May 1, 2016
Hi everyone! I’m Mj O’Shea and I’m here to talk about my newest Dreamspun Desires book Duke in Hiding!
Okay… it all started with Darcy. Doesn’t everything? Sigh. Darcy. I don’t remember exactly when I first encountered the world of stately homes and roguish gentlemen but I was hooked. I spent a lot of my teen years devouring regency romance (when I wasn’t reading fantasy, paranormal, or sci fi) and the love of that world has never died.
I still want to write a regency novel (some day!!!) but when I decided to write a second book for Dreamspun Desires, I wanted to at least include some parts of my teenage past haha. I had to take my Mr. Darcy and make him modern so while I was at it, why not go for it and make him a Duke? Because, well… why not ☺ So I did a little research and found a dukedom that had been extinct since its last holder died a long while back. It was pretty easy to resurrect it. At least fictionally!
There were originally only two Dukes with this title, so I did some very accurate and detailed math and decided that about five generations had passed. Heath Pierrepont Blackwood the seventh Duke of Kingston was born. The original (real) title was Duke of Kingston-upon-hull but I decided to shorten it to make it a tad more fictional.
Heath is a bit snarky, a little snobby at first, but devoted to his land and the people it supports. He just needs an equally snarky American bartender slash landscaper named Theo to melt his crusty exterior. Of course.
I’ll leave a bit of Duke in Hiding below for you to read while I go and watch Pride and Prejudice for the millionth time… and unpopular opinion but I like BOTH versions. Poppy Dennison would give me dagger glares for that one. We’ve discussed it many times.
Here’s a blurb and below I’ll add a short excerpt! I’d love to hear what you think… and also, if you have one what’s your favorite Regency character? Can come from books, movies, or real history! There are many to choose from ☺
Meeting Heath Blackwood, a gorgeous English farmer, is probably the most exciting thing to ever happen to small-town landscaper Theo Brody, who has lived in quiet Maplehurst, New Hampshire, all his life. The sexy and secretive Brit shakes the foundations of his orderly world as they are swept up in a springtime romance neither can resist.
But Heath’s secrets run deeper than Theo ever imagined. He’s actually Heathcliff Pierrepont Blackwood, Duke of Kingston, in hiding from recent death threats. Suddenly there’s more separating them than the Atlantic Ocean, and Theo doubts he’ll ever fit in with English nobility. Though Heath and Theo are opposites in almost every way, their love might bridge the gap—if they’re willing to take the risk.
And a short bit from Duke in Hiding…
Theo sat behind the bar and got up to make drinks whenever someone came to the counter. It was a quiet night, which was both a blessing and rather unfortunate. He was too tired to hustle, but it would’ve been nice to have something to keep him awake and busy. And more customers always meant better tips, which never hurt. Still, it wasn’t a bad night after all. At least at first. He’d only been there about an hour when the door opened, and fantastic. The Brit was back. Earlier too, so they’d have plenty of time for witty repartee. If Theo played his cards right, he could have a good three hours of the snobby English guy’s company. Fabulous.
“You’re back,” he murmured.
“I am. Another of what you poured last night, please.”
“The Smuttynose IPA?”
Theo got a definite eyebrow raise for that one. It was his favorite beer to recommend to outsiders—mostly because he liked to say the name and get a reaction. “I suppose. I never did hear the name of it.”
“That’s what it is. Smuttynose. You know now.” Theo was surprised at the sharpness of his voice, but nearly everything about the guy rubbed him the wrong way. Wasn’t his face, to be sure, but the rest of him. Ugh. Theo filled a pint glass with Smuttynose and slid it gently across the bar.
“You said you just moved here?” Theo asked. It looked like he was going to have a whole lot more of this dude in his bar.
“Yes. For the time being.”
“And where are you from?”
He gave Theo a long look. “England,” he answered dryly.
“I never would have guessed.” Theo rolled his eyes. “I was going for a bit more detail.”
“North Yorkshire, mostly. Although I have lived in a few places.”
Theo didn’t know a whole lot about Yorkshire, other than it was where the famed Downton Abbey—source of Gilly’s fervent obsession—was located.
“Please don’t ask if I’ve seen Downton Abbey. I detest talking about that drivel.”
Is this guy an ass and a mind reader? “Wasn’t going to. But thanks for the friendly warning.”
“Cheers.” He took a long swallow of his pint.
He. Theo realized he didn’t have a name for his newest patron. He was almost afraid to ask.
“What do you do in North Yorkshire…?” Theo hesitated at the end of the question, drew it out a bit. Most people would take it as a hint to fill in their name. Apparently “most people” didn’t apply to hot English assholes.
“I’m a farmer.”
Again with the fountains of detail.
“And you left your farm just as spring was starting?” Theo didn’t know a whole lot about farming, but he knew that much. Spring and fall: not time to be hanging out in a bar on the other side of the Atlantic.
“It’s being tended. Why are you so curious all of a sudden?”
Theo distinctly remembered being shut down the night before as well. Not what he’d call sudden. “Just trying to be friendly. That’s the way we do things around here. I won’t bother you again.”
Not likely to get much of a tip from you either. If he remembered, the night before, he hadn’t gotten one at all. Which would make his new friend rude as hell and a cheapskate.
Theo started to wonder if it might be best if he quit his job at the Gull earlier than he’d planned.
That’s all folks!! There’s info about me and some of my social media links. Come find me anytime ☺
About MJ O’Shea
MJ O’Shea has never met a music festival, paintbrush, or
flower crown she can stay away from. She loves rainstorms
and a perfect cup of tea, beach days, music, bright colors, and
more than anything a cozy evening with a really great book.
She is from the Pacific Northwest. While she still lives there
and loves it, MJ has the heart of a wanderer. So she puts all
her dreams of far off places and extraordinary people in her
Except for every once in a while when she does what all
travelers have to do on occasion… come home.
Find MJ Online
Check out Duke in Hiding today!
April 30, 2016
Hello everyone, Jerry Sacher here to introduce myself and my newest release: Ocean of Secrets.
I’ve been interested in the Titanic and the people who sailed on board her since first grade, when I was first able to read A Night to Remember by Walter Lord; and for the longest time I wanted to write a Titanic novel of my own, a story of forbidden love on board the doomed ship. In Ocean of Secrets we meet Andrew Elliot, who is a first class passenger, and Matthew Ahearn, a third class steward.
Those were the days when men who loved other men where either imprisoned or forced into loveless marriages, which is exactly what brings our main character, Andrew, on board the Titanic. He is to visit America with his fiancee and her brother as chaperone. Everyone is impressed by the Titanic’s luxury and safety, but while he appreciates these things…. Well, I don’t want to give any spoilers here, so here’s a brief excerpt:
“Come on, jump and I’ll follow you!” Andrew shouted above the rumbling noise from all around them. Matthew held on to Andrew’s hand for a brief second, squeezing, as they gave each other silent encouragement. Then Matthew jumped.
Andrew watched him hit the water, which was now only a few feet below. He took a step off the edge of the deck and leaped. The water was bitterly cold, like a thousand knives being driven into his body. He could barely breathe, but he had to find Matthew. Andrew looked behind him as the lights blinked and went out and the ship towered above him in the darkness. People were jumping, splashing near him, crying out.
He thought he heard someone calling his name, so he swam toward the sound. He only got a few feet before he was showered with pieces of glass, wood, and scraps of metal and sparks; the screech of tortured steel drowned out all other noise, except the voice that persistently called his name.
