January 31, 2015
This is the last post from me tonight. I’m off to the Dreamspinner Facebook page to talk nonesense there for a couple of hours.
Thank you to everyone who has left a message. Denise Dechene, you and your husband made me laugh. You are my winner for Stolen Dreams.
Good night. Thank you for keeping me company.
January 31, 2015
I am very fond of my comic relief characters, like Elroy in Stolen Dreams and Jez in The Next Call. I’ve pretty much got them in all my books because I do feel you can’t have high emotion and not have some relief. From Frankie in Frankie & Al to Paul from the Isle series, someone has to provide the comic touch. That’s definitely how my family works, When my father died we spent the evening eating fish and chips, and telling bad jokes. My dad would definitely have appreciated the humour.
I often find myself having to reign in my characters’ natural urge to crack a joke at the wrong moment, such as in the middle of a row or worse, sex. When it comes to it, they often get diverted into talking/thinking about all sorts of things not relevant to the subject at hand. Sometimes I wonder if the readers are yelling “Bloody get on with sex!” Replace bloody with one of your choosing.
Do you ever read Readers Digest? Does it still exist? There was a short story where a writer had waxed lyrical about their hero/heroines cherry red lips, creamy skin, eyes like chocolate etc. They had obviously gone overboard with the food references because the book was sent back by their editor with a short comment ‘eat then write’.
That’s not a bad idea. I’m getting distracted. I shall go off for my dinner and be back for one last post before my Facebook chat. However I won’t leave you without one question.
Question 4. What’s the best joke you’ve ever heard? Leave it in the comments to enter the giveaway.
Excerpt from The Next Call:
“AND YOU suck at blowjobs.” Tam sneered as he walked out of the door.
Mark thought that was kind of the point.
Mark’s colleague and supposed best mate Jez laughed so loudly he disturbed the old blokes at the front of the pub watching the footie, and they turned en masse to glare at him.
Jez ignored them and turned back to Mark. “He said you suck at giving head? Harsh!” The git was far too pleased with himself. “Then what did he do?”
“He took off with whoever he could find on Grindr.”
“Oh bugger. Tam’ll be back.”
Mark didn’t care if his ex-boyfriend returned or not. “If he wants any of his gear, he’d better. I dumped it all by the wheelie bin.”
“When do they pick up?”
“He can fuck Friday through Monday and pick his gear up early Tuesday.”
Mark scowled at him. “Nice to see you’re on my side.”
Jez shrugged. “You’re better off without him. You know that. The bloke’s a waste of oxygen.”
“Pretty, though.” Tam had been slim and pretty with hair like ripe corn and blue eyes with dark lashes. And an eight-inch cock that he knew just where to stick. His cock was pretty too.
“Meh. He was too up his own arse for me.” Jez preferred his men large and docile.
January 31, 2015
I like writing flawed characters and Stolen Dreams is chock full of them. They are so much more interesting to write than Prince Charming. I have read that many actors like playing villains and see them as parts they can get their teeth into. The hero – pah – boring boring. Even better if you can be the hero and the villain with the character. Even kids’ movies have picked that trope. I can think of two films where Prince Charming really wasn’t. Mine aren’t so much heroes and/or villains but people who make wrong/stupid/disastrous decisions in their lives and have to answer for the consequences.
Bonus Points if you can answer question 3. Don’t forget to leave an answer to my questions on any of the posts today to enter the giveaway, and visit my blog tour to enter the rafflecopter.
Question 3: Name a movie where the Prince Charming was not a nice guy at all. I know this is a difficult one so feel free to tell your favourite villain as an alternative.
Elroy throwing coffee over Ed and Jase was kind of inevitable. After all, it was spillage number three, and Morgan had totally just jinxed the situation. Numbly resigned, Morgan stood back and watched the drama unfold as the two men stood in the middle of MC’s, gasping as they were covered in hot, milky coffee.
Elroy looked horrified as he clutched his empty cup. As he had turned to speak to Jase and Ed, he had tripped over a bag left near the counter. “Fuck me. I am so sorry, guys!”
“Elroy, here.” Marilyn threw him a damp cloth, and Elroy attempted to pat the coffee off Ed’s face and clothing.
