February 12, 2015
Well everyone, this will be my last post. Thank you for joining me! It was great fun, and I appreciate your enthusiasm for my latest release. I shall be back on the DSP blog in March for “The Serpent and the Angel” release party.
As a farewell / Valentine’s Day gift, here’s another excerpt!
When he finally managed to reach the cashier after loading two fucking carts full of food, he noticed a tall, broad man whom he recognized. He smiled. The man’s girth might be intimidating, but he was a self-proclaimed teddy bear, despite the fact he was a cougar shifter.
Travis, who was also Sheriff Jack’s mate, turned and smiled back. His dark blond hair was neatly trimmed just below his ears, and his eyes were a pretty light blue framed by wire-rimmed glasses that actually didn’t look too bad on him.
Travis eyed Xavier’s carts and looked amused. “Expecting a nuclear attack?”
Xavier snorted. “You’d think so, right? No. Apparently, the workers and patients expect us to feed them.”
“The nerve of them.”
They both chuckled.
“So, are you ready for Valentine’s Day?” Travis asked as he finished his purchase and moved out of line. Xavier pushed his carts up and started handing things to the cashier, a young teen girl who looked bored as she chewed gum.
“Huh? Valentine’s Day?”
“Yeah, the day after tomorrow.”
Xavier gave him a blank look. Travis shrugged. “Just thought you and Josh would want to celebrate since it’s your first. But that’s fine if you don’t; not everyone does. Jack personally hates it. He says it’s ‘commercial love.’”
“So, you don’t celebrate it?”
“In our own way we do.”
“What do you do?”
“We go out to Sanctuary, get furry, and run around like children.” Travis’s grin widened. “Then we fuck like animals. Works for us.”
Xavier smiled at the anticipation in Travis’s eyes. It was nice to see how someone who’d been a victim of the Knights himself could move past it and find joy in life. Travis had been captured as a teen along with his entire family. He’d been the only one to survive but had been blinded by the experiments the Knights had subjected him to. With the help of an operative from the Agency, he’d managed to regain partial sight, which was helped along with a pair of glasses.
He also knew a little of what Travis had gone through to become mates with Jack. Jack was part of the largest pack in Haven, but not its leader. That would be Jack’s father, Jeffrey. There had been considerable resistance to Jack mating with a cougar shifter, and it reminded Xavier of his own pack. They considered wolf shifters far superior to any other shifter, and it had been one of the reasons he’d left. He was glad to know not all wolf packs were willing to lose one of their own simply because of who he was in love with.
“You think I should celebrate it? I never have before.” Xavier winced at the price that showed on the monitor, despite the fact the Agency was paying for everything. He handed the cashier the Agency’s credit card.
“Like I said, up to you. It just seems to me that Josh’s one who might want to celebrate.”
Xavier frowned, considering. Travis was right. Dammit. Xavier loaded the bags into the carts, and Travis walked with him out of the store.
“I really don’t know if we could carve out the time,” Xavier said. “We’re busy from sun up to sun down and barely do more than sleep when night hits.”
“Well, that’s all the more reason to find the time, don’t you think?”
Xavier shrugged. “I suppose.”
Travis helped Xavier load the truck before giving him a firm pat on the back. Travis smiled again, nothing but friendly and open.
“Even if it wasn’t Valentine’s Day, I think a night off is just what you guys need. Like you said, you’ve been working hard ever since you arrived. You didn’t even get any sort of honeymoon, did you?”
Xavier smirked. “Not really. We just sort of dove into this whole counseling clinic thing.”
“What better reason do you need to plan something?” Travis nodded as if the matter was settled. “Trust me, Xavier, time has a way of getting away from you. Jack and I have been together nearly two years now, and I don’t know where the time went.”
“Thought you two were friends before you were mates.”
“We were. That time went pretty fast as well.” Travis’s eyes glazed slightly, and Xavier knew Travis was seeing something he couldn’t.
