Workplace Romance: Love in Bloom or Courting Disaster? with Julie Lynn Hayes – Post + Giveaway

May 26, 2016

Workplace Romance-

Hi, I’m Julie Hayes, long-time Dreamspinner author, here to talk about my new novella, Bad Dogs and Drag Queens, first book in my Rose and Thorne series.

Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne are partners —on and off the clock. They’re federal undercover agents, and they met when they were first assigned to one another. It wasn’t exactly a match made in heaven, but five years later, they are very much in love and very together.

They work primarily in the southeastern part of the country, but have traveled as far as LA (don’t remind Vinnie, he’s still steaming about that!). They have a government-paid apartment in Richmond, Virginia, and life is good.

Vinnie and Ethan come from different backgrounds, but that doesn’t matter. They’re totally devoted to one another. Vinnie might come off as a little insecure, and a whole lot mouthy, but he’d protect Ethan with his life. And ditto for Ethan, who is a very laid-back, very gallant and sweet guy. They fit together perfectly.  Now. In the beginning… now that’s another story.

Vinnie and Ethan are sent to Roanoke to help out with a mugging problem and end up with more than they bargained for. After that, they’re assigned to go undercover in one of the biggest gay bars in Roanoke to find out who’s harassing patrons and employees. It seems inevitable that Vinnie will end up in a dress!

I originally introduced these two in a 500 word flash that I posted on FB, a story so short they didn’t have names. I thought that would be the end, but my good friend Chris T. Kat said she’d like to know more about them. And suddenly, Vinnie and Ethan were born! I am very grateful to Chris for that!

Have you ever had a romance that began in the workplace? I’ve met both my husbands that way. Not exactly a stirring commendation lol If you did, how did it work out for  you? Would you recommend it or advise against it? Leave a comment below and I will pick a winner (in 3 days), and that winner will receive their choice of books from my backlist.

I look forward to hearing from you!

 

Julie Lynn Hayes

Blog
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Check out Bad Dogs and Drag Queens today!

BadDogsandDragQueens_postcard_front_DSP

Blurb:

Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne are partners—on and off the clock. Federal undercover detectives, they’re part of a covert task force designed to promote goodwill between the feds and local authorities. They lend an unobtrusive helping hand wherever it’s needed. No credit required.

Vinnie and Ethan work primarily in the Southeast region of the United States and live together in Richmond, Virginia. A mugger problem brings them to Roanoke, where Vinnie is thrown out as bait to catch the man who’s been snatching purses in a city park, but they end up with more than they bargained for. Why is Vinnie always the one who has to wear the dress? Ethan says it’s because Vinnie looks much prettier in a skirt. How can he argue with that?

Expecting to return to Richmond afterward, Vinnie and Ethan find themselves assigned a new case instead. They are to go undercover at The Stroll, one of the biggest gay nightclubs in Roanoke. Someone is terrorizing both the customers and the performers. Could they be dealing with a hate crime? Someone has to protect the drag queens of Roanoke, so it’s Vinnie and Ethan to the rescue!

The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit nokidhungry.org for more information about this organization.

Five Years, Six Books, Two Men: Sentries

May 25, 2016

New Sentries  FB Banner 33016 copy

Hello, I’m Elizabeth Noble. The final book in my Sentries series, Ringed Love, was released a few days ago on Monday, May 23. Five years ago on that same date the first book, Marked Yours was first released. It was re-released as a second edition in 2013. I’m very grateful that Elizabeth North and Lynn West let me set the release date for Ringed Love on what was the five year anniversary of the Sentries series. That date also marked five years for me being a published author.

Marked Yours was my very first full length novel to be published.

Since this is likely my final official post with Dreamspinner Press for the Sentries series I thought instead of focusing on the last book, Ringed Love, I’d go through some of my favorite parts from each book in the series. For those of you who haven’t read the series this isn’t very spoilery, more like a teaser.

The series blurb created by Dreamspinner Press beautifully gives a much better overview than I ever could:

Three hundred years ago, natural disaster reformed the face of North America, and the people who lived in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains would never be the same.

