May 25, 2016
My name is Asta Idonea and this is my first time on the Dreamspinner Press blog, so let me commence with a brief introduction for those who’ve not yet “met” me.
I’m an English-born writer who now lives in Australia. I started writing professionally in 2011 under my mainstream pen name Nicki J. Markus, and in 2014, I branched out into MM, using the alternate pen name Asta Idonea. I work as a freelance editor, and when I’m not busy with that or my own writing, I love going to the theatre and cinema, playing and listening to music, sketching, learning foreign languages, writing to my many pen pals, researching history, mythology, and folklore, and (of course) reading.
Today, I am here to promote Fire Up My Heart, my first standalone release from Dreamspinner Press. This sci-fi novella focuses on a young man named Fane who finds an abandoned service Bot and takes it home. But there’s something unusual about Jo-E, and when Fane finds himself increasingly drawn to the Bot, he must make a difficult decision.
Like many of my story ideas, this one came to me at night. My mind often wanders while I’m waiting to fall asleep, and this story was born from a thought I had during that time. I’d watched some robot-based sci-fi a few days prior, and Fire Up My Heart developed into my personal spin on the theme.
Although I’m not a huge sci-fi reader when it comes to alien worlds and starships, I do enjoy speculative fiction that questions future technology. With new gadgets and gizmos invented every year, I love to consider what else the future will hold and how it will impact our everyday lives. Already technology invades so many things we do, and humanoid robots are certainly on the horizon. When that day comes, I wonder at the ways in which we’ll employ them and the different types of human–robot relationships that might be possible, and that is one of the principal themes in Fire Up My Heart.
Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a busy year for me writing-wise with seven new releases already out, two more coming in June, and a number of additional works currently under consideration. Right now, I am working on several projects: three MM short stories for anthology calls closing soon, two MM novellas (one contemporary and one paranormal), a paranormal MF novella, and a Steampunk MF short novel. I often do have a selection of manuscripts in progress at the same time. It suits me to work that way since, if I find I am not in the right mood to continue with one, I can switch to another for the day. Once the first draft is complete, it also means I can set it aside while I work on something else and then return to it with fresh eyes, ready to edit and redraft. So far, I am lucky in that I never run out of story ideas—only time in which to write them. I guess I need a new form of technology to help me draft and edit double-time!
On that note, I’d like to open the floor to comments. If you could have a robot capable of performing any task for you, which task would you choose and why? Let’s try to keep it clean, guys; otherwise, do give your imaginations a workout and be inventive. I will randomly select one commenter to win a copy of my previous Dreamspinner Press release, the contemporary MM short story Northern Lights.
If anyone has any questions for me, please comment below. I’ll be checking this post during the next few days and will do my best to answer them all. Readers and fellow authors are also always welcome to connect with me on social media.
Check out Fire Up My Heart today!
London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.
Chat with Asta Idonea!
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
May 24, 2016
Hi, I’m C.M. Lievens, author of A Good Enough Reason.
I started writing when I was a kid. I still remember a story about a ghost and two twins I wrote when I was about eight as a gift for my grandmother. I don’t remember how it ended, but it sounds interesting. I just might add something similar to my ever-growing to-write list.
After my first steps as an author, I stopped writing. I found other things to focus on. I’ve always been very art-oriented. I paint, I draw, I make jewelry. You name it, and I’ve probably tried it, but nothing held my attention for long.
I came back to writing a few years ago. I graduated from college when my son was one, and since sending him to daycare would have cost me more than I’d earned by finding a job, I stayed home with him. I used the time to read, but there’s only so much you can read before even that becomes boring. Shocking, I know.
Then I started to think that I could do that too. I could write. It would be hard, because English is only my third language, but it would be something that would break the routine.
The first book I wrote was a mess. I reread it recently, and I wanted to strangle the main character. At the time, though, I thought it was good, even though no one seemed to want to publish it.
Once it was done, I started another one. I’d just started reading gay romance, and I decided to dip my foot into that for a series of reasons that would require a blog post of their own, so I’ll skip them.
That’s how my first published book was born. I kept it short, because writing an entire novel in English scared me, and I sent it to the publisher thinking I’d never hear from them. I didn’t stop writing, though. I’d planned that book to be the first book in a series, so I started writing the next book. By the time it was published, I’d written six novellas.
I wrote only about shifters for close to two years, but I felt it was time to step out of my comfort zone, to try something new. That’s how A Good Enough Reason was born.
A Good Enough Reason is my first full-length novel, and my first book without any kind of shifters. I hope people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
What about you? Do you have a passion you discovered later in life?
“Eeelliiis. Do you have a crush on Mr. Shea?”
Luckily for Ellis the table they sat at was mostly empty, but Anna’s voice was loud. From a few tables away, Dale Stephens looked up from his tray and over at them, a question in his eyes when he saw Ellis watching him.
Ellis shook his head and looked down again. “Anna, please. Do you really need to give people even more reasons to make fun of me?”
Anna offered an appropriate repenting expression, but Ellis wasn’t fooled. He knew that now she’d discovered a juicy bit of gossip, she’d pounce on him like a lioness on raw meat once they were away from prying ears.