Travis shook himself, looking a little embarrassed. “Besides, Haven likes to take advantage of any sort of holiday. Not many stores will be open, and the ones that will, they’ll be closed probably half the day. Any excuse not to work, right? You should take advantage of that; I do.”
“What are you talking about? You’re a writer. That’s not actual work.”
Travis snorted. “Hey, watch it. Writing’s hard. It’s a job just like any other.”
Xavier raised an eyebrow. “I’m not convinced. You can do it at home in nothing but your underwear. Hell, you can do it naked.”
Travis laughed. It was a full-bellied laugh that caused Xavier’s mouth to twitch.
“You know, I think Jack might enjoy that. But then he’d probably jump me, and I’d get no work done. See how hard it is?”
“Oh yeah, so hard.” Xavier rolled his eyes.
Travis took slow breaths, calming. “Anyway, if you need any help, or suggestions, just let me know.”
Thank you my lovelies and…
May dragons guard your dreams,
Remember – to learn more about my series and where it’s going, check out my blog at: http://www.mdgrimmwrites.com/#!Shifters-explained/c1o5e/3AB7F857-F8F4-4032-829D-A151576ED328
And please check out my website in general, it’s gorgeous, I swear!
February 12, 2015
(A few SPOILER ALERTS for those who haven’t read “Healing Minds” – proceed at your own risk)
I chose Valentine’s Day for these two because it’s one of the romance-mushiest holidays out there, and I liked the pairing of the holiday with Xavier’s badass image. He had a rough past, what with being a (SPOILER ALERT) criminal, and being trained by a para-military wolf pack in Australia. Josh does feel like a romantic to me, despite his inexperience with it, and I wanted him to flip back and forth whether to attempt to celebrate the holiday or not.
Since this is a direct sequel to “Healing Minds,” I don’t have much furthering of the overall plot of my series, i.e. the conflict between the Knights and the Agency, introducing new characters (though a new character does make a brief appearance at the end—watch for him, he returns later in the series!), new couples, etc. I also decided early on that it would be fun to make all the sequels center around holidays. I started the trend with “Celtic Warrior and Wolf Spirit,” the sequel to “Psychic Moon.”
However, there will be a few books that return to earlier couples, but I don’t consider them sequels because they further the overall plot. To name a couple: Derek and Brian from “Psychic Moon,” and (everyone’s favorite) Poe and Nordik from “Master’s Blood.”
But back to “Hearts and Minds.”
And another excerpt!
Josh jerked back to the present. He realized he was standing in the reception area of the counseling wing, and Misty—their efficient secretary, a petite woman with long red-orange hair, bright green eyes, and a narrow, pointy face—was holding out a file folder. They weren’t able to pay their clinic employees yet, but that never stopped people from applying for positions and volunteering their time. They had a chef, two other counselors with degrees in psychology, and an elderly elk shifter who acted as custodian.
Where would they be without these generous Haven citizens?
There was a bunch of red and pink construction paper on Misty’s desk, and she seemed to be cutting them up into hearts of different sizes.
“What’s with the hearts?” Josh asked.
Misty tilted her head slightly and gave him a look that clearly said he was a dummy. “Valentine’s Day is coming up, duh.”
Josh blinked, flipped through the calendar in his head, and said, “Oh, right.”
Misty shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I’m making these for the class my brother’s in. They’re having a little party.”
“They’re looking good.”
“Yes, they are,” Misty said proudly. “But just wait till you see the necklace I had specially made for my girlfriend. She’s going to flip.”
Josh chuckled even as something occurred to him. “Is V-Day the reason you’ve been using pink and red highlighters and pens, lately?”
Misty sighed loudly and rolled her eyes again. “Wow, Josh. You’re Mr. Observant.”
“Hey, I have been a little busy, you know.”
“What? And I haven’t? You think this enterprise of yours runs itself?”
Temper sparked in her eyes, and Josh barely resisted a wince. Then he said, in all seriousness, “No, Misty. We all know how invaluable you are.”
“Damn right, I am.” Misty smiled cannily, her eyes now twinkling with humor as she continued to hold out Allen’s folder. He took it.