Now, the master/slave bond in New Colorado has become a sacred rite of service, protection, and, sometimes, for the lucky, love. Follow Nick and his beloved Master, Todd Ruger, a sentry of the territories, as they struggle to survive together amid the collision of old superstition, new beliefs, territorial war, and the ever-present danger of the natural and supernatural frontier.

So, lets begin at the beginning!

Marked Yours will always hold a very special place in my heart since it was the first of my novels accepted for publication. It began my series and was the starting place for the world building I did for Sentries as a whole. When I think of one part of Marked Yours that immediately comes to mind as my favorite part is toward the end of the book. Nick, a slave, meets a woman who has some serious misconceptions about his life. While this woman gets to know Nick he changes her perceptions, which in turn prompts her to try to change the way people think about slaves in general. It’s also the first time Nick refers to the place he and Todd live as their home, not Todd’s home.

Together Bound is the first book that shows them really working on a case. There are sections of Todd and Nick working separately and we get a good look at them as a working team. I created a truly oily, creepy bad guy who is a type of shifter for this book. There are two scenes that stick out for me. The first of those scenes is a fight scene between Todd and this shifter who has taken his form. There is a lot of fear and anger created by this creature, a kelbit, and it all comes to light in this confrontation. My second favorite scene is where Todd and Nick acquire two horses, Obi and Arenite, who become important minor characters in the series. Obi is the horse on the book cover. This book sets the tone for the series because it shows how Todd and Nick have learned to use their positions in their society as weapons in their arsenal.

Chained Hearts was the second most difficult book in the series to write. There are sections where Todd and Nick struggle with psychological terror and depression. Of that book my favorite scene was the most fun to write. It was an action scene that involved Todd fighting an assailant on a fast moving wagon. I love action and this scene in particular turned into one of those take your breath away bits of action. In this book we see so much of how the bond between Todd and Nick grounds and centers them. Their bond is powerful and solid and sees them through one of the most frightening times of their lives.

Collared Souls is my favorite book in the series. Todd and Nick return to Nick’s childhood village. There they discover clues and facts about how their culture and slavery in their society came to be. In this book they also learn how Sentries evolved. The Rugers lives are changing and this book really shows the events that precipitate those changes. My favorite scene in this book is another action scene and it involves Obi and Arenite, the two horses on the book cover. Racing horses off a moving train and blowing stuff up–yeah it doesn’t get any better than that. Did I mention I really love writing action?

Tethered Pair is a fun book. It’s my little personal shout out and tribute to the TV show Maverick, which might be one of my all time favorites. There are a number of references to that show I worked into the dialog and plot. I even hunted down the series theme song and played it while writing some of the scenes. Another part of the book came from more personal inspiration. I went to the grocery store to buy coffee beans. Some of the beans got stuck in the door and I ended up causing coffeegeddon! Pounds of coffee beans everywhere. This book is another one where the guys work independently of each other and really shows off their skills. Todd’s as a gambler and con-man and Nick as a powerful psychic. There’s danger and banter aplenty. My favorite scene is Nick duping a gun-running demon into a game of pool and then hustling him.

Ringed Love was so difficult to write. There maybe other Sentry stories in my future as free reads or short stories, but this is the last novel of this series. I’ve lived with these men in my head for almost seven years, the thought of saying goodbye still makes me tear up. In this book more than the others we get to share the quiet times with Todd and Nick as well as a few of their big, happy events. They’ve lived their lives on their terms. Todd and Nick are sentries, protectors and the scenes in this book show that again and again in a number of ways. I think maybe my favorite scene is a bar scene where they’re chasing down yet another creature intent on harming innocent people and they run into someone from their past. This young man was so influenced by them as a boy he wants to follow in their footsteps, after taking a few interesting missteps he convinces them he’s a worthy student.

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The story of Todd and Nick Ruger is above all a love story and I hope you enjoy their journey. It’s been an honor to have told this story. Excerpts and reviews of all the books can be found on my website Emotion in Motion.

I welcome questions about the series and let’s have a little give away, shall we? This series has many supernatural elements, what’s your favorite supernatural bad guy? Which of the book covers in Sentries is your favorite. Leave your email in your comments and I’ll contact the winner. I’ll leave this contest open until Sunday May 29 and will pick two people to receive the ebook of their choice from my backlist (anything published in 2015 or earlier).