“Are you done writing?”
“Of course.” She wrote the last word with a flourish and gave Ellis a triumphant smile. “All done. Now we can have fun.”
“After school, you mean?”
“Nope. I mean we can gossip.”
Ellis groaned. “You know, my being gay doesn’t mean I like to gossip or go shopping. Sometimes you seem to think I’m one of your girlfriends or something.”
Anna patted Ellis’s hand. “I’d never take you shopping. You have the most awful taste I’ve ever seen.”
Ellis looked down at his Platform 9 3/4 red T-shirt. “What’s wrong with my clothes?”
“Honestly? I think you’re the only one in this school who actually gets the meaning of your T-shirt.”
“You do too.”
“I was coerced into learning about it.”
“Oh, please. It’s not like I tied you to the couch.”
“You said you wouldn’t help me with my English homework if I didn’t watch the movies! All eight of them!”
“Hey, I did you a favor. They’re classics!”
“Yes. It’d be sad if no one here got the T-shirt.” Ellis shook his head. It was better than talking about hypothetical crushes on teachers, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to make Anna see the flaw in her ideas. It wasn’t the first time he’d tried—and failed.
“They’re just books, Ellis.”
Ellis snatched his hand back. “Take that back!”
“Ellis,” Anna said with a laugh.
“Anna! It’s like me telling you statistics is boring!”
“You do, at least once a day, five times a week.”
“Let’s agree to disagree on this one, okay? I don’t expect you to start liking statistics, and you stop trying to educate me in geek stuff.”
“I get the shirt.”
Ellis turned to the side to see who was talking and froze. Anna fluttered her eyelashes at Dale. “Really?”
“Yeah. Awesome books.”
“I can’t believe all the hot ones are geeks,” Anna said with a groan.
Ellis cringed, waiting for Dale to tell her off, but he only chuckled. “You think I’m hot?”
Anna gave Dale a shocked glance. “You think I’m blind? Are you fishing for compliments?”
Dale pressed his hand over his heart. “I would never.”
Check out A Good Enough Reason today!
High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.
Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.
As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.
But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?
C.M. Lievens is a penname Catherine Lievens uses when she writes stories with little to no sex, and more specifically, Young Adult ones.
She lives in Italy with her husband, three cats, and her son, who luckily isn’t going to be a young adult for many years to come, because Catherine is not prepared for that just yet. She loves to write about different people and situations, hence the need for a penname.
When she’s not putting pen to paper to plot her next story, writing while avoiding her kid’s questions (he’s way too curious for his own good), or talking to her cats, she can be found hiding in the bathroom, because that’s the only place where she can read in peace.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CM-Lievens-1659898224299254/
May 23, 2016
Today my book Becoming Rafe was released. If you aren’t familiar with the Men of Falcon Pointe, the series is about a fictitious town in northern Washington State. A town where gay men who have been rejected elsewhere find home.
The first two books of the series were based in the home of Dr. Cory Venerin. The first introduced Cory and his roommates and the man he fell in love with, Trent Farnsworth. It saw the two of them through Trent’s issues with his family and church and through their HEA. The second involved a new roommate and David, one of the secondary characters from the first book. In Becoming Rafe, you will see Cory, Trent, David, Bastien, and Alan again, but you will also meet a brand new host of characters who will hopefully capture your heart like they have captured mine.
While the story centers around Rafe and Levlin, there are also many secondary characters that come to life. It’s interesting as an author just how much you can fall for a secondary character. The leads? Yes, it’s easy to fall for them. But for a secondary character to leap out so much that you know you’ll be using that character in plenty of books to come is always big. At least for me. And in a series like Men of Falcon Pointe, it’s perfect, because all the major characters and some of the secondary ones do pop up in each of the books.
In Becoming Rafe, Rafe’s two best friends, Finnean (Finn) Sneller and Santiago (Santi) Santos, became an integral part of the story right off. It’s kind of funny. When I started writing the book, my original plan was to have Rafe and Finn get together. But as always happens, my muse knows better. The moment Santi appeared in the story, I knew he and Finn were meant for one another. Figuring out which of the men would be Rafe’s partner took only a little more writing.
How do Rafe and Levlin meet? Take one gay club, add in a leech who tries to take Rafe into a back room, and add a large muscled man who defends him and you get….
Eighteen-year-old Nephi Norton goes to Falcon Pointe University to find himself. Away from his conservative family, he hopes to discover if his attraction to men is the real deal. Encouraged to be someone a little different, he starts using his middle name. “Rafe” quickly makes friends, some of whom use a paddle to dispense caring discipline, and he lives it up—until midterms hit and he realizes he’s flunking statistics class.
When Scotland native Éigneachán Jackson Levlin offers to help, Rafe is eager to accept—not only because Levlin is a psychologist, but also because he’s out and proud and hot as hell.