“Thanks. Is Allen’s mother with him?”
“Yes.” Her smile warmed, softened. “She’s so sweet and devoted. I really think he has a fair chance at full recovery with such support on his side.”
“I think so, too.” Josh promptly forgot about Valentine’s Day and its implications as he walked into the small counseling room. Allen sat on the couch, hunched over, his hands clasped in front of him. His mother sat right next to him, her hand on his. Allen’s cane was set against the couch, and his left leg was tucked under his right. It was understandable that he was still self-conscious about his severed left foot, but that was one of the things they were working on. He needed to accept what had happened to him and move past it. But, as Allen had only been with them for about a week, Josh knew it was a slow process and might take years. Allen and his mother were bear shifters, and he’d proven nonviolent, but Josh had seen flashes of rage in his eyes when they attempted to discuss his abuse. Josh had Xavier on speed dial if Allen proved too much to handle.
What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your significant other?
Got anything you wish to ask me about my series? Ask away! I shall answer!
February 12, 2015
And I’m back! M.D. Grimm here promoting “Hearts and Minds,” my Valentine’s Day themed sequel to “Healing Minds” in my The Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031
Josh and Xavier have been working so hard they haven’t really had time for a “honeymoon.” I really like these guys—they are so motivated and duty-oriented. In my humble opinion, they are probably one of the best couples I’ve penned. While I love every single one of my characters and enjoy all the couples, Josh and Xavier probably had the most evolution. The first draft of “Healing Minds” was utter crap, to be honest. I didn’t know where I was heading or what I was trying to say. My beta at the time agreed with me. But then I rewrote it from page one and all the puzzle pieces were finally assembled. I heard their voices, I sensed their struggles, and when I finally got them together, I was over the moon.
And now we have “Hearts and Minds” which is centered around Valentine’s Day, but the book is truly about compromise and working together as a team. Because of their busyness, Xavier and Josh haven’t really had much time alone together, to indulge in one another (sad, right?). That has led to a few unsaid conflicts that arise in this story. They both have strong personalities, have been trained in combat (though Xavier’s was far more intense), and both believe they are right all the time (and that never ends well).
So for those of you who love Xavier and Josh as much as I do, consider this story a Valentine’s Day present from me to you. J
And here’s an excerpt!
Xavier had to walk around to the back of the house to find Josh, who was standing with a blueprint, shouting at the workers on the roof. There seemed to be a disagreement happening, and Xavier found it incredibly cute how Josh’s face was becoming as red as his hair and his blue eyes were bright with frustration. He was bundled against the low 40s temperature, and Xavier found it hard to think of anything but keeping Josh nice and warm under their blankets.
Xavier walked over to catch Josh say, “…where you guys are sitting is where the new addition is going to go. I keep telling you that. That’s what the blueprint says.”
“If you put it here, the plumbing’s going to be a disaster,” countered an older man, who Xavier knew to be a fellow wolf shifter. He looked as exasperated as Josh. “That blueprint is wrong, or ya ain’t looking at it right, boy.”
“Let me see.” Xavier snatched the blueprint from Josh.
Clearing his throat, Xavier saw the problem and turned the blueprint right-side up. He handed it back to Josh and tried not to laugh, but it was a hard struggle. Josh looked down at the paper, his face reddening further. He grumbled something before sucking in a large breath and looking back up at the roof workers.
“Carry on, boys, we found out the problem.”
The workers glanced at each other. The older wolf shifter shook his head and mumbled something Xavier thought sounded like “Pups.”
Xavier turned his attention to Josh. “Morning, love.”
Josh rolled up the blueprint and gave him a smile. “Morning. Guess I still need a few lessons in ‘Building Remodeling 101.’”
Xavier chuckled. Then he cupped Josh’s face and kissed him soundly. Josh attempted to pull back for a split second before he melted against Xavier. Making a growly purr deep in his throat, Xavier wrapped his arms around Josh. He deepened the kiss, his tongue taking possession of Josh’s mouth, one hand curling around the back of Josh’s head. In response, Josh gripped his shoulders, a sweet moan coming from him.