“Get off me.” Ed flailed his arms, trying to escape Elroy’s ministrations.
“I think we’re going to need the mop, Marilyn, and a fresh towel for Jase.” Elroy turned to catch the cloth from the barista. As he turned back, he winked at Morgan.
January 31, 2015
Hello, my name is Sue Brown and I am addicted to coffee.
If you read any of my books do I really need to make that confession? Let’s face it, my characters are always addicted to coffee or tea. I drink gallons of the dark, fragrant liquid a year. Recently I had the flu and for nearly three weeks I couldn’t drink coffee. It was hell, I tell you, hell. The taste was just foul and I despaired of ever drinking it again. I even cried once or twice as I threw another cup away. Six weeks on and I’m just as addicted. I do drink Earl Grey tea but no one is ever going to convince me of the merits of green tea.
I based Stolen Dreams around a coffee shop which allowed me to indulge my passion. And yes, if I could own a coffee shop I certainly would. Maybe one day.
It was over coffee that the first editor, a few years back in its first incarnation, and I nearly came to blows. She naturally did the things where they look for words that are mentioned too much and should possibly be swapped out for something else. Coffee was a culprit. She suggested that I should reduce the number of ‘coffees’. “But the book is set in a coffee shop,” says I. “Couldn’t they drink something else?” she asked. It was one of the few times I have said ‘over my dead body’ to an editor. Sorry, editor.
You may notice as the excerpts progress that they have one thing in common – apart from coffee. Elroy is the comic relief in what is a full-on in your face story. It’s why I’m using him today. I want you to read Morgan and Shae’s story, but Elroy you can have for free. Seriously, you can take him.
Don’t forget to leave an answer to my questions on any of the posts today to enter the giveaway, and visit my blog tour to enter the rafflecopter.
Question 2. What drink could you not do without?
With a put-upon sigh, Elroy wandered over to the counter to accept a refill.
“Everything evens out and stop changing the subject,” he said over his shoulder.
“There is no subject changing,” Morgan called after him. He was lying, of course, but he could try denial for as long as possible.
“Keep telling yourself that, sweetheart.” Elroy came back with a fresh drink.
Morgan told himself repeatedly what happened next wasn’t really Elroy’s fault. The incident could have been caused by Elroy’s flip-flops or Marco’s overfilling the cup or even Morgan’s fault for placing the sofa just there. Whichever way, the results were the same. Hot coffee stings like a bitch, Morgan discovered as Elroy tripped over the leg of the sofa and his cup, full to the brim with milky coffee, did a graceful somersault, the contents landing squarely over Morgan.
There was a shocked silence in MC’s as Morgan sat there dripping hot coffee, the wind knocked out of him. As he drew in a shaky breath, Marco came rushing over with a wet cloth.
“Are you okay, Morgan?”
Elroy rose shakily to his feet. “You worry about him but not a paying customer,” he grumbled.
Marco didn’t stop mopping the coffee off Morgan’s face and shirt. “One, you never pay for anything and two, you’re not the one covered in boiling coffee.”
“That’s so not the point. I could have broken a leg.” Elroy looked around at everybody still watching them and gave them an airy wave. “I’m fine, folks. You can go back to what you were doing.”
January 31, 2015
Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve been here. So hello from me, Sue Brown. Waving to you from a disappointingly lack of snowy London, and very happily warm now my boiler is fixed.
Actually that’s not quite true about not being on the blog because I had a free read here a few days ago. Friends with Benefits – with Liam and Sam from the Isle series.
But I’m not here to talk about them. I’m here to talk Stolen Dreams which was re-released yesterday, and because I’ve got The Next Call coming out next week on the 4th I hope you don’t mind if I burble on about that later too.
Stolen Dreams is a re-release, and I was thrilled when Dreamspinner agreed to publish it. What do you think of the cover by Brooke Albrecht? I think it’s stunning to be honest. I love the blues and the focus of the main guy’s eyes – that’s Shae by the way – they just draw you in.
I’ve been looking over my covers recently and I have a lot of blues and browns. It seems to be the colours I naturally choose when I’m given my options.