As their relationship heats up, Rafe decides to spend one last Christmas with his family before he tells them. When his little sister outs him to his siblings, they turn out to be fully supportive, and he takes heart—until he introduces Levlin to his father, who brutally dismisses both of them. Now Rafe must come to peace with his father’s rejection or risk losing Levlin—and all he has become at Falcon Pointe—forever.
Barnes & Noble
Dreamspinner Press eBook
Dreamspinner Press Paperback
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?
She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.
Find her at her:
Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ThiannaDurstonAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ThiannaDurston
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ThiannaDurston
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536433.Thianna_Durston
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/thiannad/
May 18, 2016
I’m S.A. Ozment and I want to introduce my new novella that will be released by DSP on May 18th. It tells the story of a young guy, “Ashley Stevens”, who is an ER nurse by day and a fan boy by night. However, the only object of his affection is the smokin’ hot and extremely talented “Sebastian Gray”. One night while Ashley is online, Sebastian reaches out to Ashley and thanks him for a job well done. Ashley is in full blown “OMG, I’m talking to Sebastian Gray” and “I’ve drank an entire bottle of wine” mode and fumbles his way through the conversation. Things are going great until Sebastian makes it clear that he believes he is speaking to a “girl” named Ashley. After a minute of contemplating, Ashley decides to let Sebastian think what he wants as long as the conversation continues. A few months later the conversation is still continuing and Ashley still has not told Sebastian the truth out of fear of losing what he has gained with his long time idol, who is now his friend.
As a thank you, Sebastian surprises Ashley with a free airline ticket to NYC to attend a fan gathering and then they can enjoy the city together. Ashley tries to get out of the meeting but Sebastian is not taking no for an answer. Ashley gives in and says yes, knowing that he will have to come clean. I won’t say how the meeting goes but let’s just say Ashley is not the only one keeping secrets.
I originally wrote this story as a submission for the “Star Struck” Anthology. However, to tell the story, it was over the amount of words needed. Therefore, I submitted to DSP as a novella. The story idea came to me while watching the television show “Catfish”. I thought about how I could have two characters innocently catfish each other and still have a happy ending. I didn’t want a mean spirited catfish story, just a sweet story where the two men didn’t set out to catfish each other, it just kind of happens. With those thoughts in mind, “Tangled Web” was born.
Have you ever been infatuated with a celebrity and finally had the opportunity to meet them? Is there a celebrity that you would love to be real friends with? Leave a comment below and tell me your story. I will pick one winner (in 3 days) and will send you a copy of my first book, “Illusions” by PDF format.
Hope to hear from you all!
Check out Tangled Web today!
By day Ashley Stevens is a dedicated nurse; by night he runs multiple social media sites for his crush and all-time favorite actor, Sebastian Gray. After a particularly grueling day at work, Ashley drinks away his misery while dreaming about being with Sebastian—only to realize it’s no dream when Sebastian actually contacts him.
Sebastian asks him to officially run his sites and Ashley is thrilled—right up until Sebastian makes it clear that he thinks Ashley is a girl. And maybe it’s the wine, or maybe it’s a fear that if Sebastian knew the truth, he wouldn’t want him, but Ashley never sets him straight. But keeping the secret becomes a nightmare as Ashley and Sebastian talk online night after night, forging a true connection. And the longer Ashley waits to tell the truth, the more tangled the lies become.
A plane ticket from Sebastian along with an invitation to meet in New York City for a fan event brings it all to a head. Ashley must face Sebastian and tell all, but he might not be the only one keeping secrets.
May 16, 2016
Hi, my name is Max. I’ve always loved stories about polyamory. A great big extended family formed by passion and friendship and choice—that’s as close to heaven as it gets for me. There are so many reasons to find yourself folded in, and so many stories to be told about the uniqueness of the relationships.
That’s what made me want to write Five-Sided Heart. Even when it fought me—and it fought like a whole pack of wildcats sometimes—that passion kept me going. It keeps Noah, Ian, Joshua, Ty and Gabriel going too. Each of them has been through a rough patch in recent years. Noah, kicked out of his home. Ian, wrestling with the emotional scars left by an abusive ex. Gabriel, struggling to come to terms with physical scars. Ty, who carries the weight of the world on his too-willing shoulders and doesn’t know how to ask for help. Joshua, who’s been behind bars. They’re an unlikely group and they know it, yet they keep getting pulled back in as inexorably as the tide. In each other they start to find the strength they need to carry on, the healing they had to accept to survive, and the affection their lonely souls were starving for.
I laughed with them, and I cried with them. I cursed them and I cheered for them. In the end, I felt like I’d run a marathon, and I would do it again tomorrow. My dream is that their story touches those who read it, even in some small way, and that you enjoy reading it.
And I’m curious. What’s your favorite kind of relationship in fiction or in the real world? They’re all valid, no wrong answers, but I love to hear love stories as much as I love to write them. Leave a comment below and tell me what makes you happiest.
Five-Sided Heart Blurb
Noah Trevelyan has lost his moorings. Disowned over his sexuality as a teenager, he hasn’t been back to his home on the Outer Banks since his fisherman father kicked him out. But when he returns for the Old Man’s funeral, he discovers his father left him the house and boat in his will. Noah must choose whether to stay or go, but he won’t be alone.
