What If? with Amberly Smith

August 28, 2015

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Anyone up for a game of what-if? That’s how my story Marriage Most Convenient all started, what-ifs and friendship. I’m Amberly Smith and I’m really psyched to chat you all up.

My best girlfriend and I have known each other for over twenty years, since high school. Our kids are of an age, our spouses are proud geeks, and we’ve got the good dirt on each other. A while ago she showed me a listing for a military silo and the what-ifs began. We probably drank oolong tea and ate homemade ginger cookies, though I can’t recall for sure. It might have been a Saint Mark for me and a Long Island for her. The silo’s previous owners had converted the bunker-grade home into a beautiful retreat and had several acres to sell separately. What if you wanted to buy this place? What if you could only fly in and out because there were no roads? Where would you get the money? Who would you have to kill, sleep with, or marry to have that kind of dough? I like my creature comforts, I don’t want to live in the middle of nowhere, so what kind of person does?

The thing about what-if, it’s a game that can haunt you. Play with caution, fellow readers, play with caution. I wrote Marriage Most Convenient as a way of answering those questions. And because marriage of convenience stories, who doesn’t love those? From back cover blurb:

No bank is going to give a nomadic thrill seeker a loan. Even if Tom Flynn wants to develop and run a retreat for disabled kids. Good thing he is finally old enough to pull from his trust fund. However, it would mean settling down—because accessing the money requires him to be married—so he asks his best friend, Luke, to marry him.

So this is where the friendship steps back in. I love stories with banter, with characters who know each other well enough to see the flaws. Yes, there is still the excitement of new love, a deeper connection but with friendship? That complicates things, makes things more vibrant.

Luke Marten’s goal is simple: don’t go on one more crazy adventure with Tom. Knowing how successful he has been in the past, Luke has a backup plan: don’t fall in love. He’s a goner when Tom not only proposes but confesses to one seriously hot kink.

For their friendship to survive this marriage, they’ll need to face DOMA, conservative judges, and long held beliefs about each other. Talk about getting caught by the short hairs.

 

The story I’m working on now is different, futuristic sci-fi, but it also started with a question. What if the government figured out how to make super soldiers but no one man can hold all the abilities?

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Now for a rousing game of what-if, your turn edition. What if you desperately need a vacation? How far would you go to get what you want? And, because all great adventures should involve friendship, who do you take with you?

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You can also chat me up on Facebook, my website, Twitter or Goodreads.

 

Check out Marriage Most Convenient today!

MarriageMostConvenientFS

Finding Your Guardian Angel with Diane Adams

August 27, 2015

Finding YourGuardian Angel

Hello, I’m Diane Adams and I’m here to share the second edition release of my book Rearranging Stars. It came out yesterday and I’m super stoked to have the book available again. It was published the first time in 2011, which was a long time ago, and yet not so long I can’t remember some details about writing it. One of those details is the song that inspired the book. Guardian Angel by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus.

I first conceived the idea for the book after listening to the song. Because of the title I found myself thinking about angels and it occurred to me how crowded the world would seem if we could see the angels following us around. My imagination drifted to the idea of being the only one who could see them. Of course a story about me seeing guardian angels would be ho-hum at best, but a hot guy like Grey, oh yeah, that was another matter. With the idea for his character firmly in mind I moved on to the stage of jotting down notes and began to flesh out the rules for the angels he could see. Soon after that Drake appeared to challenge the status quo.

It’s never easy to take a stand against long held rules and traditions. It takes a kind of iron will that not everyone possesses. Heroes are born from the people willing to step forward without thought of personal cost to make a difference. Sometimes such actions require the ultimate sacrifice. Those are some of the ideas I explored as I wrote Drake and Grey’s story.

Drake is an angel. Grey is human. They are not real but even in fiction some heroes emerge bold and bright and change the world. Others wake up each day care for the people in their lives and create a safe haven for the ones they love. Daily living requires a type of heroism that is often overlooked. I believe not giving up in the face of the minutiae of life requires more strength of heart than making a grand stand.