Happy Reading!

Elizabeth

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Of Robots, Romance, and Real Possibilities with Asta Idonea – Post + Giveaway

May 25, 2016

Of Robots, Romance, and Real Possibilities

My name is Asta Idonea and this is my first time on the Dreamspinner Press blog, so let me commence with a brief introduction for those who’ve not yet “met” me.

I’m an English-born writer who now lives in Australia. I started writing professionally in 2011 under my mainstream pen name Nicki J. Markus, and in 2014, I branched out into MM, using the alternate pen name Asta Idonea. I work as a freelance editor, and when I’m not busy with that or my own writing, I love going to the theatre and cinema, playing and listening to music, sketching, learning foreign languages, writing to my many pen pals, researching history, mythology, and folklore, and (of course) reading.

Today, I am here to promote Fire Up My Heart, my first standalone release from Dreamspinner Press. This sci-fi novella focuses on a young man named Fane who finds an abandoned service Bot and takes it home. But there’s something unusual about Jo-E, and when Fane finds himself increasingly drawn to the Bot, he must make a difficult decision.

Like many of my story ideas, this one came to me at night. My mind often wanders while I’m waiting to fall asleep, and this story was born from a thought I had during that time. I’d watched some robot-based sci-fi a few days prior, and Fire Up My Heart developed into my personal spin on the theme.

Although I’m not a huge sci-fi reader when it comes to alien worlds and starships, I do enjoy speculative fiction that questions future technology. With new gadgets and gizmos invented every year, I love to consider what else the future will hold and how it will impact our everyday lives. Already technology invades so many things we do, and humanoid robots are certainly on the horizon. When that day comes, I wonder at the ways in which we’ll employ them and the different types of human–robot relationships that might be possible, and that is one of the principal themes in Fire Up My Heart.

Twenty-sixteen is shaping up to be a busy year for me writing-wise with seven new releases already out, two more coming in June, and a number of additional works currently under consideration. Right now, I am working on several projects: three MM short stories for anthology calls closing soon, two MM novellas (one contemporary and one paranormal), a paranormal MF novella, and a Steampunk MF short novel. I often do have a selection of manuscripts in progress at the same time. It suits me to work that way since, if I find I am not in the right mood to continue with one, I can switch to another for the day. Once the first draft is complete, it also means I can set it aside while I work on something else and then return to it with fresh eyes, ready to edit and redraft. So far, I am lucky in that I never run out of story ideas—only time in which to write them. I guess I need a new form of technology to help me draft and edit double-time!

On that note, I’d like to open the floor to comments. If you could have a robot capable of performing any task for you, which task would you choose and why? Let’s try to keep it clean, guys; otherwise, do give your imaginations a workout and be inventive. I will randomly select one commenter to win a copy of my previous Dreamspinner Press release, the contemporary MM short story Northern Lights.

If anyone has any questions for me, please comment below. I’ll be checking this post during the next few days and will do my best to answer them all. Readers and fellow authors are also always welcome to connect with me on social media.

Check out Fire Up My Heart today!

FireUpMyHeart_postcard_front_DSP

Blurb

London bartender Fane thinks he’s hit the jackpot when he finds a rare and expensive service Bot discarded in a dumpster, and he takes it home to get it working again. The Jo-E brings some much-needed companionship to Fane’s lonely life, but there’s something different about this Bot, as indicated by its odd behavior. Fane’s developing feelings toward Jo-E trouble him, and things go from bad to worse when a robotics engineer arrives on Fane’s doorstep, demanding the return of his property. Fane is forced to choose between a hefty reward and following his heart. Giving in to his forbidden desires might get him killed—or change his life forever.

Author Pic 2015

Chat with Asta Idonea!

Blog: http://www.nickijmarkus.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NickiJMarkus
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickiJMarkus
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/nickijmarkus/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4567057.Nicki_J_Markus
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolamarkus
Amazon Author US: http://www.amazon.com/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
Amazon Author UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Asta-Idonea/e/B00RMGGVYO
DeviantArt: http://aleera21.deviantart.com/gallery/
SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/nickijmarkus

Early Beginnings with C.M. Lievens

May 24, 2016

Early Beginnings

Hi, I’m C.M. Lievens, author of A Good Enough Reason.