There’s Ian, working to overcome the emotional scars left by a domineering ex-boyfriend, and Ty, a cheerful housekeeper who’s struggling to take care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken aunt. There’s Joshua too, running from the destruction of his old life, and Gabriel, who was once beaten and left for dead, and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.
Will they find in each other the strength and courage to keep living—and learn, together, how to love again? A polyamorous relationship is the last thing any of them expected to find in the Outer Banks, but it might be what they need most, and it might even be their redemption—if they can keep their group from breaking apart under the pressure.
Check out Five-Sided Heart today!
About the Author
Max MacGowan is a work in progress. They’ve just turned forty, and are determined not to go gently into that good night. They identify as nonbinary genderqueer, and prefer they/them pronouns. While they can be quiet, friends will tell you all that still water can’t quite hide Max’s quirky personality, Or maybe it’s the ever-present puckish twinkle in the eyes that’s really to blame.
Max has a fantastic time writing male/male romance, and is especially fond of polyamory, found families, love in unexpected places, friends who become lovers, and romantic comedies. They’re owned by two rowdy tomcats who take pains to make sure their owner doesn’t ever get the status confused.
You can find Max on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/people/Max-MacGowan/100009993105655 or send them an e-mail at “email@example.com”. They’d love to hear from you!
May 12, 2016
Welcome to the Dreamers’ Destiny Blog Tour. I want to begin with special thanks to Dreamspinner Press Blog for welcoming me today. I hope you’ll follow the entire tour. There are plenty of chances to win a signed paperback copy from my backlist, $25 at Dreamspinner Press, an audiobook of either Designs of Desire or Caged Sanctuary, and more!
Each tour stop will feature an excerpt along with some question that relates to the post. Check the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to enter your answer to the question. A few stops will have special (additional) giveaways as well, so make sure you check out the whole post!
Today stop is actually the third along out tour (click HERE to find the full tour listing). Now, let’s see what our guys are up to today….
People don’t just materialize into reality simply because you want them to so desperately that waking up breaks your heart.
This isn’t only the tagline for Dreamers’ Destiny, but it pretty much sums up the whole of Liam’s reality at the start of the story. As you can see from the blurb (so nope, it’s not a spoiler, lol), each man believes the other to be just a dream construct. A dream lover and nothing more. HA! Silly boys!
How would you go about dealing with having a dream lover that it’s not the EDJ (evil day job) that makes you want to do vile and probably illegal things to your alarm clock over, but the fact that your lover will poof into wherever he goes when you wake. Oh, and you never know if he’ll be there again that night or if it might not be m o n t h s before you “see” him again.
Liam is about at his wits end with this—especially given how long he’s had/not had Cameron. But when he thinks he sees Cam in the waking world, how can he reconcile that? How would you? How would you deal with someone you knew only existed in your dreams walking right past you, or up to you? I’m not so sure I’d take that too well, LOL.
Cam doesn’t do so well either, as you can see below….
Liam walked beside Cam, noting every nuance of the man he’d been with most of his life, even if they’d never met while awake before. He was entranced with how Cam moved. He thought of the way Cam had spoken using his hands to emphasize and punctuate his voice when they were inside the tattoo shop, and even the little sidestep to separate them didn’t surprise or bother Liam any. Liam had expected it, truthfully, but he’d needed to feel Cam, to know he wasn’t imagining all this, either—that fleeting touch in the tattoo shop hadn’t been nearly enough.
Working with Nosha the last couple of weeks had been interesting, and he’d started to believe Cam might be real. However, seeing and touching Cam was very different from trying to willfully take control of his dreams or debating Cameron’s possible existence. And touching him? Liam suppressed a shiver as he opened the door for Cam to enter the little coffee shop.
“Thanks,” Cam murmured. “You always do things like this in the dreams too,” he added so softly Liam almost missed it.
Liam smiled, hoping Cam could adjust to this new knowledge and glad he’d noticed how Liam acted both in their dreams and now.
Thankfully, it wasn’t busy right then, so they got their coffees and were seated at the farthest table from the other patrons in a few minutes. Liam waited, watching Cam as he fidgeted with his cup, steadfastly refusing to meet Liam’s eyes.
Liam cleared his throat and asked, “Will you look at me, please?”
Cam raised his head slowly before finally meeting his gaze. “I don’t understand how you’re here. You’re supposed to only exist in my head. Well, in my dreams, anyway.”
Liam chuckled, thinking of how he’d made the same argument with Di and Nosha not that long ago about his seeing Cam at the club. “I’m still not entirely certain how all this works, but I’m quite real. As are you, it seems.”
The silver eyes before him flashed a moment before Cam snorted softly, then smiled, almost. “Why don’t you seem more, I don’t know, upset? I mean, this should be just as much of a shock for you as it is for me. Or do you go around invading people’s dreams and doing all those things with others you do with me all the time?”