It’s fun to write and imagine beings like guardian angels taking special care of us. Of course reality isn’t populated by hot angels with magnificent wings, but the lucky among us have people in our lives watching over us. Those who love us not just during the best times but in all the times. They are sometimes those we expect, like family members, but sometimes a guardian angel turn out to be someone who takes us completely by surprise.

Thank you for stopping by today. Do you have a guardian angel in your life? Please take a few minutes to share the story with us. I’m looking forward to reading all about them and will give away a free book to someone randomly drawn from those who share their story with me.

I’d like to take a moment to thank everyone at DreamSpinner Press who have helped with the rerelease of my book. Rearranging Stars isn’t my first time working with DreamSpinner. I published a few short stories several years ago. This is my first book published with them and I’ve enjoyed the experience very much. The editing experience was wonderful. My editors were supportive and helpful. My cover, created by the incredibly talented Paul Richmond, is a dream come true. When I saw the initial cover sketch I felt as if he had pulled an image of the passionate tenderness shared between Drake and Grey straight from my mind. The detail of Grey’s fingers tangled in black feathers. Perfection.

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I am so proud of this edition of Rearranging Stars. I sincerely hope you enjoy it.

Get Rearranging Stars here!

Please keep in touch!

My website: http://dianeadams.virtualdelusions.com/

Facebook: Diane Adams

Twitter: @d_adams

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – Good morning, Goodnight , and Good Afternoon (and one more chance to win)

August 26, 2015

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This is me wrapping up for the night. I know it’s late for some, very late for others, and midafternoon for still others. Thank you all who’ve dropped in to say hi and please keep commenting. If you want to have one more chance to win a copy comment here and tell me what you think might happen in Bowerbirds. Feel free to throw out completely outlandish, crack monkey ideas. Start with alien abduction and go from there.

I’m going to be heading to the Romance Writers of New Zealand annual conference tomorrow but I’ll check these posts during tea breaks and I won’t draw the giveaway winners until Sunday my time (Saturday for most everyone else.)

For all of you who went and bought a copy today thank you so very much. I really, truly, hope you enjoy it. A lot of work by a lot of different people went into getting this story out to you. Cooper West, Roan, my senior editor Tricia Kristufek, as well as an untold number of proofreaders put epic effort into cleaning up all my dyslexic inspired oops. And I can’t sign off without mentioning Paul Richmond and his amazing cover art.

So again thank you all, good night, and happy reading.

Ada Maria Soto

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Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner Press

ThankYouComeAgain

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – Excerpt 3

August 26, 2015

I can’t help it, there’s nothing like a guy in a tux. I just had to get James and Gabe into formal clothes at least once. Then of course I had to get those clothes off.

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The doors slid open. A Town Car was waiting at the curb. They didn’t talk as they made the short trip to Gabe’s building. They just held hands and watched the lights go past outside.

They didn’t even talk as the elevator took them swiftly and smoothly up to Gabe’s place. The lights automatically came on as they stepped out of the elevator, neither too fast nor too bright; a soft fade-up to a warm glow.

Gabe stepped close and pulled on James’s bow tie until it came loose and slipped from around his neck. He let it drop through his fingers; it fell to the floor without even a whisper. He put the tips of his fingers to James’s cheek next. James leaned into them, noticing the way two were rough and two were smooth. Gabe must have been chewing on them again.

He reached up and pulled on Gabe’s tie. It slid from its knot more easily than his had. The silk was cool on the ends and warm where it had gone around Gabe’s neck. He let it drop from his fingers as well.

Gabe took a few steps back, and James followed as if being led in a dance. And he followed where Gabe led. It was so easy and felt so right. He usually avoided the easy path. Easy was usually wrong.

Gabe changed directions, moving quickly behind James and slipping his coat from his body. James shivered at the sudden change in temperature, from being wrapped in the sultry jacket to having only the fine linen shirt between his body and the air.

