to discrimination and hate crimes—progress in the recognition of rights and acceptance of the GLBTQIAP community has been slow. Very slow. In fact, most of the advancement has occurred in the past ten years. By way of example, intersex people were only granted negligible rights in 2006. We’re only now beginning to recognize the rights of transgender and transsexual individuals. And all of the aforementioned, from children’s rights to the rights of GLBTQIAP individuals is because we and our allies have come together to protect human beings.
The Supreme Court’s decision legalizing gay marriage is a historic event, to be sure. But it’s more than that. It ensures that every generation alive today lives in a time of profound change—not only one of change in perspective, but also one of behavior and the law. Now, more than ever before. As authors and readers, we bring awareness to the world. That makes me proud and I hope to bring you works that inspire you, give you strength and, above all, give you hope. Read more books! As tough as it may be, talk to people. Engage them in meaningful conversation. We’re changing the world one book at a time!
Comment below and let us know how else you think we’re changing the world for the better and don’t forget to enter for a chance to win! Thank you for celebrating the release of A Solitary Man with us! Go buy the book, read it, and become involved!
Like A Solitary Man on Facebook
Thursday, October 29th Aisling is at The
Novel Approach Reviews
with A Brief and Frank Discussion of A Solitary Man
Friday, October 30th Aisling is at Jo
& Isa Love Books
with the Notes Behind the Music Playlist for A Solitary Man
Tuesday, November 4th Aisling is at Bike Book Reviews
Wednesday, November 5th
Aisling is at Joyfully Jay
Shira is at Prism Book
Friday, November 6th RELEASE DAY CELEBRATION!
Yarning to Write Kermit Flail with lovely Amy Lane!
Aisling is at Divine
Aisling is on Dreampsinner’s Blog
Saturday, November 7th Aisling is at Love Bytes Reviews
Sunday, November 8th
Shira is at My Fiction
FACEBOOK CHAT with Shira & Aisling 2-5pm EST
Monday, November 9th Aisling is at My Fiction Nook
Tuesday, November 10th Shira is at Bike Book Reviews
Wednesday, November 11th Shira is at Scattered Thoughts
and Rogue Words
TWEET, COMMENT, AND VISIT A SOLITARY
MAN’S FACEBOOK PAGE
TO BE ENTERED TO WIN A TOTE
SIGNED BOOKS FROM SHIRA &
October 30, 2015
Hey! My name is M.A. Church, and I’m stopping by to talk about my newest release called Behind the Eight Ball. One of the most asked questions about this series is what inspired me to write it? Well, several things lol. That’s clear, isn’t it?
Actually, this series started as a flash last New Year’s Eve. That’s where Trouble Comes in Threes sprang from. What I wanted for this story was a crotchety man with a sharp tongue and bad attitude sitting at home for the holiday. What I got was Kirk, a clowder full of cats that aren’t overly fond of humans, and the beginning of a series.
The first book dealt with Kirk and all the trouble life had thrown at him. In that book, you meet the betas: Aidric, Heller, Brier, and Remi. I had originally planned for the second book to be about Remi and his mate, but I figured out right quick that wasn’t going to work. Heller was the one demanding my attention. And believe me, Heller can be quite demanding. I call him a diva for a reason, lol.
It turned out going with Heller as the second in the series was the right choice. While writing Behind the Eight Ball, a very interesting set of secondary characters made their presence known. Now I knew why I couldn’t do Remi’s book yet. Heller’s book had to come first because Remi’s mate makes his appearance in Behind the Eight Ball.
Now, I write a lot of paranormal and scifi, and read just as much. While I have absolutely nothing against wolves and other big, cool shifters I’d noticed there wasn’t much out there about smaller, regular shifters. Don’t they deserve love too? This is where I mention I love cats. *Grin* I know, shocking right? If you know me, or follow me on social media, you’ve seen pictures of my writing buddy, Kitty-Kitty.
I’ve loved cats since I was a very little girl, but I was unable to have pets due to my allergies. Needless to say, as soon as I left home the first thing I did was get a cat! The second thing I did was get married, have children, and had a child who was asthmatic. We had to say bye-bye to the cat.