Xavier reluctantly pulled back a moment later and was happy to see that Josh’s eyes were slightly blurry. He didn’t care that they were getting looks and snickers. He craved this man like a drug. Everything between them still felt fresh and new.
“Now it is a very good morning,” Xavier said.
Josh grinned. “Definitely.”
Xavier shifted his mouth close to Josh’s ear. “But it would have been a great morning if you’d stayed in bed.”
“I… well, there’s so much to do. I had to get an early start—”
Xavier kept his arms tightly around Josh’s waist, knowing a ramble about to start when he heard it. His redhead had a tendency to talk and talk… and talk. “You’ve been getting an early start for a couple of weeks now. There will always be so much to do. I need my mate.”
Josh sighed and pulled back slightly. Their eyes met. Xavier enjoyed the look of him, and he had a special adoration for the freckles that spread across his nose and cheeks. Xavier happened to know they covered Josh’s entire body.
“Sorry, X. You need your sleep. I don’t want to disturb you in the morning.”
Xavier raised an eyebrow. It was sweet how naïve Josh was sometimes.
“Josh, I always want you. Wake me up whenever. I’ll just sleep after.”
Josh let out a short laugh, his bright blue eyes sparkling. “Okay, got that.”
He pulled away, and Xavier let him. If he kept holding Josh, he might be tempted to drag him into the house and take him on the floor. His wolf didn’t think that was a bad idea.
Josh lifted the blueprint again. He tilted it one way and then the other, then covered one eye, then just sighed and shook his head. “I give up. I’m no good at this.” He shoved the print into Xavier’s hands. “Could you monitor them for me? I have a patient in ten minutes.”
“You need to stop booking them so early in the morning.”
Josh shrugged, smiling. “I have to book them whenever I can or else I’d never see them. We have to make ourselves available, remember?”
“Yeah, but we also need some time for just us, right?”
“Of course!” Josh jumped up and kissed Xavier quickly. Then he was gone, striding away. “I’ll see you later!”
It was incredibly annoying that Josh seemed so fucking immune to the lust bubbling inside Xavier. Kissing and blowjobs had been the extent of their lovemaking for too long, and Xavier was itching for more. He really wanted to be inside Josh again. More than anything, he wanted intimacy; he wanted time alone with his mate, no interruptions, no pressures, no duties.
Grumbling, he looked at the print and attempted to keep his mind busy by bossing around the workers.
Who is your favorite couple in “The Shifters” series? I refuse to have a favorite couple because that feels like I’m playing favorites with my children. I love all of them and am mighty proud with how each one turned out.
I shall be back!
February 11, 2015
I’ve had an absolute blast hanging out with all of you today. It’s been so much fun talking about my story, and seeing all your great, thoughtful comments. There’s a half an hour left to comment if you want to be entered to win one of two copies of Pumpkin Rolls and Porn Sounds. You can comment on any or all of the posts. At 4:45 PM, I’ll announce the winners right here.
I thought I’d leave you all with an excerpt. It’s one of my favorite scenes in the book, when Joshua and Will are still getting to know each other, and they are having trouble connecting for their next date, because Joshua is having to work extra hours:
“Lucas?” I questioned. Then winced. That absolutely sounded jealous.
Joshua gave a soft laugh. “He’s the baker. It’s his pumpkin rolls you moaned so wantonly over.”
Embarrassment flooded my cheeks. “Oh.”
“He’s also my brother-in-law,” Joshua added. The amusement was clear in his tone. That didn’t help my embarrassment at all. In fact, my face grew even hotter.
“That’s nice,” I said, trying to control my blush. “Do you like working with him?”
Joshua’s laugh was rich. “Very much. He’s been a friend for a long time. Since college, actually. I introduced him to my sister. The two of us came up with the idea for Pounds and Grounds because I wanted to run my own business and he wanted to quit his job and bake. He owns forty percent. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t be as successful as we are if it weren’t for him. We get along very well. And you can certainly attest to his talent in the kitchen.”