I love that moment when you get the draft covers and there’s that ‘yes, this is my story’ moment. Sometimes it takes more than one draft and a bit of discussion with the artist before you get that moment. But sometimes the Eureka moment is instantaneous and it’s a fabulous moment.
I’ve been doing a lot of book tours lately, thanks to the amazing Sid Love and do pop over to one of the stops to take part in the Rafflecopter.
I’m also hosting a giveaway on this blog so you get two bites of the cherry. Anyone who answers one of my questions on any of today’s blogs gets entered into the giveaway for a copy of Stolen Dreams.
Question 1. What colour eyes does your partner/spouse have? Yes, you can go and check. If you don’t have another half what about yours? Please don’t tell me you have to look in the mirror for that. Mine are brown.
Okay, so the cherry has nothing to do with the story. I just like the picture.
Both Stolen Dreams and The Next Call deal with difficult issues and I’ll talk about them a little in other posts but today is really for fun. I hope you stay with me, join in the giveaway and have a great weekend. I’m also on Dreamspinner’s Facebook page later this evening (8-10pm GMT, 3-5pm EST)
Stolen Dreams excerpt:
THE OUTCOME had been inevitable. One minute after purchasing the skinny latte, extra hot, no froth, the lady in her professional heels and custom-made silk suit wore the drink all the way down the front of her sleek lavender outfit. The cause of the catastrophe? Morgan knew of only one person who treated every arrival like an event involving doors slamming against walls. He sighed as he looked down at the script, not wanting to see what followed the screeching.
“Look at me. Look at me!”
A mezzo-soprano would have admired the woman’s vocal range and volume. Her outraged rant overrode the clumsy attempts of her persecutor to apologize. They needed a harridan like this as an extra for the film. Somewhere in the script there was a woman having an argument in the background. Perhaps Morgan could drop this lady a business card and suggest she contact the casting agents. She would be one less problem for Xander Bannatyne, the temperamental director of his next film, to deal with.
The cause of all the fuss sounded increasingly desperate as the woman refused to be placated with offers of a fresh coffee and dry cleaning. Morgan wasn’t going to be able to ignore them for much longer. Wait for it….
“Morgan! I need help here, man!”
Pasting on a professional smile, Morgan got to his feet and made his way over to the commotion.
Elroy had done an impressive job, Morgan had to admit. A brown stain completely covered the front of the poor woman’s pale lavender suit, and there was a puddle of coffee under her feet. Morgan had no doubt her fifteen-hundred-dollar shoes were ruined. “Nice start to the day, Elroy,” Morgan said out of the corner of his mouth.
January 27, 2015
That about wraps it up for the blog party! Thank you again for joining me today in celebrating the release of Double Indemnity. Please come say hello tonight during the Twitter takeover from 8-9 p.m. EST! For a full list of guest posts from my blog tour, as well as reviews of the book and giveaways, visit my website.
Here’s a final taste of the book before I go. Enjoy!
SAM MADE good on his promise. He showed up the next night, and the next. Most of the time, Nathan swam and they didn’t talk. It became a strange routine, the peaceful evening turning into night with only the sounds of gently lapping water and crickets to break the stillness. Out here in the country, millions of stars appeared once the sun set, and Sam wondered why he’d never given much thought to their beauty before. There was probably something to be said for looking up once in a while, instead of straight ahead, but Sam didn’t feel inclined to delve more deeply into the thought.
After the first night at Nathan’s, Sam made sure to bring his trunks. He never swam as long as Nathan did, but he did laps and then lounged by the pool’s edge, feet dangling. They spoke very little, except for passing comments about the weather or sports. But on the fourth night, Nathan seemed different. He smiled when Sam arrived and continued his lazy backstroke. “I was wondering if you were coming.”
Sam nodded and went into the house to change. When he came back, Nathan was still idly circling the pool. Sam took a running leap, cannonballed into the cool water, and popped up only a couple of feet from Nathan.
“Quite an entrance.”
“Yeah, well, what can I say? I’m a drama queen.” And then, for no reason whatsoever, he splashed Nathan right in the face.
Nathan wiped the water from his eyes, which he then narrowed dangerously. “You splashed me.”
“Hell yeah, I did. And I’ll do it again.” So he did.
“Do you seriously want to play this game?”