So twenty years later what was the first thing I did when my son moved out? You got it. I got a cat. Okay, that’s not exactly right. The cat got us, lol. On Halloween night about four years ago, this cute little gray kitten showed up in the garage. He was very used to humans, and so playful.
But taking on a pet is a big responsibility, a responsibility I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted. The Eldest Kiddo had moved out, and the Youngest Kiddo was heading off to college. The hubby and I would finally have the house all to ourselves. I refused to call the kitten anything more than Kitty-Kitty because I didn’t want to get attached.
For all the good it did.
Next thing I knew, the hubby was sneaking the kitten in. And that was the end of that. We bought all the things a cat needs and then came the trips to the vet for shots and stuff. (Wanna guess who had to deal with the crying cat? Right, lol. Me.) And that’s how we ended up with Kitty-Kitty, who the hubby calls Skeeter. *Cringe* Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you. The strange thing is, the cat answers to both names.
Each title relates to the characters in its book. The first book revolves around how bad things come in threes. It’s a superstitious old saying. In the book Kirk has had a string of bad luck, and he’s waiting for the next crappy thing to happen.
In book two Heller finds himself in the position of chasing after the very mate he first rejected. He’s behind the eight ball. It means he’s in a bad situation, in a losing position. The phrase comes from pool (or billiards). When the cue (white) ball is behind the eight (black) ball, a player usually has no shot.
In book three Remi and his man mate pretty quickly, but then end up dancing around one another as they struggle with the power dynamics in their relationship. I have a title in mind for that one too, along with rough outlines and titles for Aidric and Brier’s books. *Sigh* I just need to get them written.
And that’s what inspired the Fur, Fangs, and Felines series! I’m doing a giveaway for the release of Behind the Eight Ball so comment for a chance to win an e-book from my backlist. Do you have a pet? If so, what kind? If you can’t or don’t have a pet, what kind would you have if you could?
M.A. Church is a true Southern belle who spent many years in the elementary education sector. Now she spends her days lost in fantasy worlds, arguing with hardheaded aliens on far-off planets, herding her numerous shifters, or trying to tempt her country boys away from their fishing poles. It’s a full time job, but hey, someone’s gotta do it!
When not writing, she’s exploring the latest M/M novel to hit the market, watching her beloved Steelers, or sitting glued to HGTV. That’s if she’s not on the back porch tending to the demanding wildlife around the pond in the backyard. The ducks are very outspoken. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, and they have two children.
She was a finalist in the Rainbow awards for 2013 and is a member of Romance Writers of America, Rainbow Romance Writers, and Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.
October 23, 2015
Hi, I’m Kate Pavelle, and my book “Sire” is coming out today. It’s classified as “new adult” because it deals with two 17-year olds. You’ve met one of them, Brent, in the “Steel City Story” series books “Wild Horses” and “Broken Gait.”
One of my beta readers remarked that he and his boyfriend act a bit over-the-top. “But they are teenagers,” she said. “I guess they can be forgiven.” Which is my point precisely – teen thought and action is often punctuated by black-and-white drama. All or nothing. Triumph or disaster. Love or hate. Which is why I decided, about 15 months ago, to write a book about Brent.
A news headline had caught my eye back then: a 17-year old girl, who was a star student with a bright future, had committed suicide because she couldn’t bear the thought of her religious, conservative parents rejecting her once they were bound to learn she was a lesbian.
Her grieving parents had been appalled. They would’ve loved her the way she was.
You might think this is an isolated example. Maybe she was stressed (who isn’t?), or depressed (we all are, on occasion), or scared. You might think there was “something else wrong with her.” That’s not what I thought. I thought, “This could’ve been me.”
I still remember the cold ball of dread in the pit of my stomach and the writhing shame I felt when I had been dismissed from my AP chemistry class, and demoted to the slow, uninspiring chemistry for stupid people. I can still see the warm autumn sun drift through the pebbled bathroom windows of the third-floor girls’ bathroom. The small, antiquated tile in cream and mint green, the single sinks and the drip-drip-drip of a leaky faucet.