The chill left as quickly as it had arrived. Gabe stepped in close, pressing himself to James’s back, putting out a powerful heat. He leaned back, still feeling like he was in a dance that had no music with a rhythm that was in constant flux. But still Gabe was leading perfectly.

Gabe stripped off his own jacket without ever taking his chest from James’s body. He let the jacket drop to the floor, not even bothering to toss it toward the hooks as he had with James’s.

He pressed his lips to James’s neck, right above his collar. James felt his toes curl and his body tingle. Gabe’s fingers were back, skimming along his cheek, and his thumb brushed across James’s lips. He flicked out his tongue to tickle it.

Gabe exhaled long and slow, his warm breath slipping under James’s collar. His fingers left James’s face and went instead to his throat, popping open the high collar buttons. James let out a long breath, unaware of just how constricted he had felt until that moment.

Gabe slid around him until they were once again face-to-face. He thought they might kiss, but instead Gabe just looked at him, eyes dark in the dim light. He felt his breath hitch and that tightening in his chest return. It was so much like the way Gabe had looked at him their first night. All those months ago now, standing so close that James had been able to smell the hint of peppers on his skin.

Now Gabe smelled faintly of fancy cologne that had nearly worn away.

He took Gabe’s hand and laced their fingers together as if they would dance. Gabe took his other hand, lifted it, and kissed his palm. James closed his eyes and nearly fell forward. Gabe kissed the heel of his palm next and then placed a kiss on the inside of his wrist. James whimpered softly. Somehow those three small kisses had his head spinning with greater pleasure than kisses in far more intimate areas.

Gabe stepped backward, leading them with just the knowledge of the dimensions of his own home.

He didn’t lead them to the bedroom, but rather to the large couch of cool leather draped with blankets of the same spun and woven silk as the one on Gabe’s bed. He sat on them and drew James onto his lap, giving James the height advantage for once.

James took it, tilting Gabe’s head back and into a slow, lazy kiss, their tongues just flitting around each other’s, chasing the flavor of champagne. Gabe’s arms went around his body, pulling him close. James’s fingers went into Gabe’s hair, tangling themselves in the dark curls, destroying the last of the control imposed by handfuls of hair gel that smelled slightly of mint and clashed with the cologne.

Gabe sighed into the kiss and held James tight.

He and Gabe kissed. He didn’t think about time; he didn’t think about anything beyond the feel of Gabe’s arms around him and the taste of Gabe on his lips, the sound of their tiny moans and sighs in his ears.

At some point Gabe pulled away from the kiss and took a deep breath. He leaned in, laying his head against James’s chest. James became aware of his own heart pounding strong and steady. Gabe looked up at him, a small soft smile on his lips. James kissed those lips, then stood. Gabe followed.

This time James took Gabe’s hand and led the dance toward the bedroom. There was no rush. He was content to keep kissing if that was all the night had in store, but he wanted to be lying down in Gabe’s arms while it happened.

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Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner Press. BowerbirdsSmall

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – Plot or Die!

August 26, 2015

My evil enabler Cooper West and I spend a fair amount of time bouncing plot ideas and bits and pieces of WiPs at each other. She’s the one who talked me out of deleting Empty Nests. In the time we’ve been doing this it has become very clear that we have vastly different approaches in how we attack a project. She has her characters and a base idea then sits down to write. That is something I cannot do.

I’m a plotter. I’ve tried to just sit down and write a story. This is how I’ve ended up with a dozen barely started projects in my WiP folder. If I don’t have at least a beginning, middle, and end my project is dead before my fingers ever hit the keys. I blame years of theater and film training on this.