I started writing when I was a kid. I still remember a story about a ghost and two twins I wrote when I was about eight as a gift for my grandmother. I don’t remember how it ended, but it sounds interesting. I just might add something similar to my ever-growing to-write list.

After my first steps as an author, I stopped writing. I found other things to focus on. I’ve always been very art-oriented. I paint, I draw, I make jewelry. You name it, and I’ve probably tried it, but nothing held my attention for long.

I came back to writing a few years ago. I graduated from college when my son was one, and since sending him to daycare would have cost me more than I’d earned by finding a job, I stayed home with him. I used the time to read, but there’s only so much you can read before even that becomes boring. Shocking, I know.

Then I started to think that I could do that too. I could write. It would be hard, because English is only my third language, but it would be something that would break the routine.

The first book I wrote was a mess. I reread it recently, and I wanted to strangle the main character. At the time, though, I thought it was good, even though no one seemed to want to publish it.

Once it was done, I started another one. I’d just started reading gay romance, and I decided to dip my foot into that for a series of reasons that would require a blog post of their own, so I’ll skip them.

That’s how my first published book was born. I kept it short, because writing an entire novel in English scared me, and I sent it to the publisher thinking I’d never hear from them. I didn’t stop writing, though. I’d planned that book to be the first book in a series, so I started writing the next book. By the time it was published, I’d written six novellas.

I wrote only about shifters for close to two years, but I felt it was time to step out of my comfort zone, to try something new. That’s how A Good Enough Reason was born.

A Good Enough Reason is my first full-length novel, and my first book without any kind of shifters. I hope people will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

What about you? Do you have a passion you discovered later in life?

 

Excerpt:

“Eeelliiis. Do you have a crush on Mr. Shea?”

Luckily for Ellis the table they sat at was mostly empty, but Anna’s voice was loud. From a few tables away, Dale Stephens looked up from his tray and over at them, a question in his eyes when he saw Ellis watching him.

Ellis shook his head and looked down again. “Anna, please. Do you really need to give people even more reasons to make fun of me?”

Anna offered an appropriate repenting expression, but Ellis wasn’t fooled. He knew that now she’d discovered a juicy bit of gossip, she’d pounce on him like a lioness on raw meat once they were away from prying ears.

“Are you done writing?”

“Of course.” She wrote the last word with a flourish and gave Ellis a triumphant smile. “All done. Now we can have fun.”

“After school, you mean?”

“Nope. I mean we can gossip.”

Ellis groaned. “You know, my being gay doesn’t mean I like to gossip or go shopping. Sometimes you seem to think I’m one of your girlfriends or something.”

Anna patted Ellis’s hand. “I’d never take you shopping. You have the most awful taste I’ve ever seen.”

Ellis looked down at his Platform 9 3/4 red T-shirt. “What’s wrong with my clothes?”

“Honestly? I think you’re the only one in this school who actually gets the meaning of your T-shirt.”

“You do too.”

“I was coerced into learning about it.”

“Oh, please. It’s not like I tied you to the couch.”

“You said you wouldn’t help me with my English homework if I didn’t watch the movies! All eight of them!”

“Hey, I did you a favor. They’re classics!”

“Classics?”

“Yes. It’d be sad if no one here got the T-shirt.” Ellis shook his head. It was better than talking about hypothetical crushes on teachers, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to make Anna see the flaw in her ideas. It wasn’t the first time he’d tried—and failed.

“They’re just books, Ellis.”

Ellis snatched his hand back. “Take that back!”

“Ellis,” Anna said with a laugh.

“Anna! It’s like me telling you statistics is boring!”

“You do, at least once a day, five times a week.”

“But—”

“Let’s agree to disagree on this one, okay? I don’t expect you to start liking statistics, and you stop trying to educate me in geek stuff.”

“I get the shirt.”

Ellis turned to the side to see who was talking and froze. Anna fluttered her eyelashes at Dale. “Really?”

“Yeah. Awesome books.”

“I can’t believe all the hot ones are geeks,” Anna said with a groan.

Ellis cringed, waiting for Dale to tell her off, but he only chuckled. “You think I’m hot?”