I should’ve continued to the stupid people chemistry class, but I needed to escape for just a little bit. Or, maybe, forever.
Would my father, the world-famous chemist and inventor, hate me?
Would his father, another world-famous chemist, scoff?
Would my mom drink away her disappointment?
I had brought shame upon the family.
My English still sucked and I couldn’t keep up.
I was a failure.
The pain, it cut deep. Twisted my gut, squeezed my shoulders, pricked my eyes with tears. I tried to envision a positive outcome of this situation, but I couldn’t.
It wasn’t there, and I wanted it to stop. Stop the stress of constant little failures, mediocre grades, and parental expectations. Stop the shame, eliminate the failure, cleanse my family’s honor.
There had to be a way to wipe the slate clean.
The windows were the kind that tilted in instead of opening wide. I walked all the way to the wall and leaned for a better look.
I could’ve fit through the window – I’d have to squeeze, but there was just enough space to crawl out. The interior courtyard of the school had a little concrete pad in the middle, and grass all around it. I couldn’t see where I was going to fall. Would it hurt? For just a little while, maybe. Unless I fell on grass and survived. If I lived, I’d be in a world of pain and my parents would have those mad, irritated faces and they’d call me stupid again, and… dammit, it sure looked like it would hurt a lot.
I backed away from the window, washed my face, and trudged on to the classroom where only losers too slow, too ignorant, too unintelligent to carry on a glorious family legacy, sat in an unruly gaggle of seats. As I joined them, I held on to the thought that later I’d find a way to wipe the slate clean and stop the horrid and unbearable shame.
My parents’ reaction was a revelation. They didn’t explode. They just nodded and carried on, burdened by their own troubles. It wasn’t all about me and about my AP chemistry class failure. Life wasn’t black-and-white. There was no “big talk,” except for my dad letting it slip that he failed a class at my grade level too.
That girl who’d discovered she was into girls, she too couldn’t comprehend a world without absolutes, and I feel for her. I connect to the turmoil of helplessness she must’ve felt, the conclusions she must’ve reached given both limited information and a limited perspective on life.
Then I thought of Brent, and his father, and the kiss Brent had shared with Lindsey in “Broken Gait.” The kiss that was merely okay, and didn’t even begin to compare to the one Brent had shared with Robbie. And I thought, Brent, this book’s about you.
If I can convince just one young person that parents are both fallible and loving, that this, too, shall pass and a better day will come, writing late into the night will have been worth it. If I can convince just one person of any age that disappointing a parent does not equate to being a failure at everything, the painstaking timeline coordination with “Broken Gait” will have been worth it. If I can keep just one teen from thinking that erasing their existence is the one and only way to stop the pain, then all the endless edits will also have been worth it.
Live on, my friends. Cherish your triumphs, but also cherish your learning experiences. For no one can grow without falling flat on the face, scrambling up to the feet, and moving forward again. And spread kind, loving words to offset the sting that comes with these lessons. You never know – even a boy or a girl who seem to have it all together might think a reasonably benign situation is the end of the world.
For them, it might be.
If you’d like to put your name into the hat for a drawing of two free e-book copies of “Sire,” leave a comment below. Respond to this topic. People with hidden inner lives are all around you, and a kind word can make a world of a difference. So, go on! Interact! I’ll respond to your comments as best I can.
October 14, 2015
Hi, everyone! My name is Antonia Aquilante, and I’m excited to be here today to talk with you about my debut novel, The Prince’s Consort, releasing October 16th. The Prince’s Consort is a fantasy romance about a prince and the son of a glass merchant. Here’s the blurb:
Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time.
Or have they?
Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.
Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.
When I’m writing, the ideas for my stories often come in the form of characters first, and that’s what happened with The Prince’s Consort. I was actually writing a different story entirely, and Amory and Philip were meant to be minor characters who were only in a couple of scenes. They were much older in that story and had been together for a long time. The first scene I wrote with Amory in it just flowed – and I loved Amory immediately.