In my undergrad days I had a wonderful mad Russian for a professor, who despite being devout to Anton Chekhov who wrote four act plays, believed that plays should have three act and that the five acts Shakespeare is usually cut into is just completely mad. Of course this is the man who also said “Shakespeare wrote it wrong” when discussing Hamlet. In grad school my film writing professor was a BIG proponent of the three act structure as well as outlining. She believed that a step outline, giving brief notes on every single scene was necessary before getting anywhere near the actual meat of the writing. All this seems to have sunk in.

Bowerbirds ScrivI don’t think my books necessarily have that nice three act structure by the final draft but they certainly start like that. It’s one of the reasons I love Scrivener writing software. I can take that bullet list, make each bullet an individual file, then write whichever bit has my attention that day without losing track. I learn things about the characters as I go and what looks like a little jump on a bullet list can easily turn into a 5,000 word chapter. For Bowerbirds the original bullet list for chapters 3 and 4 went Date Night, Phone Breakup, Dinner. It took me a little over 13,000 words to get through those three points and made up the first half of act 2.

I do wish I could just sit down and write and have the story flow organically from me, or something like that. I tried it with my YA project last year. 12,000 words in it crashed and burned. I know where I wanted to start from and I know how I wanted it to end but that entire middle bit just didn’t happen. I have an M/F/M story I started when I was nineteen. I have a ton of backstory for each of the characters, a poetic beginning and nothing past about 2,000 words.

So if you hear me say ‘I don’t have any ideas for story XXXXX’ what I’m probably saying is ‘I have a bunch of random disjointed scenes in my head that involve the same characters but I have no clue how they intersect and until I do I’m not going to get anyone’s hopes up’.

By the way. I don’t have any ideas for Nested Hearts: Book Three, but I think Book Two wraps things up in a nice way.

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Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner Press

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – James and My Dad + Excerpt 2

August 26, 2015

 

Empty Nests and Bowerbirds in an odd way is for my dad. He wasn’t a single parent and rumor aside not gay (I don’t think, there are days), but he did end up primary care giver the first couple years of my life. It was supposed to be my mother but my father got injured and lost his job just a few days before I was born. My mother was out of work and it became a matter of who could get a job first. This meant my mom going back to work when I was six weeks old and my dad left holding the baby.

This was in the early 80′s, long before the internet and easy access to stay at home dad groups. My dad was the youngest in his family so had no experience with kids. His family was an hour away and my mom was not on good terms with her family. Add in that my dad came out of a very machismo oriented background and he was left reasonably alienated.

I like to think (and it’s my opinion that matters in this) that he handled it pretty well. I think his sense of humor helped a lot. When my mom would tell him to go check the baby he’d get a pen and draw a little check somewhere on me. It’s funnier if you know my dad. I’m surprised with myself that I managed to get two years into doing the parent thing without giving into the temptation. By this point my kid would probably take it as permission to draw allover herself and anyone else. He delivered bottles as if he was a French waiter, rushed back to the park to retrieve forgotten stuffed animals, made up bedtime stories, and read Elephant Goes to School about fifty million times without going completely nuts.SimpsonsDad

He also took a lot of grief from other guys and didn’t get a lot of respect when he explained that two year gap in his resume. But he kept his chin up, pushed through, and I don’t think overly messed me up which in this day and age counts for a lot.

So James is for my dad and all of the dads who have stepped into what much of society still thinks of as a female role.

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James bent backward and listened to his spine crack. Despite the noises, his back was in better condition, or at least a few decades younger, than Mrs. Gonzales’s, which was why he was helping her lug bolts of fabric up the stairs. It was her second granddaughter’s quinceañera in a couple of months, and she was sewing all the dresses, which meant stitching up about a million miles of pink satin and tulle.

At least Mrs. Gonzales’s granddaughter was shorter than he was. With Mrs. Maldonado’s granddaughter’s prom dress the previous year, he’d been roped into acting as a living dress stand while it was hemmed, instead of just helping with the hemming. Dylan still had the photos hidden somewhere. He didn’t actually mind helping out with things like hauling groceries, rolling tamales, or handstitching a million seed pearls onto white taffeta. The women of the building had acted as Dylan’s aunties and grandmothers over the years, providing babysitting, hand-me-downs, advice, and more than a few meals when he and Dylan got truly desperate.