He just had to bring up the noises again, didn’t he? And just when I’d gotten myself to stop blushing, too. I was glad he couldn’t see me. I shook my head, cleared my throat, and smiled. “That’s really great to hear.”
Joshua wasn’t fooled by my attempt at a casual tone. He laughed heartily. But the sound cut off quickly. The smile fell off my face.
“Will, listen, until we….” His voice trailed off. There was silence for a long minute that made my heart pound. Then he sighed. “Until I get this sorted out, until I hire new people and get them settled, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to see you again. I want to. God, do I want to. But the long days aren’t very conducive to dating. I’d probably fall asleep on you.”
“That’s okay,” I said. Then scrunched up my nose at the way that might sound to him. I added quickly, “I mean, I understand. You have to take care of your business and yourself. I can wait.”
“Really?” He sounded surprised.
I shook my head, even though he couldn’t see. I didn’t understand why his confidence got shaky when it came to us, but this wasn’t the first time I had heard it. “Of course. I should have said it the other night instead of making a joke, but I really enjoy spending time with you and getting to know you. I want to see where this goes. And I’m willing to wait for you.”
There was silence from the other end. I would have thought we had lost the connection, but I could still hear him breathing. I tried to be patient, but it had never been my strong suit. When another minute passed and he still didn’t say anything, my gut clenched.
“Joshua?” I asked. A sudden attack of nerves made my voice tentative.
“Thank you,” he said fervently. “That means a lot to me. I want to see where this goes, too. I promise that I’ll get this sorted out as quickly as possible.”
“Doesn’t matter how long it takes, I’m not going anywhere.” My tone was full of conviction. I wanted him, and it was time I stopped questioning why. I would wait.
“Neither am I,” he said softly.
Don’t forget to comment on this or any post. I want to give away some free books!
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?
January 16, 2015
Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble and my time on this blog, discussing A Barlow Lens, my latest release is about up. Dreamspinner Press is offering a 25%off coupon code good from now until Monday. The code is Noble0116 (case sensitive). Everyone commenting is eligible to win a free eBook copy of A Barlow Lens. I’ll announce the winner Sunday evening.
In the present day part of the book Val and Wyatt use a number of sources to look back into the past and solve a decades old mystery. I had to really think about how someone now would investigate a murder that took place about 90 years prior. Val and Wyatt had to get pretty crafty when digging up their facts. They used a few resources, old photographs, a museum and drawings from a school girl from the time.
Just like an astronomer uses a telescope and special lens as tools to exploring the night sky, Val and Wyatt used a number tools as well. What they discovered was how the lives of a street cop, a teacher and a gangster collided in 1927. The lives of Tom and Philip intertwined with Val and Wyatt’s years after their deaths.
Every life is a circle.
After coffee and breakfast, Val looked much better and Wyatt definitely felt much better.
“Kevin destroyed all our evidence. How are we going to find out what happened?” Val asked. They sat at the table, and he was finishing a second cup of coffee. “From what we learned so far, I’m having a hard time believing it was Tom who started that fire. I want the end of the story.”
“I agree. That article you read, the one written by one of the surviving students, you said she disputed Tom being at fault,” Wyatt said.
“Yeah.” Val put his coffee cup down with a soft clunk. “Think she’s still alive?”
“I suppose it’s possible. If not, maybe we can track down a relative who might be able to shed some light on things.” He stood up, taking his phone. “I have to call Lily. We were supposed to meet her yesterday, and I want to make sure she’s all right and let her know we’re okay.”
It took them some serious searching, putting both training and skills to good use. Wyatt had years of experience researching and ferreting out useful bits of data from the most mundane sources. He was constantly impressed and surprised by Val’s ingenuity and downright creativity when it came to hunting facts and people on the internet. Val found sites and resources Wyatt would never have thought existed, let alone gone to while trying to locate someone.