An arm grabbed at Andrew and pulled him under, but he somehow managed to break free. He came up next to a collapsible boat with a handful of people huddled together inside watching the scene unfold in front of them. Andrew hung on to the side of the boat and followed their gaze.
The ship was breaking in half, sparks lighting up rooms laid bare, the two remaining funnels toppling over. He barely missed being whipped by a torn cable. The forward half of the ship plunged under the surface, sucking in ocean, people, and wreckage along with it. He felt the water pulling him backward, but strong arms grabbed him and drew him aboard the boat. He sat on the bottom and lay against another man’s body. Outlined in the darkness, he saw two men near him with boards, paddling the boat away from the ship. He looked from them back to the Titanic.
I hope you enjoyed that brief scene from Ocean of Secrets.
I was inspired to write Ocean of Secrets about two years ago when I read a book titled Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage, by Hugh Brewster. He gives a look into the privileged lives of the first class passengers on board the Titanic. In his book he introduces us to Frank D. Millet, a noted artist, whom you also meet in Ocean of Secrets. In a letter that he mailed to a friend from Queenstown (Cobh as it’s known today) he mentions “A queer lot of people”, and also that there were many of “Our kind of people” on board. He doesn’t name names, so they are lost forever; but another first class passenger named Archie Butt, the military advisor and friend to President Taft, was mentioned by Mr. Bewster as another gay man also in first class. He was devoted to his mother, he planned White House parties and other social functions, and he also had an eye for women’s fashion. (In a letter he goes into great detail about a female friend’s dress). It could be argued that those were just the times he lived in, when a man could be a mother’s boy without raising suspicion. We also meet him briefly in Ocean of Secrets.
Any information about them is lost to history; but in second class, a Mr. Fynney and his lover, a Mr. Gaskell, were also known to be on board. They were both lost in the sinking.
It was after reading Mr. Brewster’s book that I decided to write a novel about the Titanic. My original idea was to write about Archie Butt, the president’s advisor and friend. But like in any novel, the characters will want to tell their own story. So I set down a story about a romance between a first class passenger and a steward. Men from two different social backgrounds and experiences in those years before the Great War, when classes were segregated from one another, and loving anyone outside one’s own social circle was taboo.
Our main character, Andrew Elliot, is the son of a Scottish noble family. I have to admit that along with our other hero, Matthew Ahearn, he is one of my favorite characters. Like me, he’s bookish and sensitive, and he’s willing to sacrifice his own happiness to make others happy. Again, no spoilers here….
And now a word about the background of our villains: In the days of the great liners there were professional card players, and there were con-artists who worked in teams. A man and woman would be traveling together as brother and sister or a married couple. On the first day of the voyage they would befriend a man — of course, after finding out his financial and social situation from an obliging steward (they knew everyone’s business). Gradually, the woman would tell him tales or her cruel brother/husband/family, and appeal to him for help. He would be reluctant at first, but then she would show up at his cabin in tears/bruised, and the brother or husband would walk in and catch them. To avoid scandal they would oblige him to pay them for silence.
I really enjoy writing historic/romantic fiction. It involves a lot of research into customs, manners, language, and even music. During the writing of Ocean of Secrets, I listened to period music on a Victrola, which is another of my interests, to immerse myself in the 1912 frame of mind. The music is also available on Youtube, especially ‘Alexander’s Ragtime Band’.
Getting words and phrases correct was another issue. One of the words you will read in Ocean of Secrets is “Josser”, which is an Edwardian term for someone who is a fool/simpleton.
Now for a little about me: I currently live in Chicago with my husband Dean, and two rambunctious cats named Monty and Nicky. Perhaps an adopted child will be in our future. I’m interested in all things historical and collect books and antique phonographs. My favorite machine is a baby grand piano-shaped phonograph from the early 1920′s.
Ghosts and the paranormal are also other subjects that intrigue me. In Ocean of Secrets there are two ghost tales. One is told to Andrew by another passenger, and the second…. Well, again, no spoilers….
I have four other books available from Dreamspinner Press:
The Saint of San Francisco
The Rosary and the Badge
Fair In Love
I am definitely interested in writing another historic romance/fiction novel. Is there any time period/historic event you would like to see portrayed? Leave me a comment/question, and I’ll be happy to answer. The person with the best answer will receive an EBook of one my backlist titles!
Thanks for joining me for the release of Ocean of Secrets.
Check out Ocean of Secrets today!
Andrew Elliot, the son of a Scottish nobleman, is being sent to America, accompanied by his fiancée and her brother. But Andrew’s engagement is not a love match. His family insists that he marries to “cure” him of his feelings for the son of the caretaker on his father’s estate.
Matthew Ahearn leaves Ireland to pursue his dream of becoming a Texas cowboy. In London, a brush with the law almost derails his plans, but Matthew perseveres and lands a job as a third-class steward on a ship bound for America.
Andrew’s and Matthew’s worlds collide as they—and their secrets—are brought together in the magic of an ocean voyage, one that will never be forgotten.
The year is 1912, and they are about to board RMS Titanic….
April 29, 2016
Hi all! Charley Descoteaux here, to celebrate the release of the third book in my Buchanan House series, Tiny House! You might have read the first book, Buchanan House, and if so you’ve already met the heroes: Nathan and Paulie. If not, I’m giving away a free download of the audiobook so you can meet them! Stick around for the excerpt and find out how to enter.
One of the fun parts about writing a series is that I already know some of the characters, of not all of them. I’ve had the chance to hang out with them and get to know them during the writing process. Bringing a supporting character into a starring role and giving him his own HEA is like playing matchmaker for an old friend!
When I started Tiny House I knew Nathan fairly well but didn’t really know Paulie at all. Getting to know him was a lot of fun. At first I only saw him through Nathan and Eric’s eyes. They’ve all been friends for a long time, so that worked out well. But I don’t really get to know a character until I’ve written with their voice in my head so Paulie kept surprising me. Until one paragraph in Nathan’s POV.
Nathan drew his hand down Paulie’s arm and wove their fingers together. “Regardless of how it might look, your friends know you. I know you. So I know I don’t have to worry. I know you’re loyal to a fault. I know you say you love dance mixes, but your MP3 player is full of nineties music like Dave Matthews and Incubus. I know everyone called you PJ until your brother started calling you Paulie when you and his son were both little boys of seven, and I know the noises you make when you come.”
Part of my process when getting to know new characters is to find their music. I’d been searching for a soundtrack for Tiny House, music I could play to get in the right mood to write this story. I thought that would sound like the songs I’d danced to at the beginning of the 21 Century, but somehow it just didn’t feel right. As soon as Nathan told me what music Paulie really listened to, going back and filling in Paulie’s sections became much easier.
Here is my playlist for Tiny House, because it never would have come together without Paulie’s input.
Incubus Make Yourself
“When it Comes”
“I Miss You”
“Out From Under”
Dave Matthews Band Crash and Under the Table and Dreaming
I listened to these songs, in this order, over and over and over for the four months I lived in Nathan and Paulie’s heads. Which made it so easy to get into the right frame of mind for edits, or writing blog posts!
My mp3 player is filled with an eclectic mix of music (or maybe it only looks like it belongs to more than one person). I listen to Alice in Chains, Led Zeppelin, Vince Guaraldi, Metallica, Peter Frampton, Beethoven, Pearl Jam, Slipknot, and I have a list with my favorite jazz standards to soothe jangled nerves after an especially difficult day at work.