Mrs. Gonzales let them into her apartment where the Virgen de Guadalupe stared at him from at least three walls.

“¿Dónde los quieres?”

“Con los demás.”

James put the bolts of fabric on the table with a half dozen others while Mrs. Gonzales went into her kitchen to make them both some coffee.

He followed her into the kitchen, which was identical to his, where she poured them both thick black coffee, then stirred in condensed milk until it was nearly white. “James, I’ve been seeing you with a man lately? The women are saying you have a boyfriend?”

He accepted a cup of coffee. “I might.” He supposed it had to happen sooner or later. Every other person had been the center of gossip in the building at one point or another. James had managed to avoid it, mainly by being the most boring person on earth.

“You might? I think you do. He looks handsome.”

James pretended to think about it. “I guess. If you like that type.”

“And he looks rich?”

James blew on his coffee. Mrs. Gonzales always made it nuclear hot. “He might be, a little.”

“Rich is good.”

“It’s not important.”

“Rich is good. Rich can take care of you and Dylan.”

James rolled his eyes. “I don’t need anyone taking care of me. I’m not looking for anyone to take care of me. And I take care of Dylan just fine.”

Mrs. Gonzales patted the air in front of James. “Of course you do, but it’s good to have help. If someone wants to take care of you, you should let them. If they’re also kind, and handsome…?”

James sipped his coffee, having no desire to respond to that comment.

“What’s his name?”

“Gabe. Gabriel. Juarez.” He figured the best thing to do with gossip was to feed it as much detail as possible. It seemed to burn out quicker once there was less to speculate on.

“And where’s he from?”

“He grew up in the Bay.”

“Have you met his family yet?”

That was something that hadn’t been brought up except for a quick mention of his sisters. He’d heard more about Gabe’s godchildren. “No, no I haven’t.”

Mrs. Gonzales gave a slightly disapproving squint. “Make sure he does that soon. A man who is ashamed of his family is not a man you should be associating with.”

“I will keep that in mind.”

“Good. Now, what does he do? He better have a good job. Rich without work is begging the devil for trouble.”

James took a deep breath. He was surprised Dylan hadn’t blabbed it around the building. He was as bad a gossip as the rest of them. “He’s the chief financial officer of TechPrim Industries.” He got a slightly questioning look. James pulled his phone from his pocket and showed her the logo on the back. “TechPrim.”

Her eyebrows went up. “He better be taking care of you, then.”

“I don’t need to be taken care of.” James tried not to raise his voice. “I am not a child. I have a job. I manage.”

“Doesn’t mean you should turn him away if he offers. It can be nice to have someone who wants to be helpful.”

“Fine.” He didn’t want to start a fight.

“And if he causes you trouble, you send him to me.”

James stuffed down a laugh. Facing Mrs. Gonzales was a proper threat. Every male under the age of eighty feared her disapproving gaze, which could leave even the most hardened soul squirming like a child.

“I’ll be sure to warn him.”

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Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner PressBowerbirdsSmall

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – The Delicate Art of the Romantic Gesture

August 26, 2015

 

hannible flower crown

For lasts Mothers’ Day my partner gave me Hannibal season 1 and 2 on blu-ray. Mothers’ Day before that is was South Park: The Stick of Truth. (My birthday present was tickets to see Book of Mormon.) Why do these count as appropriate Mothers’ Day gifts? Because my partner knows me. He knows what will make me smile and what will make me laugh, not just in terms of the gift but because they were Mothers’ Day gift. The tag attached to Hannibal even read ‘A totally appropriate Mothers’ Day gift’.  I take it as a sign of his love for me.

It wasn’t always like this. We’d only been together a few months when our first Christmas rolled around. I’m sure we scratched our heads and did our best. I know for a fact he’s never used what I gave him that first Christmas because I packed it when we moved two years ago and it’s sitting in the back of a kitchen cupboard.