More about Amory and Philip’s characters kept coming to me, but I was writing a story about someone else. So I made notes about Amory and Philip and set them aside, telling myself I would write their story later, after I finished what I was working on. But even as I wrote that other story, Amory and Philip kept filtering in. I suddenly knew how they meet; I could see the scene in my head. I learned more and more about who they are – Amory’s quiet strength and huge capacity for love, Philip’s protectiveness and hidden vulnerability. And I really wanted to know how they got from that first meeting to the place I knew they’d be in the story I was writing at the time (living happily ever after, of course).
I repeated to myself – and them – over and over to be patient. Soon – I’d write their story soon.
And then I hit a wall in the story I was writing. Something wasn’t working, and I couldn’t quite place what. I beat my head against that wall for a long while, but I got no closer to the problem, and Amory and Philip were still demanding their story be told.
I’m the type of person who likes to finish a project before moving to the next. Every story I’ve written, I’ve finished before beginning another. Normally I just keep working at it, keep thinking and writing, and I get back on track. I didn’t this time. I did something I never do; I put the other project aside and turned to Amory and Philip’s story. I’m so happy I did. And not just because The Prince’s Consort has become my first published novel (even though I’m still giddy about that!), but because I loved figuring out who Amory and Philip are and the world they live in, and what happens to them on their road to happily ever after. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.
For a chance to win a copy of The Prince’s Consort, tell me about a time when you did the opposite of what you would normally do and the situation turned out better than you expected. Or did it not turn out so well?
Bio: Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.
She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.
Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.
October 12, 2015
I confess: the world of sex workers fascinates me.
And what fascinates me more is how love can flourish in such an environment. This was the question I posed to myself when writing TRICKS.
I also love the idea of an opposites-attract love story. What could be better, I wondered, than taking a male stripper and a kind of nerdy, straight-laced guy who hardly would ever even frequent a place where male strippers dance and…have them fall in love?
I based my stripper bar, Tricks, on an actual bar I went to once in a while back when I lived in Chicago called the Lucky Horseshoe (it’s still there, if you’re a Chicagoan or visiting, on Halsted, just south of Belmont Ave,). The Lucky Horseshoe was good sleazy fun with an endlessly rotating roster of young male dancers (and a mostly older clientele). The times I went in there, I was probably storing away the details for the romance novel I would one day write. Once I got beyond the tight pecs, firm asses, and bulging straps of the men on stage, the writer in me wondered if they ever met anyone engaging or special in their work. And, if they did, were they able to sustain a relationship? It’s an interesting question. Could you let your significant other go out night after night and strip down to almost nothing for strangers? Quit laughing! It’s a serious question! Could you allow him or her to be fondled by those same strangers for money? And, if you could, how would you make it work? My male dancer, Arliss, besides being super-hot, is also a real sweetheart. He’s deserving of love. But how would Sean, whom most of us would think of us as pretty conventional, answer those questions?
If ever the path to true love never did run smooth, TRICKS is one story that proves the old saying…in spades…or jockstraps.
Tricks can mean many things: sex partners, deceptions, even magic—or maybe all three.
Arliss is a gorgeous young dancer at Tricks, the hottest club in Chicago’s Boystown. Sean is the classic nerd, out of place in Tricks, but nursing his wounds from a recent breakup. When the two spy each other, magic blooms.
But this opposites-attract tale does not run smooth. What happens when Arliss is approached by one of the biggest porn producers in the business? Can he make his dreams of stardom come true without throwing away the only real love he’s ever known? This question might not even matter if the mysterious producers realize their dark intentions.
WIN A COPY
To win a free autographed copy of TRICKS, simply comment below (leaving an e-mail address so we can get in touch if you win). And, just for fun, let me know: could you allow your significant other to work in a stripper bar? I will draw a winner from all entries submitted by October 19. Please note that this offer is only available for US residents (because of the prohibitive cost of foreign shipping). Those outside the US will win an ebook of TRICKS.