What music is on your iPod or mp3 player that would surprise your friends?
Spill, and you could win a free copy of the audiobook version of Buchanan House, the first book in this series!
While you’re thinking about how honest to be about your musical guilty pleasures, check out this excerpt from Tiny House. It’s not from the scene above because that’s too spoilery to share, but this one isn’t. This post was about Paulie so it seems fitting that the excerpt be from his point of view. He’s just finished helping Eric in the kitchen for a celebration at Buchanan House, and is ready for desert…
By the time Eric and Paulie finished the last of the evening’s work, Paulie had a nice buzz going. His thoughts had strayed to his own father whenever he’d had a free second, something which usually led to at least a drink or two. Paul Senior had been gone for nearly twenty years, but Paulie still missed him almost every day. He missed his kind and gentle nature and his quiet confidence as much as the way he’d seemed to have the answer to every question.
As he cleaned up, he smiled as a thought of his parents together came to the front of his mind. His father would enter the kitchen when Mom was working, wrap both arms around her waist, and ask if she’d been nipping into the cooking sherry. As far as Paulie knew, they’d never had any alcohol in the kitchen, so he eventually figured out that must’ve been some kind of code.
The lack of such codes in his own life weighted his shoulders, despite his overall good mood.
A sound startled Paulie from his memories, and he looked up to see Nathan, who was also nearing half drunk but still looked ravishing in his sixties-inspired outfit—orange pants with a subtle paisley print, topped with a simple blue silk shirt. Sometime during the evening he’d abandoned his shoes, and Paulie ached to run his foot alongside Nathan’s sand-smoothed arch.
“Have I told you lately how fabulous you are?” Nathan glided close to Paulie’s side and hugged him.
Paulie’s hands were wet, so he leaned into Nathan’s warmth for a moment.
Nathan held him out at arm’s length and grinned. His skin glowed with tan and with his buzz. Paulie knew the look in his eyes, even if he hadn’t seen it for a while. It made his heart race. “Tonight couldn’t have gone better. Everyone loved your mini s’mores desserts.”
“I’m glad. It was a fun party.”
Nathan’s flush crept from his cheeks, down his neck, and onto his chest.
Almost like when he’s coming.
“Let’s get out of here for a while.” Nathan grabbed his hand. They made it almost to the side door before he stopped. “Oh. Can you? I mean…. Can you?”
Paulie blinked. Between his fatigue (which didn’t bother him nearly as much as it had moments before) and Nathan’s special look aimed right at him….
“Or have you promised—”
“No. I can.”
Nathan’s posture relaxed immediately. He looked even more delicious than he had a moment before, and downright slinky as he cozied up to Paulie’s side. Nathan slipped an arm around his waist and applied gentle pressure to his lower back.
The door opened, and Paulie could only guess Nathan had opened it, because he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the triangle of bronze skin at Nathan’s throat, framed perfectly by the rich blue silk of his shirt. Paulie’s head practically spun with thoughts of the boathouse. Eric and Nathan hadn’t done anything with it yet—they’d been too busy to finalize a plan, let alone to turn Tim loose on it. As they slipped out the side door, Paulie remembered clearing a corner of the workbench so he could bend Nathan over it. Fucking Nathan while surrounded by the strangely charming scene of canoes, oars, and colorful antique glass floats hanging just below the ceiling, flashing colors around the dusty room, was one of his most revisited memories of the previous summer. It had been a long time ago, but the boathouse had seen enough action to become one of Paulie’s favorite places at the camp.
They’d only made it two steps across the porch when Paulie heard footsteps coming from the parking lot. The porch wrapped all the way around Buchanan House, but guests didn’t usually venture around the kitchen side. No reason for them to. There wasn’t really anything there, but the entire way around was well lit just in case. The crash of heavy footsteps came around the corner seconds before Paulie saw the men attached to it.
Nathan squealed in surprise and grabbed Paulie tighter.
The men didn’t notice them at first. They only had eyes for each other and seemed to be laughing about being lost. The pair stopped and pulled back a step when they first saw Nathan and Paulie, as though they expected trouble of some kind. Thankfully, they relaxed quickly. All four of them.
“Sorry, we’re looking for the beach. Where did it get off to?” The men leaned against each other and laughed.
Nathan kissed Paulie’s cheek and took a step away from him. His little smile held a big dose of regret, and Paulie nodded to accept his completely unneeded apology. “Let me show you.” Nathan waved them along. When Paulie turned to go back inside, Nathan took his hand and squeezed.
Paulie followed as Nathan led the couple around the building, down the wheelchair ramp, and through the backyard. Paulie hadn’t noticed the brick border separating the lawn from the flowerbed had been transformed into a path. He grinned, thinking about how little Nathan liked to wear shoes, despite the fact that he owned several dozen pairs. Paulie made a mental note to check out the new brick path in the light; in the dark backyard, lit with fairy lights and a few strategically placed solar yard lights, it made him think of a brick road a la The Wizard of Oz.
They’d almost reached the beach by then, and Nathan had started his story. The story he always told tipsy guests who wanted to go out to the beach. Especially at night. Nathan would remain with them until they came back off the beach, encouraging them to stay well away from the water. Nathan had told the story of how Eric had almost drowned to many guests with a daredevil bent. Since he left out the part about Tim saving him and the two of them falling madly in love, the story usually worked to keep drunken guests safe from the briny deep.
Thank you for reading!
If you’d like to read the whole story you can get your copy of Tiny House, Book #3 in the Buchanan House series, here:
Be sure and grab your free copy of Book #2 “Pride Weekend” here.
I have to keep the folks at the Evil Day Job happy but will be in and out as much as I can today, and throughout the weekend, to chat.
Random.org will choose a winner of the audiobook code for Buchanan House on Sunday evening (US Pacific Time). Have a great weekend!
Tiny House Blurb:
Pride weekend is over, but for Nathan Lucas, the summer is just heating up. He appears to have it all. He’s tall and blond, ripped and handsome, and half owner of Buchanan House, a successful gay retreat on Oregon’s beautiful central coast. But his joie de vivre hides a fear of abandonment. When he was twelve, his mother had triplets, and instead of the cherished only child, Nathan became a scapegoat for his exhausted parents, and he has never truly dealt with that pain.
Portland chef Paulie Nesbitt is head over heels in love with Nathan. They’ve been drinking buddies with benefits for years, while Paulie has not-so-secretly yearned for more. Paulie’s extra pounds and self-doubt have kept him from acting on his feelings. Their friends know they would make the perfect couple, but Nathan and Paulie will have to let go of past insecurities if they want a future together.
April 28, 2016
Hi, I’m S.C. Wynne and I wanted to talk about why I wrote Believing Rory.
“I guess I’m the stupid one for believing Rory.”
I woke up one morning with that line in my head. I don’t know where those words came from, but it started me thinking about all the things that might make a person say something like that. My brain went to suicide.
Suicide is ruthless. Suicide is brutal to those left behind.
But I think it’s sad that when someone commits suicide the natural result is every word they ever spoke and every promise they ever made comes into question. As if the only thing that mattered was their manner of death, not their life. Surely their life should mean far more?
The problem is suicide feels like a personal failure to those of us left behind. I think it’s our nature to think we could have done something to stop it. If we’d only been more loving, more alert. We take on the burden of that person’s death as if we actually were the ones who killed them.