We’ve gotten better though. I know I can make my banana bread for just about any special occasion and he’ll be perfectly happy. (I’ve been forbidden from making it on non-special occasions because he will eat an entire loaf of it.) And he knows that I like nerdy stuff with directors commentaries and hours of behind the scene footage. I’ve probably listened to every second of Lord of the Rings commentary twice.

What does this have to do with Bowerbirds? It goes back to those awkward not quite right early gifts. James and Gabe have some disagreements over what is a romantic gesture and what is stepping over lines forcing them to have better ideas about where their boundaries are.

 

What’s the best gift you’ve ever gotten, romantic or otherwise? What’s the worst or weirdest? Answer and be in to win a copy of Bowerbirds.

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BowerbirdsSmallBowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner Press

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – Excerpt 1

August 26, 2015

Back in Ye Olden Days of text based roll playing computer games there always seemed to be that one peasant you ran into who just happened to know everything you needed to know about that castle north of the village and nothing else. I try to avoid that in my supporting characters. I have a great love for them and do my best to make them as well rounded as possible and give them a reason for existing other than just moving the plot. I’m particularly fond of Tamyra and rather tempted to write a couple of short stories staring her.

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WHEN JAMES finally woke from his second nap, they ordered Chinese food, sat on the couch, and talked about nothing important. They made out on the couch, ate dinner, made out some more, then moved to the bedroom for some precarious lovemaking. It had been after midnight, and James had been fast asleep again when Gabe let himself quietly out of the apartment. He’d left a note by the bed, promising to call.

Now Gabe was using his sliver of a lunch break to query the almighty Internet on dating people with kids. Dylan had mostly come around to his side after he did his best to prove he wasn’t screwing with James, but if Gabe wanted to get James out of town, he was going to need Dylan’s backing. And any serious relationship moves would quite possibly need Dylan’s approval, or at least his advice. Gabe glared at his computer monitor. The all-knowingness of the Internet was failing him. He’d found plenty on step-parenting and a couple of blog posts about dating people with small children, but nothing that seemed to apply to his situation.

Tamyra came in and put a suspiciously healthy-looking sandwich on his desk before plopping herself down on the couch and tucking into a salad of her own.

“Tam, have you ever dated anyone with kids?”

“No. I’m not really good with kids.”

Gabe lifted the top piece of whole grain and seed bread on his sandwich and squinted at the sprouts under it. “Me neither.”

“My niece was about five when my sister started dating again. Seriously, though, James’s kid is practically an adult.”

Gabe shoved the sprouts aside to find dandelion greens. “I know. I just want to keep in his good books, and I don’t want James to feel like he’s losing time with Dylan to be with me.”

Tamyra shrugged. “My sister used to do these family dates every month or so with her, Julia, and her boyfriend. They’d go to the zoo. Stuff like that.” Gabe pushed aside the dandelion leaves to reveal grilled vegetables. “Stop playing with your sandwich and eat it.”

“Only if I find bacon on the bottom.”

“You have a meeting in fifteen minutes and you don’t have a free second between then and seven. Eat it.”

Gabe started chewing on the top slice of bread. “Why are you still my PA?” It was a question he asked himself regularly but only actually asked Tamyra a few times. He’d yet to get a good answer.

“Because you’d die without me.”

Gabe pushed aside the rest of his sandwich. He’d swing through marketing later. They always had good leftovers from some department party or networking lunch. “I’m serious. You were supposed to be in the job, what, a year? You have more degrees than I do. You know the fine minutiae of every deal we make. Anyone else would have quit or demanded a transfer after six months of putting up with me. You’ve never even asked for a raise.”

“And yet you give them to me.”

“Seriously. What are you doing here?”

Tamyra set aside her salad, which looked about as appetizing as Gabe’s sandwich. “Do you remember the state you were in when I started working for you?”