Attired in a costume that would make the construction worker from the Village People look demure, Arliss turned in front of the mirror to ensure he was the perfect fantasy specimen of pornographic machismo. He was grateful he had added the angel wing tattoo to his back and the snakes that twisted around each bicep. And the one on his chest, the tiny heart with the name “Helena” in it, always brought a lump to his throat—or a splash of bile to the back of it, depending on his mood and how forgiving he felt. But now was not the time for being sentimental! Arliss was glad for the tattoos because they added a bit of manliness to his six foot two inch frame that held only 160 pounds in weight. He was what the older men at Tricks referred to as a twink and, thankfully, was a desirable commodity in some circles.
He set the cigarette down in a tin ashtray and took a swig of vodka. He could feel as much as hear the heavy bass of the techno music playing in the bar and knew that Antonio, a Puerto Rican dude with a shaved head and heavy stubble, was probably just about finished with his set, which meant his boxing ensemble cluttered the small stage.
Arliss would come out, dance briefly and flirtatiously with Antonio, and then have the stage to himself. He didn’t know how he did it, night after night, but somehow he managed. He had always been the shyest boy in Ruskin, Florida, where he had grown up. He remembered his hometown with no nostalgia, only with relief that he’d managed to escape its flat, charmless stretches, so unlike what most people thought of when they conjured up images of Florida. Ruskin had no coastline, no beaches, and no picture-postcard landscapes. If they could see me now…. Well, if they could see me now, they’d probably still call me a fag and try to beat the crap out of me, as they once did. Once again, my dear, now is not the time for sentimentality. He took another swig of vodka, draining the glass and feeling the warmth of the liquor as it spread through his chest and extremities. Showtime!
Arliss hurried to the door that separated the cramped dressing room from the bar proper. Tricks didn’t really have a stage, although the dancers liked to think of the bar upon which they danced as one. It was Friday night, and from the rise of conversation and laughter beneath the pounding electronica beat, it sounded as though they had a sizable crowd. He sucked in a breath, looked down at his perfectly smooth pale skin and six-pack abs, and told himself he was gorgeous.
“Don’t forget to smile, toots! You always look like some gloomy Gus out there!”
Leave it to Emmett Myers, owner of Tricks and Arliss’s boss, to try to unsettle him just before he went on stage.
Arliss flashed the man a big Farrah Fawcett smile. If the prissy older man with the pencil moustache recognized it as fake, he gave no indication.
“There! That’s what they like to see! For heaven’s sakes, you have to remember that if they think you’re having a good time, they’ll have a good time. And a good time means more money for all of us.”
Arliss listened as the song wound down, morphing into yet another bass beat that signaled him it was time to stride out through the door, amble across the crowded room, ignore the covert feels and pinches he got as he made his way to the bar, and climb up on it to join Antonio in front of the crowd.
This moment, just before he went out, was always almost surreal. There was a paradoxical rush of nerves that made him feel both nauseated and tingly with electric anticipation. He felt as though he became someone else when he opened that door, or more properly, that his everyday world changed when he opened it. It was kind of like when Dorothy opened the door to Oz and saw the hyper colors of Munchkinland. But instead of munchkins and good witches who descended in translucent bubbles, his world was populated with bitter old queens, alcoholics, and trolls trying to put some oomph into their libidos by staring at boys young enough to be their sons—and in many cases, grandsons.
“Get out there, gorgeous! Shake your groove thing!” Emmett cackled and placed a hand on Arliss’s back to propel him forward.
Just as much to get the hand off his back as to get to the stage, Arliss threw open the door, plastered on a big smile, threw his shoulders back, and strode through the crowd, keeping his eye on the narrow strip of bar that would, for the next fifteen minutes, be his stage.
Rick R. Reed BIOGRAPHY
Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). Raining Men and Caregiver have both won the Rainbow Award for gay fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”
October 7, 2015
Hi. Nic Starr here. I’m joining you today to talk a little about my upcoming release, More Than a Friend. I wanted to talk a little about the book, and the topic of friends.