Sam shivered, and not because of the coolness of the water, which had warmed considerably. Nathan’s predatory smile grew.
“You better swim fast.”
Sam dove to get a head start, but Nathan had the advantage. Before he knew it, Sam was trapped in Nathan’s strong arms and dragged toward the deep end of the pool. They wrestled, laughing, until Nathan finally got the better of Sam and dunked his head. Sam grabbed Nathan around the waist to pull him under as well, but the water made everything slippery. Their bodies slid together, and Sam suddenly realized he’d wrapped his leg around Nathan to get a firmer hold and had wound up in a very compromising position. His cock was hardening against Nathan’s thigh. Nathan exhaled against his cheek.
The struggle continued for a moment before Sam froze and, with a laugh to cover up his increasing embarrassment, pushed himself away. Nathan let him go without protest. Sam swam to the other end of the pool and then hoisted himself out, deciding to pretend nothing had happened.
You can also find me at any of the following links. I’m especially active on Twitter:
Double Indemnity can be purchased at Dreamspinner Press with this one-time use coupon code for 15% off today/tomorrow: (Kavanagh0127). If you use it combined with the 25% off sale today, you’ll receive 40% off your total purchase!
Again, thank you for taking the time to stop by. I enjoyed chatting with you and hope we can continue the conversation. -MK
January 27, 2015
I grew up on Nancy Drew and quickly graduated to Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie as a teenager, but it wasn’t until I was an adult reader that I really started to appreciate the crafting that goes into these complex stories. Tomorrow I’ll be talking at The Novel Approach about some of my favorite mystery novels, but in this post I thought I’d talk a little more about what draws me to write in this genre.
To put it simply, I write what I like to read. I prefer mysteries when I’ve connected some, but not all, of the dots by the ending. While I appreciate having my suspicions validated when it comes to whodunit, I really love those revelatory ‘ah-ha’ moments where you see something you overlooked or a piece suddenly falls into place. I also prefer mysteries where the protagonist is personally involved and invested with solving the crime, either because it affects him/her or someone he/she loves directly.
My favorite protagonists are unlikely detectives—this is one of the reasons I made Sam a wannabe reporter rather than an expert. Because he’s learning how to investigate, the reader is drawn along on his quest and experiences the unravelling of the mystery in real time along with Sam. I also prefer my protagonists flawed and complex rather than perfect, just like my villains (though it is fun to read the occasional evil mastermind).
In a romance/mystery, the two genres have to balance one another, but the romance needs to remain central throughout. For me, romance becomes even more tense and exciting when one of the leads is suspected of the crime(s).
What are the things you look for in a romance/mystery novel? Do you care equally about the plot and romance, or could you care less about the mystery so long as the romance is satisfying? This is a question I’ve thought a lot about, and I’m interested in hearing from you.
Anyone who replies to this post will be entered to win a free eBook copy of Double Indemnity! Please respond by 10 p.m. EST. I will contact the winner soon after the deadline.
January 27, 2015
I like to cast my characters early in the writing process to give me a touchstone for their appearances. Though models and actors are never exactly like the characters in my head, it’s fun! I also do this with my favorite romance novels, since so few novels capture the leads as I imagine them on the cover.
Let’s take a look at some pictorial inspiration for Sam and Nathan first.
With his slim, yet muscular build and dark complexion, Italian model Luca Calvani is a good fit for Nathan. Look at that profile! Swoon! His contemplative, brooding expression also suits Nathan well. Nathan doesn’t have a beard in the novel, but he does get scruffy at times.
Sam was a more difficult character to cast for me, mainly because since I was living in his head, he became almost like a real person. The guy on the cover of the novel is supposed to represent Sam and, aside from the incredible washboard abs, he comes pretty close. However, if I could have used a young Jensen Ackles, I would have.
Aside from the two main leads, this story has other important characters I feel it would be remiss of me not to introduce: Sam’s best friends, Yuri and Rachel.
Rachel was a no-brainer for me: Antonia Thomas from one of my favorite shows, BBC’s Misfits. LOVE HER. She’s Sam’s rock in a lot of ways. Honest and direct, she cares a lot about him but doesn’t let him push her around.