No, Gabe thought. “Vaguely,” he answered.

“Exactly. You’d had six PAs in five months. They were all either trying to get into your pants or were praying for your soul. My first day you’d had about three hours of sleep in three days. You were trying to shift around the budget so dependents of employees got free flu shots, in the middle of a bidding war for a half-dozen patents, you were fighting with Frank and Nate over if you should even be trying for the patents, and then a bunch of school kids were dragged in, and you were supposed to give them some sort of inspirational talk.”

“Was I inspirational?” Gabe had not a single memory of that day.

“No. You mumbled, babbled, threw in some analogies that made no sense whatsoever, and forgot the name of your own company. The impressive bit was that you pulled yourself up there in that state when any other executive would have just pawned the whole thing off onto someone further down the ladder. I figured at that point you needed someone who wouldn’t try to get into your pants, knew your soul was just fine, and would knock you on the back of the head with a two-by-four if that’s what was needed for you to get some sleep.”

“I wish I could argue with any of that.”

“You’re good at your job, you run a good business, you’re good to your people, but you are crap at taking care of yourself. I’ll move on when I find someone who can take care of you half as well as I can.”

“Or I shove you out the door.”

Tamyra laughed. “Like that’s ever going to happen.”

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BowerbirdsSmallBowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) available through Dreamspinner Press

Bowerbirds (Nested Hearts: Book Two) by Ada Maria Soto – Release Party!

August 26, 2015

Hello, Ada Maria Soto here ready to chat with all of you wonderful people. My latest novel, Bowerbirds, was released today. It’s the sequel to Empty Nests and follows the continuing romance of Gabriel Juarez and James Maron.

Here’s the official Blurb

Two very different men have a chance at happiness, but only if they can let go of their painful pasts and allow love to take precedence.

BowerbirdsFSAfter spending his teens and twenties raising his son, James Maron is now dating Gabriel Juarez, the wealthy and sophisticated CFO of the TechPrim technology empire. But after a life of proudly holding his head above the poverty line with the ethos of work, priorities, responsibility, and thrift, he is not looking for a Sugar Daddy, he does not need to be rescued, and Gabe’s wealth is as terrifying as feeling love for the first time.

Gabe has never been good at balancing his high-pressure job with his relationships. Money usually clears most of the bumps, and when a boyfriend walks away, Gabe figures it’s for a good reason. But James isn’t like other boyfriends. He doesn’t want Gabe’s money for one, and if Gabe wants to keep his relationship together, he will have to finally face the ghosts of his own past and reconsider his priorities.

 

 

Preparing for this and the Empty Nests release one of the standard questions I got asked by various blogs is “Where did the idea for this book come from?”.

The simple and honest answer to this is I have not the slightest idea. Seriously, no clue. I know I started writing ln late 2010. I tried to use NaNoWriMo to finish it. I sent it to a friend to look over in 2011. She was not entirely kind about parts of it but always accurate. I got a bit depressed about it and put it aside getting distracted by other writing projects. I got pregnant in 2012 and had the worst case of baby brain ever. I could barely write and got exceedingly emotional about criticism. If someone corrected my spelling I broke into tears. It was embarrassing since I was determined to be one of those women who carried on with their job as if nothing was different until go time. Then there was post baby, no sleep brain melt and I didn’t come back to Empty Nests until 2014.

Somewhere in all that the genesis of this story was forgotten. I do remember one of the first things I wrote was James ranting at Dave about parenting. This is funny because in 2010 I was still swearing up, down, and sideways that I would never have kids. I think the second thing I wrote was James and Gabe having bathtub sex. Two completely different scenes on opposite ends of the book. It was only after that that I wrote out a rough outline of the plot, but again I don’t remember how or why.

In truth this blank is quite frustrating. There was something creative going on in my head at that moment, also something epic since these two books put together is the longest thing I’ve ever written. There must have been a spark or trigger that I would love to get back but it feels like it has vanished into the mist. It’s like I ‘put it somewhere safe’ and can’t for the life of me remember where.