They ended up spending a day at the police museum and city hall searching records, even enlisting Lily’s aide. She was able to aim them at documents kept at the museum and a local university containing a great deal about the woman who’d written the article as well as other pieces that had appeared in newspapers over the years. The woman had mounted a campaign to bring the story of what really happened to light, but it never seemed to happen.
It took considerable effort on all their parts, but finally there was a solid trail to be followed. While it didn’t lead to the little girl who grew into the woman who’d written the article, they did have a clear picture of who she was.
“Molly and her brother Dennis, who was three years older, survived the school fire,” Val said, reading Wyatt the notes and timeline they’d put together. “Molly was really an amazing woman. She grew up and married a Tony Petite a few years before we got into World War Two. He was in the Navy and stationed in Hawaii. They not only lived through Pearl Harbor, but she also survived the 1946 tsunami. He wasn’t in Hawaii at that time.”
“That is one lucky woman. She lives through a fire that killed more than survived, the bombing of a naval base, and a tsunami.” Wyatt settled in a chair. He’d bought some large pads of paper with adhesive strips on the back and watched as Val stuck them to the wall, making lists and drawing arrows from one thing to the next.
I have a number of old photos sitting in several boxes. Some of them are more than a century old and I love looking at them. Each one tells a story. Do you have any photographs or documents that give you clues into the lives of people living in the past?
January 16, 2015
The story this book tells takes place in two separate, but interconnected timelines. The story begins in the present with Val and Wyatt, two men preparing for their wedding. When Wyatt is asked to consult on a cold-case murder, he and Val get a look back at what life was like for another gay couple Tom and Philip. The majority of the story takes place in Cleveland, Ohio which looked a lot like this in 1927.
This is part of the neighborhood Tom and Philip lived in. This business and building no longer exist today. The neighborhood I’ve used while telling the story is the same one I live in now. It was also the neighborhood where my grandparents spent much of their youth. While A Barlow Lens isn’t a historical novel, I have tried to make the sections written in that time line as accurate as possible. One of the characters in the book, a small time gangster named Archie is loosely based on stories my grandfather told me about one of his older brothers.
Tom and Philip read the Cleveland Press newspaper and back then it looked a lot like this.
Do you like novels that give you a little bit of history but aren’t necessarily historical novels or are you a purist?
Don’t forget Dreamspinner is offering a 25% off coupon code for all my books now through Monday. The code is Noble0116 (case sensitive).
Here is an excerpt from the 1927 portion of the story:
TOM MANNING stopped just inside the heavy, wooden door and stomped the snow from his boots. He shrugged out of his overcoat and waited for his eyes to adjust to the lower lighting. A shiver worked its way down his spine. There was a fire, the room was warm, but it still took his body a few minutes to acclimate to the temperature without his coat. He turned to the right where one of the large coatracks stood next to the door and added his coat to the ones already there. Taking his hat off, he shook snow from the fabric and wiped one hand over his hair. He gave his head a little shake to clear off any excess snowflakes.
A radio in one corner provided music. Despite its scratchy reception, there were a few couples swaying on the dance floor. Tom had become a regular in this particular juice joint, even though it was far enough from his small apartment in the West Park section of Cleveland that it took planning and a little time to get there. That was just fine by Tom. It made the Canary, this joint’s name, safer. Most cops wouldn’t bother coming this far north and west, and if they did, there’d be plenty of warning. At least Tom hoped so.
The first few times he’d come there, he had worried about who might see him. Then he realized that if someone saw him, they’d come to the Canary for the same reason. This particular speakeasy catered to a select and secretive group of men and women.
Tom slid onto a stool and smiled when the bartender sashayed over with a plate of sandwiches thick with meat and cheese on freshly baked bread.
“We got a new shipment in this week. Care to give it a try, honey?” The bartender, Billy, flipped a towel over his shoulder and put his hand over Tom’s for an instant. He tipped his head at a table on the other side of the room. “He’s been asking after you. I’ll get you two of what he’s having.”