My MC Lane struggles with all of these feelings when his best friend Rory takes his own life. He meets another friend of Rory’s, Baron, who is also devastated by Rory’s death. The two of them form an unlikely, romantic bond that was carefully orchestrated by Rory before his death.
I suppose by writing Believing Rory I wanted to show the struggle of those left behind, and perhaps reinforce that the way one dies can never erase who they were as a person.
Has your life been touched by suicide in any way? I’m willing to admit I had suicidal thoughts when I was younger. I’m thankful I never acted on them, but I remember those feelings very strongly. Did you ever suffer with depression or thoughts of harming yourself? Did anyone close to you struggle with suicidal thoughts?
Leave a comment and let’s discuss this sensitive topic. The two comments that resonate with me the most will win an ebook of their choice from my backlist.
Check out Believing Rory today!
Will Rory bring them together or stand between them?
Eighteen-year-old Lane Graham has always relied on his braver, more confident buddy, Rory. But Rory’s sudden suicide blindsides Lane and sends him into an emotional tailspin. How’s he supposed to start college in a few months feeling this damaged?
Baron MacDonald knew Rory from playing League of Legends together. He was always intrigued by Lane’s online presence, and Rory had promised to set them up. Now that Rory’s gone, Baron has to approach Lane on his own.
On the surface, Baron and Lane couldn’t seem more different. Baron is confident and serious, and Lane is guarded and uncertain. But it’s the pain beneath the flesh that binds these two souls together like barbed wire and cement.
April 25, 2016
My name is Michael Murphy and I’m here today to talk about my newest release A Night at the Ariston Baths. This book is very special to me for many reasons, one of which is that it has been in the works longer than anything else I’ve ever written. There really was a place called the Ariston Baths, and the core events described in this book actually took place there.
When we think of Stonewall and the Gay Revolution of the 1970s, we don’t always remember that conditions were slowly fermenting and building up over decades until everything blew apart in June of 1969. Some have said that Stonewall started with what happened at the Ariston Baths on a winter’s night in 1903. It was that night when New York City police conducted the first ever mass raid targeting men who had sex with men. While police would make many raids of gay gatherings over the decades that followed, the raid on the Ariston swept up more than 80 men and is is seen by many as the first step on road that ran for more than sixty years to the raid on the Stonewall Inn.
In turn of the century New York, there was a huge, vibrant, active gay subculture that existed just beyond sight of most people. What men wanted was simple – just to be able to carve out some space where it was safe for them to be together, a safe space. For years they had had that at the Ariston, one of the most upscale Turkish and Russian bathhouses in all of New York City. But that night when police swept in and scooped up more than 80 men, that safe space was destroyed.
When I first learned of this event and heard some of the things that happened to the men involved, I wanted to know more, but I couldn’t find anything more than a passing footnote in history books. It seemed absolutely criminal to me that the men whose lives were so dramatically changed that night in 1903 had been largely forgotten.
I had been in New York one summer doing research, trying to learn more about this episode in history. Later that same week I saw Elizabeth North and we sat and I described what I had found. She suggested I write this book. We spent a long time tossing ideas back and forth and she suggested an approach and a fictional character that could be the focal point of the story. I went with her approach and that is the book that is releasing now.
My character is Theodore McCall, a young gay man who grew up in far western rural Pennsylvania. Theodore was fortunate because his best friend growing up, Martin Fuller, was also gay. When they were discovering adolescence and that they were different than the other boys, they had one another. But Martin moved to New York City following high school, leaving Theodore behind where they had grown up.
When everything fell apart for him quite suddenly and dramatically, Theodore decided it was a sign that he should do something equally out of character – he bought a ticket and took the train to New York City to join his best friend, Martin. Now Martin had been in New York for several years by then and had scoped out everything and knew where to meet men. Martin was very bold and outgoing, while Theodore was more shy and reserved. Martin took his friend by the hand and introduced him to some of the joys of life in the city. One of those joys was a visit to a bathhouse that men of their kind frequented. And wouldn’t you know it, but the night Martin picked was the worst possible night to be present at the Ariston Baths.
But that’s just the start of the story. Theodore’s road is long from there. And while the story is a bad point in gay history, Theodore’s story is not equally bad. But you’ll just have to read the story to find out how.
If you have questions about the Ariston Russian and Turkish Bath and the men involved in the original story, please comment and I’ll do my best to answer your questions. Some of what went on there has been lost to history, but I have dug through every record I could identify to be able to piece together the real story.
Please be sure to swing by my website gayromancewriter.com to see my blog, some of my photos, and of course information on my books. I look forward to hearing from you.
Check out A Night at the Ariston Baths today!
In rural Pennsylvania, Theodore McCall lives on his family’s farm and works as a clerk at the local general store. While his best friend, Martin Fuller, thrives in New York City, Theodore trudges through life. But on New Year’s Eve, 1902, Theodore’s world is turned upside down, and big changes call for bold action.
Theodore, who has never ventured more than eight miles from home, undertakes the daunting journey to New York City to join Martin. But the Martin he finds in New York is a stranger, a different man, doing things Theodore finds shocking. After just two months in the City, Theodore’s world is upended again as he an, d Martin are swept up in the events at the Ariston Baths.
Haunted by his experiences in New York, Theodore returns home, wondering whether he’ll ever find happiness in life. When he meets Jasper Webb, Theodore must boldly risk everything for the love he so longs for.
April 22, 2016
“Knobs” by Scotty Cade
Two cadets from very different worlds. One forbidden love.
Scotty Cade here. First I’d like to thank Hayley at the Dreamspinner Press Blog for allowing me to tell you a little bit about “Knobs,” my newest release and let you meet Gus and Sam and get a glimpse into their daily life at the Citadel. Later in the posts you can read an excerpt and I will be telling you how you can win a book from my backlist.
So when I was asked to write these blog spots, I posted on Facebook and asked my fans what in particular they would like to know about Knobs, besides the premise of course. The answers came in fast and furious and included a history of the Citadel and what all this “Hell Week” stuff is all about, The inspiration for the book, Character interviews with each main character, as well as a little about cadet life. I have six blog posts to do so I can cover all these requests with one or two to spare. So here goes. I hope you enjoy.
Before we get started, here is the blurb for Knobs.
Angus Conrad (Gus) McRae is a privileged Charlestonian following family tradition and attending the Citadel, harboring big dreams of a military career. With the infamous hell week behind him, he quickly realizes being a Knob (a freshman cadet) is just as tough—especially for a man like Gus who must keep his sexuality a secret. Then a sudden dorm reassignment places him in a room with one of the football team’s top players: working-class jock Stewart Adam (Sam) Morley—and life gets increasingly complicated.
Gus can’t imagine a man like Sam as gay, yet there’s something between them—exchanged glances, the occasional innuendo. Sexual tensions rise, leaving them more than friends but less than lovers. Gus and Sam know there’s too much to lose and they must keep their attraction hidden. If they fail, they risk destroying their hopes and dreams for a prosperous future in a military world that’s not yet ready to accommodate masculine gay men.
Sam sitting comfortably on his bunk in his dorm room waiting for Gus, looking a little nervous.
Q- While we wait for Gus why don’t you tell us about yourself Sam. And remember this is off the record. Nothing you say here can ever be used against you. I want the real story.
Sam sighed and seemed to relax just a bit.
A – Hey ya’ll. Sam teases drawing out the word like the Southerners do with much amusement.