Does anyone else do that? Put things ‘Somewhere Safe’ where you’re sure you’ll remember it, only to find it years later long after it’s been replaced?

Tell us about it and you’ll be in to win a free copy of Bowerbirds. I’ll give each comment a number then roll my dice tomorrow.

When Past Meets Present with Kim Fielding

August 24, 2015

When Past

Does a certain place speak to you, resonate in your mind and soul? I’m Kim Fielding, and today I’d like to talk about a place that does that for me. Or, more accurately, places.

Nestled in the Sierra mountains and foothills are a bunch of small towns that originated during the California gold rush. Even some of the names are evocative of their history: Placerville. Twain Harte. Angels Camp. Chinese Camp. Sutter Creek. Jamestown. Copperopolis. And while progress has marched on there as everywhere else, when you visit, you can still see the remnants of life in the 1850s. You can still get a little feel of the past.

I’m lucky enough to live close to this area, and I’m especially partial to a few of the towns clustered along or near Highway 49. Columbia, for instance, was a mining boomtown that once boasted over forty saloons. Nowadays it’s a state park, although a couple thousand people still live there. I also like Sonora, which is just a few miles away. Some of the shops on the main street have the remnants of gold mines in their basements. My family is also very fond of Murphys. The main attractions for my husband are the zillion local wineries, but the kids and I love the caves, which you can explore as long as you’re willing to go down—and back up—a lot of stairs.

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To get a very good sense of the history of these towns—and because I’m a wee bit morbid—I like to visit the old cemeteries. You can see the many places people came from before heading to California and trying to strike it rich. You get a sense of how very difficult life was. Take a look at this census from Sonora’s cemetery, for instance. Fascinating. And you find some mysteries. Were Joel Cumback and Jacob Giddis lovers?

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These gold rush towns were one of the main inspirations for my new book—my 13th novel!—Rattlesnake. It takes place in a fictional town modeled loosely on Angels Camp and called, well, Rattlesnake. It’s a contemporary story, but a sense of the past haunts the protagonists just as it haunts the old town. I fell in love with Jimmy and Shane, but I also fell in love with the town, with the atmosphere. It felt so real to me that last time my family was heading to Angels Camp for the weekend, I was all excited about having breakfast at Mae’s Café. Until I remembered that Mae’s exists only in my fictional Rattlesnake and not, sadly, in real life. I could really have gone for one of her cinnamon rolls.

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Rattlesnake releases August 31, but you can preorder now. And for a chance to win an e-copy of any of my backlist books—that is, anything but Rattlesnake—comment here and tell me what place is special to you.

I hope when you read Rattlesnake, the town will become one of your special places too. Meanwhile, I’m off to another of my favorite locations on earth, Croatia. Ah, but that’s a future story….

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Blurb:

A drifter since his teens, Jimmy Dorsett has no home and no hope. What he does have is a duffel bag, a lot of stories, and a junker car. Then one cold desert night he picks up a hitchhiker and ends up with something more: a letter from a dying man to the son he hasn’t seen in years.

On a quest to deliver the letter, Jimmy travels to Rattlesnake, a small town nestled in the foothills of the California Sierras. The centerpiece of the town is the Rattlesnake Inn, where the bartender is handsome former cowboy Shane Little. Sparks fly, and when Jimmy’s car gives up the ghost, Shane gets him a job as handyman at the inn.

Both within the community of Rattlesnake and in Shane’s arms, Jimmy finds an unaccustomed peace. But it can’t be a lasting thing. The open road continues to call, and surely Shane—a strong, proud man with a painful past and a difficult present—deserves better than a lying vagabond who can’t stay put for long.

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You can learn more about Kim Fielding and download some free stories here: http://kfieldingwrites.blogspot.com
You can also follow her on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KFieldingWrites
Or Twitter: @KFieldingWrites