He blinked hard as he thought about what to say and which questions to even answer.
by Tempeste O’Riley
M/M Erotic Contemporary, Occult/Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: May 13, 2016 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 200 pages
Add to: Goodreads
Liam Grady is the owner of the Feathered Quill, a quirky little bookstore in Asheville, and—though he doesn’t realize it yet—a dream walker. His last relationship failed almost a year ago, and he’s not had the interest or nerve to pursue anyone he’s met since.
Cameron Danu is a tattoo artist from rural Georgia. Cameron is left without a job after his boss, Jose, is forced to close the shop after a heart attack. When Cameron learns Jose has set up an interview for him at a small tattoo parlor in Asheville, he hopes for a fresh start in a new town.
Fate brings Cameron and Liam together, and they realize they’ve met before—in their dreams. A chance encounter and a winged tattoo might lead them to their destiny—if fear doesn’t turn their dreams into a nightmare.
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!
Other Works by Author:
Designs of Desire – Simple Desires*+ – Bound by Desire* – Desires’ Guardian –
Temptations of Desire – Truth in Lace* – Desires’ Pride* – Signs of Desire
Micah’s Medicine+ – Caged Sanctuary – Whiskers of a Chance
*shorts in series +shorts in anthologies
(click HERE to find the full tour listing)
About the Author:
Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.
Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing, and enjoying life—especially now that they have joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® (as Novice Sister Eroti-Quill… can’t imagine where that name came from).
Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visit http://tempesteoriley.com.
May 11, 2016
I can’t tell you what a thrill it is to be a part of the Dreamspinner team. My name is Jake Wells and my second novel, “Sometimes Love Lasts” is slated to hit the shelves on May 13th.
I’m over the moon excited about its upcoming release but I have to let you all in on a little secret. I’m kind of a fraud. Well, maybe not a complete fraud. I really am doctor; I’m just not really an author. The sad truth is that while I may know a fair bit about medicine, I really don’t know anything about writing. You may then be asking yourselves how it is that I’ve ended up getting two books published. I guess it’s because though I’m not an author, I am a storyteller. Let me clarify. I don’t actually spend a lot of time telling stories; they’re just forever running around in my head. When I’m exercising for example, and am trying desperately to divert my attention away from the seconds ticking by on the Stairmaster’s clock, I distract myself by imagining a story.
That’s exactly how “Sometimes Love Lasts” came into existence. I had spent the evening before at a fundraiser for the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s homeless youth project. Good times were certainly enjoyed by all and the festivities were bolstered by an amazing selection of delicious food and liquor. Regrettably, I consumed way too many crab cakes and, to add insult to injury, washed them down with berry mojitos. Because my hangover chastised me for most of the next morning, by late afternoon I felt obligated to compensate for my indulgence by committing to a grueling workout.
With my noise cancelling headphones secured over my ears, I keyed in a challenging level of difficulty into the control panel on the Stairmaster and promised myself that I wouldn’t even consider dismounting until I had surpassed the machines four mile mark. Three minutes into it I found myself wanting to die. It took all my fortitude to try to steady my breathing, to concentrate on the music and to let my mind go blank. Forget that my oxygen starved lungs were burning a hole through my chest and that my legs were screaming in agony. I had to complete my goal.
Slowly, as the endorphins kicked in and I was at least partially able to start ignoring the pain, my thoughts drifted back to some of the speeches that had been given at the previous night’s fundraiser. My exercise induced euphoria gave way to me beginning to consider the problem of homeless gay youth.
Homelessness was kind of a foreign concept to me. Certainly, I had spent some of my youth struggling with coming to terms with my sexuality but my childhood had been mostly idyllic. My parents loved me. Even though I had grown up in a small community where homosexuality was considered an abomination, I never imagined for a second my parents would disown me were they to suspect I was gay. The possibility of being kicked out into the streets was unfathomable.
But, what if I hadn’t been so lucky? What if my parents had been bigoted homophobes and I had found myself tossed out like yesterday’s garage. How would my life have been different? How would I have survived? What would have become of me?
The next thirty minutes on the Stairmaster passed in the blink of an eye and somewhere in the process Rone’s whole life story became trapped in my head. Now, it was just a matter of spending the next several months putting it to paper.
Borrowing from my book’s blurb:
For Rone Forrester, life as a high school student is a roller coaster ride. Though he’s intelligent, good-looking, and athletic, true happiness eludes him. He’s lost his mother to cancer, his hypercritical father is a tyrant, and he spends most of his free time taking care of his little brother, Eli. And to make matters worse, Rone begins to have romantic feelings for his best friend, Carson Harrington.
When Rone is inadvertently outed, his life swirls into turmoil. His father’s homophobia and Rone’s embarrassment at the thought of facing Carson force him to flee to Los Angeles, where he hopes to find a safe haven. Instead, he quickly learns that every moment is dangerous for a homeless teenager. As time passes, Rone navigates through multiple challenges, makes friends who love him for who he is, works hard to achieve his goal of becoming a pediatric surgeon—with all its inherent triumphs and tragedies—and overcomes a failed relationship. Ultimately, his journey teaches him that in order to fulfill his dreams, he has to come to terms with his past.