I am Cadet Stewart Adam Morley and I am a freshman or a Knob at The Citadel, a conservative military academy located in Charleston, South Carolina. A ‘Knob’ is a freshman and during our first year attending the Citadel, we are pushed to our mental and physical limits day in and day out. So next time you’re feeling down, rejected, insulted, made fun of, or generally upset, just remember: it could be worse. You could be a Knob.
Each time I see an upperclassman, I have to tuck in my chin and shaved head until it becomes one with my neck, push out my hips, and arch my back with my hands at my sides. I must always know my next three meals by heart, and can be interrupted at any time in the non-existent privacy of our tiny rooms in the barracks. A room I share with Gus. I mean Cadet Angus Conrad McRae III. A mouthful huh? And speaking of, Sam looks at his watch. I have no idea where he is. He was supposed to be here five minutes ago. He is normally very prompt. We all are. We have to be.
Life as a ‘Knob,’ makes me realize I am not as tough as I thought I was, but that I can do better, more than I ever thought I could.”
Q – Give us a little more about your personal life.
A – A little more about me? Well, I hail from Southfield, Michigan, just outside of Detroit and it wasn’t always what I’d call comfortable. While some of the areas were nice, the block I grew up on wasn’t the safest. But I knew the streets, knew what areas to avoid, and once I was behind the multiple locks on my front door, I always enjoyed a sense of security only home could provide.
When I’d finally decided to accept the football scholarship I was offered to the Citadel, the anxiety over leaving home wasn’t the only thing weighing heavily on me. I mean…I was twenty, and it was time, but the thought of my mom having to care for my younger siblings and herself without me around was daunting. I was the man of the house. I’d taken on that role at twelve when my stepdad had followed in the shoes of my real dad and split. No note, no forwarding address, just gone. Well, back then we hadn’t needed the lazy bastard. My mom and siblings had me. But now I was also leaving. Not like my father and stepdad had, but I was leaving all the same. It didn’t matter how many times Mom had tried to convince me otherwise, I’d felt like I was abandoning my family, my responsibilities, and it sucked.
When I left for the Citadel, I’d never been away from home. I knew nothing about Charleston, South Carolina. The people were all strangers, the streets unfamiliar. Yet it was going to be my home for the next four years.
I thought I was prepared, but that’s what I get for thinking so highly of myself. The entire Citadel system is designed to strip us of our individuality, ‘Knob year’ aims to make me a seamless part of the greater group. I must know the name of every upperclassman, or risk punishments, which includes running around the perimeter of the four story fortress in my underwear, so inside the barracks and outside the confines of my room, a word from me is rarely heard.
I’ve had the door to my room kicked open at all hours of the night, been berated for a single article of clothing out of place and then had all my articles of clothing pulled from my drawers and locker and tossed onto the floor. Once I was able to complete the pushups I was forced to do, again in my underwear, I might add, then and only then was I able to go back to my room and put everything away and prepare for another inspection.
Duty. Honor. Respect. Is my motto. And for the next four years I will eat, sleep, breathe and live it. Along with Sam of course. I can do anything if Sam is by my side.
The door opens and a handsome cadet walks in.
There you are. Sam says. Finally, this is my roommate Gus.
Gus is out of breath. Sorry. My class ran a little late.
No problem. Sam said. I covered the Knob stuff.
Q – He did. So just start by telling a little about yourself Gus.
A – Okay. Well, I guess I’ll start by telling you I come from what southerners might call a fine Charleston Family. Other non Charlestonian’s might simply call it a privileged upbringing, but either way I’m grateful for everything I had growing and everything I have now,” Gus says looking at Sam and winking.
Sam beams with pride. He leans over and squeezes Gus’ knee playfully.
Let’s see. My father is a Charleston attorney and he along with my grandfather are both graduates of the Citadel. It was a given that I would attend the Citadel, but what I was to major in? Now that was a different story. Since I was young, I always wanted a career in the military, but my family wants me to join the family law practice and this has been a very touchy subject and the source of many arguments between us since I was fifteen years old.”
Q – Were you groomed for the Citadel from a young age and were you prepared when you arrived?
A – Let’s just say I was groomed. In fact, by the time I was twelve, I had every book about the Citadel ever written and had even memorized the The Guidon.”
Q – The Guidon?
A – It’s the Knob bible, so to speak.
Q – I see.
A – So was I prepared? I thought I was. Or at least acted like I was. But let’s just say, the day before I was to report, in the solitude of my bedroom, with no prying eyes and no pretenses to keep up, I lowered my defenses and allowed myself a rare moment to doubt that I could really pull this off.
I mean…I stared at my bed and looked at the few things I was allowed to bring. And I thought. This stuff is going to be my life for the next four years. But that wasn’t completely true. The stuff on my bed along with grueling physical training and an impossible academics schedule—that was going to be my life. I think I’d just been determined to be strong. But then I remember thinking about Hell Week and breaking into a cold sweat, my stomach starting to churn. I had to get through hell week or nothing else mattered.
So outwardly, yeah I thought I was prepared. But to be honest, even my worst nightmares didn’t compare to the real thing.
But everything changed when I saw Sam across a room on matriculation day. He’d already been through Hell Week because the Corps Squad, I mean the athletes, have matriculation day one week ahead of the rest of the Knobs. We locked eyes and although we hadn’t met, I felt a connection to him. And right then and there I knew if he could do it, so could I. And I did.
Q – Is that when you two met?
A – Not really. No.
Q – Then when?”
A – On second day of hell week, my roommate quit and I was left without a roommate. And then Sam came through the door carrying his duffle bags. That the first time we officially met.
We’d locked eyes across a couple crowded rooms but we’d never even said hello. The funny thing is that when we did meet, we didn’t really hit it off.
Q – You didn’t?
A – No. Sam thought I was a privileged asshole, and maybe I was a little, but I tried not to be.
Q – Its obvious you two care about each other now. When did that happen?
A – Care doesn’t begin to capture what we have.
Q- Okay sorry. So how do you maintain a relationship with so many restrictions?
A – Let’s just say we make do.
Gus and Sam both looked at the back of their dorm room door.
A – We spend a lot of time there.
Q – At the back of the door?
A – Yep. It’s the only place we can be intimate. And by intimate, I mean steal a kiss every now and then.
Q – Just a kiss? No sex?
A – No sex. We could get expelled for that, but we manage. I can wait for this man as long as it takes. But I don’t want to sacrifice our educations for something that we can wait for.
Q – Okay Cadets. I think I get the idea. Thanks for you time.
A – Our pleasure.
In closing, I hope this gives you a good understanding of the discipline required to attend the Citadel and just a sneak peak into Gus and Sam’s world. The fact that they were able to find unexpected love in such a demanding environment and make it work shows the depth of their commitment. If you’ve ever been pushed to your limits, I’d like to hear about it. Please posts and each entry will be eligible for a free copy of “The Royal Street Heist.” Book one in the Bissonet & Cruz Investigations series.
Check out Knobs today!
Here’s where you can find me and “Knobs”, as well as my other stories.
Scotty Cade left Corporate America and twenty-five years of Marketing and Public Relations behind to buy an Inn & Restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard with his partner of over twenty years. He started writing stories as soon as he could read, but just five years ago for publication. When not at the Inn, you can find him on the bow of his boat writing gay romance novels with his Shetland sheepdog Mavis at his side. Being from the south and a lover of commitment and fidelity, most of his characters find their way to long healthy relationships, however long it takes them to get there. He believes that in the end, the boy should always get the boy.