Yuri, Sam’s business partner and former lover, was nearly as difficult to cast as Sam. This guy comes close. His most defining features are the dimples and sweet disposition. Contrasted with Rachel, Yuri is more of a pushover where Sam is concerned.
Do you picture certain people (actors, models, whoever) when you’re reading/writing, or are the characters fuzzier in your mind? Do you like to have a detailed description of characters’ appearance when you read, or do you prefer embellishing characters with your own imagination? Also, when it comes to book covers, how important is the cover image for you in selecting a book to read?
Remember, there’s a 15% off coupon code for one-time use at the Dreamspinner site (Kavanagh0127) to purchase either of my books over the next two days. Combined with the current 25% off sale, that adds up to 40% off the list price. A good time to invest in a paperback, perhaps?
January 27, 2015
Now that you’ve got an idea of what Double Indemnity is about, I’ll tell you a little bit about my inspiration and the writing experience.
Do you ever see an interesting building or house and wonder about its history? In the previous excerpt from the novel, you saw Sam arrive at the Walkers’ property and muse about his clients’ life in the country.
Running is one of my favorite pastimes. I used to do a lot of country routes on windy, seldom-traveled roads when my husband and I lived in New England. About two years ago, I encountered a gorgeous converted farmhouse surrounded by an overgrown apple orchard. There was a For Sale sign on the edge of the property, and from the waist-high grass and weeds around it, it looked like it had been there for quite a while.
I found myself wondering about the house later in the day. Of course, there was probably an ordinary reason why it was on sale—maybe the family moved for a job, maybe they couldn’t afford the upkeep—but the property was so lonely and beautiful, my imagination got carried away. In my mind, there was a sinister reason no one wanted to buy the house. And so the seed of this novel was planted.
It germinated over the next year, and I went through several drafts until I finally had the story I wanted to tell. Because the plot was more intricate than anything I’d written before, I had to work out every detail to ensure there were no plot holes. I think I rewrote the outline at least ten times. I find it impossible to write with any noise, even music, and sharing a small one-bedroom apartment doesn’t afford much privacy. Keeping the mystery engaging while focusing on the romance was another tricky hurdle to overcome. Luckily I have several friends who kindly read this novel again and again until we were all happy with it. (There’s a special place in heaven for them.) In sum, it was the most intensive editing and writing process I’d experienced to date.
If you write, where do you find inspiration? As a reader, what do you find most inspiring in fiction? Which authors do you admire the most (m/m or otherwise)?
Remember, there’s a 15% off coupon code available for one-time use at the Dreamspinner site (Kavanagh0127) to purchase either of my books over the next two days. That means, combined with the sale today, you’ll get 40% total off the list price!
January 27, 2015
Hi, this is Maggie Kavanagh here to talk to you lovely folks about my new novel, Double Indemnity, which released yesterday. Thanks so much for joining me to celebrate (and don’t forget to refresh the blog for later posts).
First, business: I’ll be on the Dreamspinner blog today from 12-5 p.m. EST and then I’m heading over to Twitter for a takeover of the Dreamspinner account from 8-9 p.m. EST. You can find a full schedule of guest posts and giveaways on my website. Later today, I’ll be doing an eBook giveaway here, so keep checking back for that post! Dreamspinner has also graciously provided a one-time-use per customer coupon code for 15% off either of my books on the DSP site. Simply enter Kavanagh0127 at checkout. The code will be good for today and tomorrow. Now, because DSP already has a 25% off eBoooks sale going on today, that means you’ll get 40% off the total price! What a steal!
Now, let’s party! Double Indemnity is a murder-mystery/romance set in the fictional town of Stonebridge, Connecticut. The book is filled with sexual tension, danger, and plot twists, with occasional comic relief provided by my self-deprecating and sarcastic hero, Sam Flynn.
The story is told from a limited third person point of view, which means as a reader you’re very closely aligned with the Sam’s thoughts. Sam is a bit of a mess, but I loved writing him. He’s in his later twenties, working a landscaping job to stay afloat on hospital bills, as he’s the primary caretaker of his comatose brother, Tim. He drinks too much, has a lot of causal sex, and he also likes to stick his nose where it doesn’t belong. A born investigative reporter, Sam finds himself intrigued by a series of unexplained deaths in Stonebridge and soon finds himself on a dangerous journey to uncover the truth.