At the risk of sounding like an overly enthusiastic teen, it would be “awesome” if you would consider reading “Sometimes Love Lasts”. If you need additional incentive, let me take this opportunity to share with you the fact that all the royalties from my book’s sales will be donated to the Homeless Youth Project at the Los Angeles LGBT Center. I feel like I have led a very privileged life and being able to make this donation gives me a chance to play some of my good fortune forward.
Perhaps you would consider joining me in this endeavor.
Far too often, school and home are two of the most dangerous places for our LGBT youth. They are twice as likely to be physically attacked, kicked, or shoved at school; 28 percent of LGBT youth drop out of school because of harassment. After coming out or being discovered, many of our LGBT youth are mistreated or thrown out of their homes. Tragically, fleeing the trauma suffered at the hands of classmates and parents means choosing an even more dangerous option for survival: life on the streets. A staggering 40 percent of the 6,000 homeless youth (ages 24 and younger) on the streets of Los Angeles every night identify as LGBT.
No other organization offers a wider range of programs and services to help LGBT youth build lives that are healthy, equal, and complete. The Los Angeles LGBT Center is an entry point for youth making the transition from the streets to independent living. Its school and community outreach programs help create safe and affirming spaces for young people to thrive.
The Los Angeles LGBT Youth Center on Highland—open seven days a week—offers a place to stay for a night or up to 30 nights, three meals/day, clothing and support groups. Youth can also access a charter high school; GED and college prep program; and an employment preparation, training and placement program. The Center exists to provide whatever support youth need to get off the streets.
In addition, the Center offers medical care, counseling, a 24-bed Transitional Living Program (TLP) where youth can stay for up to 18 months, and affordable apartments for the youth who graduate from TLP. More than 90% of youth exiting the TLP have secured stable housing, and employment and/or scholarships to post-secondary institutions that enable them to live independently. It also offers all LGBT youth (ages 24 and younger) the help they need to achieve their full potential through the Center’s LifeWorks program, which provides one-on-one mentoring; a charter high school for LGBT youth who don’t feel safe or comfortable in traditional schools; college and trade school scholarships, workshops, social activities; and the world’s largest free conference for LGBT young people (Models of Pride).
Thousands of LGBT youth in Los Angeles are in desperate need of our help. They are young, disenfranchised, frightened and without resources. The Los Angeles LGBT Center is doing important and vital work on behalf of these youth but their programs depend on the generosity of donors to exist. If you would like to join me in supporting Youth Services at the Los Angeles LGBT Center, please consider making a tax deductible donation directly to them. This can be easily done by going to the Los Angeles LGBT Center’s website. The Center has created a link associated with my name to ensure your donation is specifically directed to Youth Services.
Thank you for your consideration. Your generosity helps to save lives.
In the interest of concluding this article in the same “appreciating our good fortune” theme, let me propose a contest. In the comment section, post a practical “play it forward” idea. Suggest something each of us could do to make someone else’s life a little better? A gesture. A donation. A simple act of kindness. Something that would inspire each of us to say, “I could easily do that and the people affected would be made to feel happier!” Best suggestion wins a copy of my first book, “A White Coat Is My Closet”
Best wishes to all of you!
Check out Sometimes Love Lasts today!
About Jake Wells:
Jake Wells was born a dreamer. He dreamed of distant lands, of trying to make a difference in people’s lives, of falling in love, of writing a book, and of all things chocolate. Imagine how fortunate he feels to have seen most of his dreams come true. He’s adventured through the far corners of the world, has a successful career practicing medicine, and shares his life with an amazing partner. Though eating chocolate continues to play a prominent role in his dreams, the icing on the cake has been writing about falling in love in a world where equality is only beginning to be embraced.
When he’s not playing doctor, Jake can usually be found traipsing local hiking trails with his dogs near his West Coast home, in the kitchen trying to replicate some sumptuous dish he saw on one of the cooking channels, or sipping a glass of fine red wine with his friends.
May 10, 2016
Hi! I’m Aishlar Snow, author of I Experimented Once in College, and I’m excited to be sharing my first published work with you. I’d like to thank Dreamspinner Press for the opportunity to share.
My inspiration for the book came during a bout of nostalgia for my college days. I had a pretty rocky college experience where I faced down a number of serious situations, but I still look back on it and remember how I met my fiance – and my best friend – there. My main character, William, faces similarly daunting challenges during the semester, and he also ends up finding love and friendship along the way.
While I was writing, one of the things I enjoyed most was painting a picture of a magical university with all the same quirks and routines of a modern one. The freshmen are fresh-faced and often lost, those about to graduate don’t have their books half the time, and throughout the crazy rollercoaster semester the RA plays mediator to such a variety of student concerns you can only find in a soap opera. It’s a confusing place, college, no matter what year you’re in. Maybe your friend is still undecided in his third year, you’re sitting on boxes because none of your roommates remembered to buy chairs, and you can never figure why that one campus building is out in the middle of nowhere. There is a universal quality to college, ineffable, no matter if it’s planted in the real world or fantasy.