“Are you gonna come in and close the door behind you?” Gus asked sarcastically. “Or are all the cadets going to get to see me in my underwear?”
Sam was sort of standing there more for effect than anything, but his eyes were glued to Gus’s body. His stomach was ripped, and the muscles in his thighs were visible through the legs of his boxer briefs.
“Okay,” Sam said. “If I close the door, will you at least talk to me?”
Gus shook his head. “I really don’t think you want to hear what I have to say right now.”
“I think you’re wrong about that,” Sam said, stepping in and allowing the door to close behind him.
Sam removed his cover and tossed it onto his bunk. He was tired of this cat-and-mouse game. Instead of untying his shoes, he brought his left foot up and tugged at his shoe until it came off. He tossed the shoe into the bottom of his locker, making quite the thud, and removed the right one much the same way.
He turned and rested his hands on his hips. “Are you gonna talk to me now?”
Gus didn’t respond. He went to his closet, removed his toiletries bag, and headed for the door. Sam took two steps forward, put both hands on Gus’s shoulders, spun him around, and backed him up against the door.
Their faces were so close Sam could feel Gus’s warm breath against his cheek.
Sam slammed one hand against the back of the door while leaving the other one on Gus’s shoulder. “Fuck, Gus! Yell at me. Curse me out. Do something. Don’t just give me the silent treatment. You’re not leaving this room until you talk to me.”
Gus smiled incredulously. “So, what? You’re gonna hold me hostage now?”
“If that’s what it takes,” Sam said.
“Fine! You want me to talk? Here goes. You are the most selfish bastard I’ve ever met. You’ve treated me like shit since the first day we met, and I’m not going to be your punching bag anymore. Please go to the Academic Officer and ask for a transfer. Tell him we’re incompatible. I’ll back you up on that one.”
“I don’t want a transfer,” Sam said, his lips now inches away from Gus’s.
“Why not?” Gus said quietly through clenched teeth, just in case there were any stray cadets roaming around in the hall. “You’ve done everything possible to offend me and my family. Why not move on to another cadet? Go ahead, man, share the charms of Stewart Adam Morley with the entire Citadel, one cadet at a time.”
Gus glared at him, the normal bright silver-gray of his eyes now a dark, gloomy gray. “Furthermore, you can fuck with me all you want, but leave my crazy family out—”
Sam had heard enough. Before Gus could finish his sentence, Sam covered Gus’s lips in a crushing kiss.
April 22, 2016
Hi all! Charley Descoteaux here, to celebrate the release of my first free short with Dreamspinner! It’s also my first ever “Book #2” so I’m super excited! “Pride Weekend” is the second book in my Buchanan House series and is like an appetizer, a sexy little hors d’oeuvre to whet your appetite for next week’s release of Book #3, the full length novel Tiny House!
If you enjoy audiobooks stick around, I’m giving away a code for the audiobook version of Buchanan House, the first book in the series, to one random commenter on this post.
I’m always curious about how the stories I love came to be written so I thought I’d talk about what inspired me to write “Pride Weekend”. I’ve always been in awe of people with talent in the visual arts. How cool must it be to imagine something, create it physically, and have it look like your original vision—or better?! I’ve experienced this with knitting and crocheting, but it’s just not the same with writing.
When it came time to design a cover for Buchanan House I asked for L.C. Chase because I love her style and it fit well with the stories. I’m a huge fangirl and hope for the chance to work with all of my favorite cover artists! I told her the book was an angst-lite beach read and she came up with three different covers that were all wonderful—including the one that eventually became the cover for “Pride Weekend”. As soon as I saw it a story popped into my head fully-formed. I love it when that happens!
While I was planning out the Buchanan House series, I thought it would be fun to have a short or two about guests at the camp. A guest visiting for a long weekend would have a very different perspective on the camp, and the people who run it, than just about everyone in the first book. “Pride Weekend” is, of course, focused on the main characters Adam and Silas, but the camp doesn’t run itself. ☺ I hope you’ll enjoy seeing Nathan through the eyes of these two guests.
Here’s an excerpt where Adam arrives at the camp and gets an eyeful!
Getting dating advice from an aggregate news site didn’t seem like something to be proud of, but as I sat in my car, getting my first look at Buchanan House, I couldn’t find it in me to be embarrassed. I’ve never been much of joiner, nor had I any interest in the club scene. Or in downloading an app to my phone, where my nosy but well-meaning sister could accidentally-on-purpose find it. I’d considered forums before, but every other time had found a “reason” not to create an account. In short, circumstances had controlled the abysmal state of my love life almost since high school. When I came across the article disseminating the results of an online dating survey, including the URLs of a few sites I hadn’t heard of, it seemed particularly serendipitous.
Hoping “Polysemous24”—Silas—would show up eventually, I forced myself to stop acting like a creeper in the parking lot and go up to the house. My suitcase had wheels, but it wouldn’t be rolling on the gravel. Glad I’d packed light—because how many changes of clothes does one man need for three days, even if it is Pride weekend—I carried my things to Buchanan House. Clever. I’d liked the sound of it even before I read the article that practically said it was a gay, landlocked version of The Love Boat.
It didn’t seem grander in person, which was a little surprising considering the pictures online had been almost unassuming. Rustic and homey was more like it—a long, low building with only two floors, surrounded by trees, trees, and more trees. I like the outdoors as much as the next guy, but it was a relief to hear Madonna over the sounds of the ocean when I got close to the open front doors.
Okay, the only thing I like about the outdoors is…. Okay, I don’t like the outdoors.
But I was there, and this had been my idea in the first place, so I climbed the porch steps. The inside of the lobby looked like an old movie set from a time when travel had been treated as an event. I was warming to the whole plan even before the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen glided up to me and smiled as he looked me over. Compared to everyone else in view, I was seriously overdressed in my khakis and salmon polo.
“Hello, sweetheart,” he said and extended a hand. His grip was surprisingly firm for a man wearing purple pants, a pink feather boa, and nothing else. “I’m Nathan Lucas, your hostess with the mostest. And who might you be?”
“Adam. Adam Byron. I—I mean, we have a reservation.”
“Hello, Mr. Byron.” He winked and swished back behind the counter. He pulled an old-fashioned guestbook from behind the desk and put two keys with oval brass holders on top of it as he spoke. “Welcome to Buchanan House. You’re in room seven—that’s top of the stairs and to your left. Once you get settled in, come down and join the party. At least until your friend shows up.” He winked again and moved the book toward me an inch or two.
I had to remind myself what to do—he was so tall, tanned, and blond, my brain just stopped functioning for a few seconds. I signed my name where he indicated and read the name below: Silas Grant.
Mr. Lucas asked if I wanted to take both keys with me.
“Um, no thanks. I might take a walk on the beach before Pol—Silas gets here.” My ears felt like they’d burn off my head because I’d almost called Silas by his online handle instead of his name. Not that I thought I was the only gay man to ever meet someone online… but I might be the only one who was meeting that someone for the first time at a gay retreat three hours from home.
Nathan pressed the key into my hand and closed my fingers around it. I hadn’t noticed him coming back around the counter, but he practically floated instead of walked, so I let myself off the hook for that one. “If you want to have a drink first, we’re having appletinis and rainbow Jell-O shots. Don’t be shy. If there’s anything I can do for you, Adam, let me know.” He looked me over and might have even nodded before turning and sashaying away in the direction of the music. A smattering of cheers and applause greeted him as he passed into the next room.