Nathan Walker, long an object of Sam’s fantasy from afar, is a more enigmatic character, since we only see him filtered through Sam’s perception. Eight years older than Sam, he’s a married, well-established professional with a seemingly perfect life. He’s also got some deeply buried secrets that readers will discover along with Sam.
Now, the most important part: the romance. I like to ratchet up the sexual tension between the main characters before they finally get together, mainly because I enjoy lots of UST as a reader. While an immediate romp in bed can be fun, I always find the emotional payoff greater after a good dose of tension. At the same time, it has to make sense in the context of the novel. I don’t like to delay sex just to prolong the inevitable—it has to fit with the characters and story. In this novel, there are a multitude of obstacles to any relationship between the two main characters, some which are more obvious than others. I love a hard won HEA or HFN, and that’s exactly what you’ll find in this novel.
Blurb: Sam Flynn dreamed of being a journalist until a car accident killed his parents and put his brother into a long-term coma. Now Sam spends his days as a landscaper toiling in the New England sun and his nights drunk in bed with the closest warm body. In his limited spare time, he writes about Stonebridge’s local crime and politics on his blog “Under the Bridge.”
Then Sam’s favorite client is found dead in her home—shortly after telling him someone has betrayed her trust. Sam can’t believe her grief-stricken husband Nathan would be a suspect, but the investigation hones in on him. Sam has always admired handsome Nathan from afar, but now he puts his libidinous feelings aside to help clear his name. However, the closer he gets to Nathan, the more he’s told to keep away from him and the investigation—by the fatherly police chief, by an officer on the case who’s hated him since school, and by Nathan himself.
Sam’s determined to expose the real reason his friend died and clear Nathan’s name—even if it’s the last thing he does. Which, considering how fast the death toll is increasing in Stonebridge… it might be.
Excerpt: The drive from downtown to the suburbs of West Stonebridge took around twenty minutes. Houses turned into estates and then grew fewer and farther apart, and eventually gave way to farmland and wilderness. The contrast never failed to make him a little sorry for Stonebridge, which, despite the pretty name, was a huge dump of a port city. Most of it, anyway. Out here the air got fresher, the colors brighter, the people richer.
Sam cranked up the A/C in his truck and stopped for a coffee to wash down a couple of aspirin to kill his hangover. His first stop was the Walkers’ place, an old converted farmhouse on acres of land, most of which was covered with trees. Sam had often wondered what it would be like to live with nothing but bears and bunnies for neighbors. It might get lonely, but at least the water temperature would always be just right. He parked his Ford flatbed on the gravel driveway and hopped out. Because the job was only a weekly mow and maintain, Sam hadn’t bothered to ask any of the other workers to join him. And Yuri had taken the day off, Sam remembered, so he wouldn’t see his partner until the next day. At least it would avoid another awkward morning after.
Emma Walker’s cruiser was still parked in the drive when he pulled in, and next to it, her husband Nathan’s sleek black Mercedes. Sam’s pulse quickened like it always did, but the butterflies in his stomach reached swarm proportions when he noticed Nathan getting out of the driver’s side.
With his black sunglasses and trendy suit, the cut of which showed off his powerful shoulders and trim waist, Nathan couldn’t have looked less rustic in front of his country home. His dark hair gleamed in the morning sun.
He had a few inches on Sam, and Sam had often admired his swimmer’s build on the occasions Nathan was home while Sam worked the yard. The guy could do laps for hours as Sam mowed and raked and tried not to marvel at the way he cut through the water like a hot knife through butter. An attractive man, but a very heterosexual, very married, man, Sam reminded himself as he returned Nathan’s wave. He pulled something out of his trunk—a suitcase—and vanished into the house. Sam often wondered where Nathan disappeared to on all of those long trips. He could have been a government agent or some kind of contractor. Even a hit man.
I’d love to hear from you now! What sort of narration do you prefer in reading a M/M romance (first person, third person limited, omniscient, etc.)? Does it depend on the writer or story? As far as sexual tension, do you like gradual buildup or does it again depend on context?