Even the music I listened to while writing had ties to my college days, although not in the way you might expect. When I started college in 2009 I listened to a lot of older classics because they were comforting and energetic. My working title for the book was actually “Do You Believe in Magic?” from the 1965 song by The Lovin’ Spoonful. My playlist also included “Magic” by Pilot (1974), “Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club (1985), and “Sweet Dreams” by Eurythmics (1983) among others. These familiar songs brought me back to memories of college as well as setting the stage – with lyrics I could relate to the story – for a few of my favorite scenes.
Weirdly, I threw a handful of 2000′s club mixes into the playlist at one point while writing a scene that never made it into the book. When I was a freshman, my friends dragged me to my first club, and that experience was so profound that I knew I had to write William reluctantly stuck in a magical nightclub. For me, that first glimpse into the world of nightlife and dancefloors and shady under-the-stairwell hookups was as shocking as it was fascinating. Writing William, a reserved and tightly buttoned-up PhD student, in a club setting where he was forced to unwind required club mixes that were pretty jarring after the 80′s hits. In the end, I had a better version of the scene with the setting changed to a professor’s office, but maybe the next book can incorporate a magical nightclub?
I’ve asked my fiance what it was like living with me while I wrote I Experimented Once in College over the course of a month, and his contribution was, “You were kind of a brat.” When asked to elaborate, he shrugged, but then he started laughing at the look on my face, so I think we’re good.
In reality, writing a book in a month, while doable, can be a real whirlwind. I was working at a public library at the time, and I had just finished my Masters in Library Science. Much like William, I was overqualified for my clerical position and growing increasingly frustrated at the lack of high-level positions. I used that frustration to illustrate William’s situation at Efeldon University, especially at the beginning of the book. William knows his worth, and he isn’t afraid to say when he’s being underutilized. It is that frustration in part that contributes to his antagonistic relationship to Taliesin, someone who should be a mentor figure but is more often an additional source of irritation for him. During the month when I wrote I Experimented Once in College, I led a very busy, work-filled life; I wouldn’t recommend it every month, but it was a blast!
Readers, do you have certain songs that remind you of high school or college? Were they popular songs at the time, or were they favorites from another decade? You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org, @Aishlar, and aishlarsnow.blogspot.com, or by commenting on this post. I would love to hear what’s on your mind!
Check out I Experimented Once in College today!
PhD candidate William Yderis comes to Efeldon University to teach and finish his degree in charmcrafting. For methodical, sedate, and scholarly William, the school defies his expectations—and not in a good way. The biggest surprise comes when William meets his boss, absent-minded Archmage Taliesin Karsus, a man as infuriating as he is sexy.
As William struggles to carve out his place at the university, he is drawn in to Tal’s chaotic experiments… and drawn to Tal despite his logical mind’s protests. And if Tal’s wavering affection isn’t enough to complicate William’s studies, he uncovers a plot involving an ambitious staff member, brainwashed students, sexual assault, and a threat to the lives of everyone on campus. When it comes time to face the danger, William is on his own. For the first time in his life, he’ll have to trust in his heart instead of his head.
May 9, 2016
Welcome to the What About Now book cruise (tour)! Thanks to Dreamspinner Press Blog for welcoming me today. I hope you’ll follow the entire tour. Lots of chances to win a signed paperback copy of What About Now, $10 at Dreamspinner Press or an audiobook copy of Choices!
Each cruise (tour) stop will feature an excerpt from the story related to where the characters were for that day. Check the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to enter your answer to the question related to the excerpt for the chance to win a backlist ebook for each stop.
Today stop is the second on our cruise and sees our couple in Honolulu, HI. Let’s see what the boys got up to…
“So… tell me about this mobile division. What do we make? What platforms?” He made sure to use the “we” deliberately to gauge Rafe’s reaction. He got what he’d been hoping for. Surprise, pleasure, a smile.
“Mostly Android right now. We have a couple of iOS titles, but very few. They’re a pain to develop for.”
Braden nodded. “Oh yeah.” He made a face that got Rafe to chuckle.
“We’ve got one MMO so far and a lot of the little casual games.”
“Huh. I’ll have to look at it.” Braden looked up again. “See if it’s good enough to have our name on it.”
Rafe raised an eyebrow and smirked. “Do let me know.”
The waitress returned then with their food.
As they started eating, Rafe glanced up. “Have you done any developing for mobile yet?”
With their plates clean, Braden studied Rafe’s face again, but it didn’t look much better. “I think maybe you should go back to the ship.”
Rafe frowned, then sighed as he signed the slip for the restaurant. Braden had tried to take it, but Rafe had beat him to it. He didn’t answer until they were back out on the beach. “Let’s walk up the beach for a bit and see. If I’m not better by the time we get up to the Hilton resort, I’ll go back.”
Braden pursed his lips but nodded. “Deal. What’s up there?” he asked as they turned right and wandered along the sand.
“In the book I’m reading, the main character is from here originally.”
Rafe nodded. “Yeah. And the resort up there is where they get married in the end.”
“Okay, that’s cool.”
“I thought so. Be kind of cool to see it in person. Google Maps only goes so far.”