After I’d made the reservation, I’d received an e-mail outlining all the festivities planned for Pride weekend—both at Buchanan House and in Lincoln City. I’d missed the kick-off party on Thursday and almost hoped I would be too busy to attend the indie film screening scheduled for Sunday evening. Apparently, the “Come as You Are” party was in full swing. The open floor plan allowed a view of a dozen or so scantily clad men, most with drinks and small plates in their hands, or dancing. Every last one of them was worth at least a second look.
I felt a little winded from the whole exchange and was suddenly glad the room was only one floor up. It surprised me by turning out to be even more beautiful than the pictures, with a stone fireplace, large bed, and a daybed. The colorful garden beyond the back window and the place where the river met the ocean appeared inviting enough, but I wasn’t there to appreciate the flora. I was counting on the fauna downstairs to make the weekend memorable.
If I could work up the courage to go back down.
First I unpacked and changed into shorts and a red T-shirt. And then I changed into a green tank top. I was about to pull it off and try another style and color when someone knocked on the door. As I crossed the room, my heart pounded fast in my throat, then felt like it stopped when I pulled the door open.
Thanks for reading! “Pride Weekend” is free so don’t forget to grab your copy—just click here.
If you’d like a chance to win a copy of the audiobook version of the first book in the series, Buchanan House, leave me a comment and leave an answer to this question: What color is your feather boa?
Mine would be purple, shot through with tinsel!
I’ll be back again next Friday to celebrate the release of Tiny House, with another audiobook code to give away. Hope to see you there!
I’ll be back throughout the weekend to chat, and on Sunday evening (US Pacific Time) to choose a winner from the comments.
Speaking of free fiction, I’d like to invite you to my group on Facebook. It’s called Rainbow Snippets, and every Saturday morning (Pacific Time in the US) I pin a post for writers, authors, and bloggers of LGBTQ+ fiction to leave links to their 6-sentence snippets. You can see a sample on my blog here, and if it sounds like something you’d be interested in we’d love to have you join us. The more the merrier!
April 20, 2016
When I was young, I was informed that writing wasn’t a career. It was a hobby, a thing you did when you happened to have some time from doing your Real Life. Going to college. Getting a job. Getting married, having kids. Being “normal”.
It cannot be a surprise that ‘normal’ was never on my list of personal descriptors. I thought I wanted to do the college thing, though it did not hold my attention too terribly well. I knew I wanted a career—that was what I’d been told to do in order to be successful. I was ambivalent about marriage, and terrified of children.
And here I sit in a coffeehouse with a Macbook—what in the world has happened to the old Computer Science major—trying to decide how to interact with strangers who think that my writing is valuable. That this story I’ve painfully eked out despite my past, my thoughts, my fears, is something they find entertaining. I just have to say, you, dear readers, are amazing. Without you, so much of worth would be lost. Thank you.
My name is Sera Kane, and today I am proud and honoured to introduce you to my novella Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow.
When I originally lurked around on DSP wondering if I dared to try, I was caught by an anthology call. For cooking type things. Something of which I know essentially nothing about. My spouse is the chef in our household. I’ve failed at boiling water.
No. Seriously. He had to take over. And, yes, the water did start boiling for him, almost immediately.
It would be a challenge, then. A challenge to write a story that tied into cooking. I could tap into my spouse’s knowledge, though, and, really, that’s where the recipe at the end came from. A challenge to write under a deadline. But I am lackadaisical at best when it comes to scheduling, so a deadline would force me to work at a steady pace. A challenge to write for the sole purpose of trying to get it published.
It was the last that I most feared.
LoH is a story of two men hiding from their fears. Aimes Cully is a full-blooded human, something unusual in a world where ‘fae’ blood has diluted the world. When his brother—and only surviving family member—disappears after being accepted as a chef at the palace, Aimes sets out to be accepted, too. But magic is possible through one’s fae heritage, so Aimes must find other ways to make up for his lack and that includes chancy raids into faerie rings.
Fae. Faerie. Elf. So many misnomers for his kind, the Elfaegaard, and very little truth of his ancestry remains among the humans, mixed blood or not. Keanewyeth Ordioral, however, is unaffected by any of these could-be slurs, for he is the lord of his own hollow. A cursed hollow. He is a prisoner within the home of his own lands. For two centuries, Keane has been trapped here with no opportunity for escape. He cannot leave and none come and so, he’s been alone. Until a particular human is captured attempting to plunder one of his hollow’s rings, and, suddenly, Keanewyeth is reminded of the outside world and all that he has been locked away from, not the least of which is the love of another.
As their pasts cross, Aimes must come to terms with the truth of his family, and Keane must confront his so that they have a chance to overcome their fears and emerge into a brighter future, together.
Aimes and Keane are gentle reminders that we can reach beyond our current circumstances to find better things. Not just running wildly in any direction, like Aimes, or hiding like Keane, but with focused purpose. You are not defined by your circumstances, no matter how easy it is for others to try to do that to you. You are valid and worthwhile, exactly as you are.
It’s so easy to let fear decide our reactions to things, but it doesn’t have to be a wall keeping us from our hopes and dreams! When is a time that you’ve used fear to motivate you to accomplish your goals? Is there a time you overcame your fear to do something anyway? Or even a time when the fear kept you from doing it?
One thing you don’t need to fear, though, is boredom! I’m pleased to announce an exclusive giveaway. One lucky traveler will be chosen to receive a copy of Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow. Your entry fee is merely to comment here! I need a chance to meet you, after all! We can talk about fears, cooking, writing, anything you’d like. I’m happy to answer questions or just shoot the breeze. So, dear travelers, let’s meet!
Check out Lord of Hearth, Lord of Hollow today!
Culinary school is hard enough for Aimes Cully without mixing in an utterly underwhelming physical appearance—too small, too delicate, too red-haired, too freckled, too human—added with the inability to magically improve the food—still too human—and facing the too beautiful, too fae-looking Aleksi’s teases and taunts. When rumors surface that Aimes’s older brother’s success is a lie, Aimes is determined to prove them wrong and show that pure-blooded humans are the equal of anyone with mixed blood.
But things get worse after Aimes is caught in a faerie ring and transported to the fae hollow of Lord Keanewyeth Ordorial. As the attraction heats up, it becomes obvious that there’s something wrong in the magical home. A cursed creature appears, and everything becomes jumbled as the secrets of their lives collide into a painful concoction of Aimes’s past and Keanewyeth’s present. But if they can meld their talents, they might be able to save each.
Sera Kane has loved the written word for essentially forever, in this particular case, somewhere in the range of thirty years or so. She writes to share the fantastical things that go on in her mind on a daily basis. Her secret-but-not-so-secret desire is to write pieces that are impossible to put down. And, also, to kill off a beloved character. She has not succeeded at either of these things, but be warned that she wants to!
She currently lives in southern California, but she’s been quite a few places in her day! Her favourites include Washington– the state, not DC– Texas, and Japan. Her house is filled by an exceedingly tall husband, a very swift son, a derpy German Shepherd, and a grumpy yet loving Shih-Tzu. If she ever won the lottery, she’d have houses in all three of those places and breed Shepherds in at least one of them.
April 20, 2016
Hey y’all! I’m BA Tortuga and I write cowboys and rednecks, and I love my life.
I didn’t always love it, to be honest. I didn’t come out of the closet until my thirties, I was in an abusive marriage, I was ill and trapped and scared.
Then I met my wife and my world changed.