I had an interesting discussion this week with an old friend of mine, someone I’ve known since high school. Actually, she’s my one and only good friend from those days. You see I’m one of those people who are happy to socialize but I don’t collect a huge group of friends. I have my best girlfriend from school, my best friend from my first long term job, and a best friend from mother’s group. I am extraordinarily close with my sister who lives only two street away, and I have my ‘new’ best friend. Our social circle includes my husband’s best mates and their families, but it is a relatively small group.
So back to the conversation. My friend and I were talking about quality of friendships versus quantity of friendships (of course quality won), and what we expected out of relationships. The discussion drifted to online friends, and the value of relationships via social media. She was quite surprised to find I communicate MORE OFTEN with people I’ve met online and haven’t even met in ‘real-life’. She was amazed to find that something as simple as a shared love of a reading genre, and passion to support same love, could bring a group of people together in such a personal way.
The conversation reminded me how lucky I am to have good people in all areas of my life. I know people who would drop everything if I asked for help, friends to take me in their arms for big hugs, and friends to have fun with and share special moments. But I also have a great group of online friends who are available all hours of the day and night, to provide laughter or comfort or just help me feel like I’m not alone.
This month, October, feels like a special month for friends.
Firstly, I’ll be spending a week with my ‘new’ bestie. We met online a couple of years ago, through our love of m/m romance, and a lasting friendship has formed. We message and talk on the phone every day, and we’ve spent a few weekends together (she lives on the other side of the country to me), but this trip is the two of us going on a BIG adventure so is extra special. You see, we are travelling from Australia to the USA! Yay!
The trip is for GRL, where I am looking forward to meeting and spending times with readers and authors alike. I’m looking forward to putting faces to names, and maybe sharing a hug or two with the people I only know online. It will be a special time.
Finally, the 7th October sees the release of More Than a Friend. This is a friends-to-lovers story. If you’ve read More Than a Superstar, you would have sensed the tension between Tim and Scott. In More Than a Friend, I was able to give these guys their happy ever after. Of course, they need to overcome a number of obstacles once they admit their attraction to one another, including the fact that Tim is best friends with Scott’s brother, so an interesting look at the family/friend dynamic.☺
I’m leaving in a week for San Diego. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to meet many of you while I’m there.
How about I leave you with a giveaway?
If you’d like to win an eBook copy of one of my backlist titles, leave a comment on this blog post. All you need to do is share a story about where you met your best friend. Good luck. ☺
Have a great day!
And for those of you interested, here are the details of my latest release.
More Than a Friend – The Blurb
Tim Walker is a free man. He’s broken up with his girlfriend and is ready to move on to a new relationship. But the relationship he wants to pursue is fraught with challenges. Firstly, Scott Richardson is a man, and only Tim’s closest friends know Tim’s bisexual. Secondly, everyone knows Scott relishes the single life. And then there’s the big one: Scott is the younger brother of Tim’s best friend, Paul.
Scott can’t deny an attraction to his brother’s friend Tim. Lean, dark-blond, and blue-eyed, Tim is hot and hard not to notice—especially since Scott and Tim work together. Too bad the man is straight, and too bad Scott worries how Paul will react if Scott hooks up with his best friend.
Tim and Scott want to see if there’s a chance for more than friendship between them, but neither of them wants to lose Paul. Together, they must find the courage to follow their hearts and find a way to have it all.
About Nic Starr
Nic Starr lives in Australia where she tries to squeeze as much into her busy life as possible. Balancing the demands of a corporate career with raising a family and writing can be challenging but she wouldn’t give it up for the world.
Always a reader, the lure of m/m romance was strong and she devoured hundreds of wonderful m/m romance books before eventually realising she had some stories of her own that needed to be told!
When not writing or reading, she loves to spend time with her family—an understanding husband and two beautiful daughters—and is often found indulging in her love of cooking and planning her dream home in the country.
You can find Nic on Facebook, Twitter and her blog. She’d love it if you stopped by to say hi.
Website & Blog: http://www.nicstarr.com
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/Nic-Starr/e/B00MAWRRQG/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NicStarrAuthor