Braden chuckled. “No doubt.”
They walked in silence, pausing now and again to take pictures of the water or the hotels, or to dodge other tourists. “I thought it would be farther,” Rafe said as they stopped at the end of the beach, next to the hotel, looking out over the water. “The beach isn’t as long as it looks on the map.”
“Google Maps lies,” Braden said, chuckling. “Is it like in the book?”
Rafe nodded. “More or less. She didn’t exactly describe it in excruciating detail. She’s not Tolkien.”
Braden laughed. “That’s good.” He looked Rafe over again, noting he didn’t look any better than when they’d left. “How are you feeling?”
Rafe frowned, rubbing at his temple. “Truth be told, it hurts like hell.”
“Let’s get you a cab and back onto the ship,” Braden said, glancing around.
“Fine,” Rafe grumbled as they walked toward the hotel proper.
It took longer than he would have liked, but Braden managed to get a cab and get Rafe loaded into it. He leaned in and kissed Rafe gently on the forehead. “I’m going to call Mom, pick up a few things, then I’ll be back. Can I come straight to your room?”
Rafe looked up and nodded. “Okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t want to miss Honolulu.”
“Shh.” Braden kissed him again. “We’ll come back. Go get rest. I’ll be there soon.”
Rafe gave him a funny look but nodded again. “Okay. See you soon.” With another kiss Braden closed the door, stood back, and watched the cab pull away from the curb. As soon as it was out of sight, he took out his phone and dialed as he started walking.
Thanks for reading! Remember to keep up with the whole cruise for a chance to win at each stop. And each entry will give you an opportunity to be entered to win one of the three big prizes!
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Five years ago, everything went wrong. Braden Kirk and Rafe Jessen’s long-term relationship started unraveling. They stopped talking, fears mounted, then Braden walked in on Rafe and another man, completely misreading the situation. Without giving Rafe a chance to explain, Braden walks out. Out of their home, their relationship, and the game development company they started together in college.
After months of therapy to deal with the attempted rape Braden walked in on, Rafe begins to understand that his dominant tendencies in the bedroom aren’t a bad thing and that Braden’s submission is likely what scared his partner into silence. But Rafe isn’t ready to let go of the man he loves more than life itself. He arranges for himself and Braden to end up on the same charity cruise, knowing Braden won’t let his phobia—terror of vast, deep waters—rule him.
With a plan and twenty-eight days, Rafe is determined to get Braden back, make him see there’s nothing wrong with being submissive, and find a way to get Braden to stay with him when they get home to LA.
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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:
May 6, 2016
Hi, my name is Sean and I love winter.
If there was a Winter Anonymous group, it would be for people who love the cold and the snow and the shorter days to band together and spend a little bit of time with like-minded people and remind each other that we’re not crazy for loving the winter. Because honestly, most people don’t. Given that I live in Eastern Canada, though, it’s a good thing that I do love the winter. We usually get four solid months of snow and cold and often it’s closer to six.
This year was entirely different and we had less than three months of solid winter weather, and even that was warmer than winter often is here. And it did make me pout! There’s just something about the snow and the cold that makes me happy and makes me feel at home. I even have a favorite kind of snow – it’s when there are enormous flakes that float gently down onto the ground and coat everything on the way. There’s a hush to the world when it snows like that, as if the snow itself has insulated the air from the usual sounds. And when it’s done, everything has a coating of white on it, even the tree branches. It’s quite magical.
What’s your favorite kind of snow? (And yes, ‘no snow’ is a valid answer!). And what is your favorite season?
Smut fixes everything
Game designer Henry Delloit loves his life, his mountain community, his isolated dream home, and the snow. He also loves that the X-treme Games blow into the area for a month every year, bringing with them hundreds of athletes.
Ecco Rasmussen loves boarding. He knows he’ll never make it to the big time, but as long as he can get on his board and go, he doesn’t care. If only his manager, Blake Dobbs, would cut Ecco a break. The man’s possessive and mean, and believes he owns Ecco.
When Henry and Ecco meet at the Branchberry Games, it’s lust at first sight. An injury on Ecco’s qualifying run offers an opportunity to spend quality time together at Henry’s home, away from the crowds and out from under Blake’s thumb.
At this rate, lust might turn into love, but not if they can’t keep their romance hidden from Blake.
All Romance Ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-xfactor-2017019-149.html
Often referred to as “Space Cowboy” and “Gangsta of Love” while still striving for the moniker of “Maurice,” Sean Michael spends his days surfing, smutting, organizing his immense gourd collection and fantasizing about one day retiring on a small secluded island peopled entirely by horseshoe crabs. While collecting vast amounts of vintage gay pulp novels and mood rings, Sean whiles away the hours between dropping the f-bomb and pursuing the kama sutra by channeling the long lost spirit of John Wayne and singing along with the soundtrack to “Chicago.”
A long-time writer of complicated haiku, currently Sean is attempting to learn the advanced arts of plate spinning and soap carving sex toys.
Barring any of that? He’ll stick with writing his stories, thanks, and rubbing pretty bodies together to see if they spark.