“Appreciate it,” Tom said. He twisted on the stool to get a better look at the man at the table. The man had dark hair and was built like a bull. His big hands cradled the glass of bootleg, and that sent a spark coursing right through Tom to his balls. Beefy hands that handled a glass gently. What would they do to Tom’s flesh?
Thanks to Billy and his need to be in everyone’s business, Tom might just find out.
January 16, 2015
Before I forget, because I always forget, Dreamspinner Press has offered a coupon code: Noble0116 (case sensitive). It’s good for 25% off all my books beginning today, Friday, and expires on Monday.
To start the festivities here is the blurb and a bit of an excerpt from the book.
While planning a future with his partner, Val, Wyatt’s past refuses to be forgotten. Wyatt’s old friend asks him to look into the mysterious death of her uncle in a fire back in 1927, when men were silent, tough, and did not love other men—except when they did. Working with Val, Wyatt digs up clues uncovering the truth behind the tragic school fire and the one responsible. The story of Tom and Philip slowly reveals itself, and Wyatt and Val realize nothing is as simple as they originally believed. As their trail heats up, an old enemy of Wyatt’s decides he’s waited long enough for revenge. If Wyatt can’t tie everything together, history might repeat itself.
Once they were back at their hotel, Wyatt ushered Val into their room, not bothering with the light. They were high enough up there was no need to close the drapes, and light from the city cast a soft glow over them.
As Val unbuttoned his suit jacket, Wyatt stepped up behind him, placing his palms on Val’s shoulders, then rubbing lightly up and down his arms a few times. “Let me give you a hand.” Wyatt eased the jacket off and kissed the side of Val’s neck, nudging his head to the side as he did so. A low moan rumbled out of Val’s chest. Wyatt dropped the jacket on a chair and slipped his hands under Val’s shirt, caressing Val’s skin with his fingertips.
When he reached Val’s tightening nipples, he rubbed small circles until Val’s hips jerked. Val shuddered and pulled in a quick, shaky breath, making Wyatt smile. Val’s tie and shirt joined his jacket. Wyatt ran his hands over Val’s torso before returning them to Val’s shoulders. He lightly traced the scars on Val’s shoulder with first his finger, then his tongue.
Val’s surgery to repair the damage done in the course of stopping some seriously dangerous people who had been trying to force jockeys to throw races, had left several scars. They weren’t red, raised, and angry anymore. Val never complained about them hurting, but the marks were still puckered and darker than the surrounding skin.
“You know,” Val whispered between dragging in a breath and panting it out again. “That first time we went out to dinner, I was so worried you’d think I was some uncouth, country hick because I don’t know about wine and art. And that I was too young to bother with.”
“Hmm, do you know what I worried about when I was thirty?” Wyatt scraped his teeth across Val’s shoulder blades.
“Getting a sweet piece of hot ass,” Wyatt said in a low voice.
Val laughed. “Well, you’re sort of slow. Took you long enough. Worth the wait?”
“Oh, hell, yes.” Wyatt maneuvered Val to the bed.
There is an age difference between Val and Wyatt. What’s your preference, couples that are closer or farther apart in age? Any personal experiences to share?
January 7, 2015
If you’ve missed any of the earlier posts, please scroll back to find an excerpt, some teasers and some info about me. Also please leave a comment (on any of the posts) to be entered in a drawing to win a Warwick Rowers 2015 Calendar! (I’ll announce the winner in the comment section on this post on January 8 at noon EST).
I’d like to leave you all with one final teaser for MOMENT IF IMPACT. Earlier I talked about how first kisses are my favorite thing to write. This clip kinda shows that I like to write second kisses almost as much. Okay…maybe just as much. *cheers*
January 7, 2015
I mentioned how much I adore the handsome model who graces the cover of MOMENT OF IMPACT. Here are some more beautiful shots of him with some teasers from the book. If you haven’t checked out the two earlier posts today, please do—and leave comments on any of them to be entered into the contest for a chance to win a Warwick Rowers 2015 Calendar!
I just love the way his eyes sparkle. He’s the perfect Collin.