When I wrote Old Town New, so many years ago, we (Julia and I) were in flux – trying to figure out a new relationship, a whole new world that we didn’t quite know how to navigate. True story.
One of the things I discovered about myself in this time (and explored in this book, to be honest) was that, when I’m scared, I go home. Mentally, emotionally, physically – I want my daddy, I want my tiny home town, I want the illusion of safety (because, let’s be honest, small town east Texas? Less than safe for your average tattooed lesbian). I want comfort food like nachos and chicken fried steak and chili and my mom’s mashed potatoes. I want bluebonnets and horses and rodeo and cardinals feeding in the backyard.
Now, interestingly enough, I never stay there, because I’m a wanderer. I want to see new things and go new places and do something wild and scary.
When I wrote Old Town New, I’d just gone up to see Julia in Colorado for the first time.
It was when we admitted things were going to change. In the book, Quinn comes home and finds Danny who’s trapped in his small town universe. Quinn shakes everything up and finds his soul soothed.
Grins. These days? My home is where my wife is, even when I’m scared. She’s my heart and where the world is.
Much love, y’all.
Check out Old Town New today!
Danny Avers is a teacher in small town Colorado. Back in the day, before high-speed Internet, social media, smartphones, or streaming anything, Danny’s just trying to live down his wild teenage years and carry on the only way he knows how: one day at a time. The last person he expects to see back in town is Harlan Quinn, his old best friend and former consummate bad boy. And when he finds out Quinn is the new sheriff and his new neighbor, it’s even more of a shock.
Quinn knows there’s more to his old hometown than meets the eye. There’s more to Danny than old memories and quiet living too. But as in the past, stirring things up is Quinn’s specialty, and he sets out to do that, in more ways than one, pushing Danny to admit there’s more to life and that their old town just might manage to be new again. That’s if old town thinking doesn’t get them both killed.
About BA Tortuga
Texan to the bone and an unrepentant Daddy’s Girl, BA Tortuga spends her days with her basset hounds and her beloved wife, texting her sisters, and eating Mexican food. When she’s not doing that, she’s writing. She spends her days off watching rodeo, knitting and surfing Pinterest in the name of research. BA’s personal saviors include her wife, Julia Talbot, her best friend, Sean Michael, and coffee. Lots of coffee. Really good coffee.
Having written everything from fist-fighting rednecks to hard-core cowboys to werewolves, BA does her damnedest to tell the stories of her heart, which was raised in Northeast Texas, but has heard the call of the high desert and lives in the Sandias. With books ranging from hard-hitting GLBT romance, to fiery menages, to the most traditional of love stories, BA refuses to be pigeon-holed by anyone but the voices in her head. Find her on the web at www.batortuga.com
April 19, 2016
In our new book, Wyatt’s Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars, Clancy Nacht and I tell the tale of a home chef with no culinary training who wins a rock star’s heart through the power of tasty nibbles. (Some of those nibbles are of food, and some are more sexual in nature.) No spoilers, but in the end, what our rock star, Tully, really wants is a good peach cobbler. Given that this story was inspired by a trip to Atlanta, Wyatt’s version is elaborate and requires orchard-fresh peaches, but we wanted to provide an easy version for our beloved readers anywhere in the world that could be made any time of year. Give it a try. It has the Clancy Nacht Cobbler Connoisseur stamp of approval.
10 cups frozen sliced peaches – do not thaw
3 tbsp fresh-squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp bourbon vanilla
3/4 c granulated sugar
3/4 c light brown sugar
1/4 tsp table salt
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
8 tbsp butter
1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c light brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp table salt
4 tbsp shortening
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp bourbon vanilla
1/2 c chopped walnuts
1. Measure 10 cups frozen sliced peaches into a large mixing bowl (the bigger the better) and allow to thaw for 10 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. While oven preheats, place 8 tbsp butter in 9″x9″ square metal pan (sides at least 2″ high) and let sit in oven until melted and brown. I recommend keeping the pan on a cookie sheet for the entire recipe.
4. Pour lemon juice and vanilla over peaches, toss well, and let sit.
5. Check butter. If it’s properly melted and golden, remove it from the oven and tilt the pan to coat the bottom and edges thoroughly.
6. In a second mixing bowl, combine filling sugars, salt, spices, and flour with a fork, making certain the brown sugar does not clump.
7. Pour melted butter over peaches to coat them, then layer them into the pan along with their juices, interspersing with flour mixture evenly. If the melted butter coagulates from the cold, simply scrape it into the pan along with the rest. It will melt again soon enough.
8. Cover pan tightly with foil and slide into middle rack of oven. Set timer for 45 minutes.
9. In medium mixing bowl, combine remaining dry ingredients except for walnuts. Cut shortening into dry mixture until it achieves an even, cornmeal texture.
10. In small bowl, beat together eggs and vanilla, then add to the dry mixture.
11. Gently fold nuts into crust mixture. It should be thick, sticky, and wet, somewhere between cake batter and pastry dough. Do not overblend.
12. When timer goes off, do not turn off oven. Remove pan to heat-safe surface and discard foil.
13. Stir peaches thoroughly. The flour mixture should coat them like a grainy, pinkish syrup. Make certain the coldest center peaches move to the outside of the pan and the heat distribution is made even.
14. Dot the surface of the peach mixture with crust dough. The procedure is more like making a crisp than a pastry-topped cobbler. Make certain the edges of the pan get a good distribution of the crust mixture to ensure plenty of crunchy texture to contrast the velvety filling.
15. Bake uncovered 45 minutes. When done, it will be intensely fragrant and golden brown. Crust will appear hard on surface but will be tender underneath.
And that’s it! If you have a rock star crush with a hankering for peach cobbler, now you know what to feed him. Happy eatin’, y’all!
Check out Wyatt’s Recipes for Wooing Rock Stars today!
Wyatt Parker has a good life—he owns his own construction company, his own house, and he eats home-cooked meals every day. But cooking for one while watching the foodie network is more than lonely. When he learns about an upcoming reality show centered on becoming the personal chef for his favorite rock star, Wyatt leaps at the chance to audition.
Tully Randolph is the drummer for the band Unusual Potatoes. With a chef for a mom, love of good food runs in the family. When he’s asked to host a cooking competition, he’s all in—especially after he meets Wyatt, who is just the kind of big, hairy guy who gets Tully’s juices flowing. With a heart as big as he is, Wyatt wows Tully with his skills in the kitchen… and in the bedroom.
But if their relationship is found out, Wyatt could be drummed out of the competition—and out of Tully’s life. All the ingredients for a happy future are in front of them, and they just need to figure out how to bring everything together.
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Clancy Nacht is a bisexual genderqueer person who lives in Austin with a husband and three feral rescue cats. Clancy has published several ARe bestselling contemporary romantic thriller m/m and m/f stories. Three of her books have been honored with Rainbow Awards; Le Jazz Hot won for #1 Best Bisexual/Transgender Romance & Erotic Romance. In 2013, Black Gold: Double Black was a runner up for a Rainbow Award and in 2015, Gemini won an Honorable Mention for Gay Erotic Romance at the Rainbow Awards. Her books have been nominated for several Goodreads M/M Readers Choice Awards.
Thursday Euclid is a 30-something queer trans man from Houston, Texas, who spends most of his time writing, playing computer games, or watching films and television of questionable quality. Two facts about Thursday: he spent the happiest night of his life in the pit at a Radiohead concert, and hot and sour soup is the easiest way to his heart. He is a rebel with many causes and a Rainbow Award winner.