Anna gave Dale a shocked glance. “You think I’m blind? Are you fishing for compliments?”

Dale pressed his hand over his heart. “I would never.”

 

Check out A Good Enough Reason today!

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Blurb: 

High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.

Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.

As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.

But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?

Author Bio:

C.M. Lievens is a penname Catherine Lievens uses when she writes stories with little to no sex, and more specifically, Young Adult ones.

She lives in Italy with her husband, three cats, and her son, who luckily isn’t going to be a young adult for many years to come, because Catherine is not prepared for that just yet. She loves to write about different people and situations, hence the need for a penname.

When she’s not putting pen to paper to plot her next story, writing while avoiding her kid’s questions (he’s way too curious for his own good), or talking to her cats, she can be found hiding in the bathroom, because that’s the only place where she can read in peace.

E-mail: lievens.catherine@gmail.com
Blog: https://cmlievens.wordpress.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/catherine.lievens.9
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/CM-Lievens-1659898224299254/

 

For the Love of Secondary Characters with Thianna Durston

May 23, 2016

for the love

Today my book Becoming Rafe was released. If you aren’t familiar with the Men of Falcon Pointe, the series is about a fictitious town in northern Washington State. A town where gay men who have been rejected elsewhere find home.

The first two books of the series were based in the home of Dr. Cory Venerin. The first introduced Cory and his roommates and the man he fell in love with, Trent Farnsworth. It saw the two of them through Trent’s issues with his family and church and through their HEA. The second involved a new roommate and David, one of the secondary characters from the first book. In Becoming Rafe, you will see Cory, Trent, David, Bastien, and Alan again, but you will also meet a brand new host of characters who will hopefully capture your heart like they have captured mine.

While the story centers around Rafe and Levlin, there are also many secondary characters that come to life. It’s interesting as an author just how much you can fall for a secondary character. The leads? Yes, it’s easy to fall for them. But for a secondary character to leap out so much that you know you’ll be using that character in plenty of books to come is always big. At least for me. And in a series like Men of Falcon Pointe, it’s perfect, because all the major characters and some of the secondary ones do pop up in each of the books.

In Becoming Rafe, Rafe’s two best friends, Finnean (Finn) Sneller and Santiago (Santi) Santos, became an integral part of the story right off. It’s kind of funny. When I started writing the book, my original plan was to have Rafe and Finn get together. But as always happens, my muse knows better. The moment Santi appeared in the story, I knew he and Finn were meant for one another. Figuring out which of the men would be Rafe’s partner took only a little more writing.

How do Rafe and Levlin meet? Take one gay club, add in a leech who tries to take Rafe into a back room, and add a large muscled man who defends him and you get….

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Becoming Rafe

Eighteen-year-old Nephi Norton goes to Falcon Pointe University to find himself. Away from his conservative family, he hopes to discover if his attraction to men is the real deal. Encouraged to be someone a little different, he starts using his middle name. “Rafe” quickly makes friends, some of whom use a paddle to dispense caring discipline, and he lives it up—until midterms hit and he realizes he’s flunking statistics class.

When Scotland native Éigneachán Jackson Levlin offers to help, Rafe is eager to accept—not only because Levlin is a psychologist, but also because he’s out and proud and hot as hell.

As their relationship heats up, Rafe decides to spend one last Christmas with his family before he tells them. When his little sister outs him to his siblings, they turn out to be fully supportive, and he takes heart—until he introduces Levlin to his father, who brutally dismisses both of them. Now Rafe must come to peace with his father’s rejection or risk losing Levlin—and all he has become at Falcon Pointe—forever.

 

Buy links:

Are
Amazon
Barnes & Noble
Dreamspinner Press eBook
iTunes
Dreamspinner Press Paperback

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Thianna Durston is a writer by day and supernova by night. Or at least that’s what the faeries tell her. And who is she to deny those pesky *cough* lovely little creatures?

She lives in the Pacific Northwest, though her heart belongs elsewhere. In the meantime, until she can return to the place she calls home, she happily lives in a city that still thinks it’s a small town. Thankfully, it has given her muse lots of amusing places to start a story.

 

Find her at her:

Website – http://mm.thiannad.com/
Blog – http://blog.thiannad.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/ThiannaDurstonAuthor
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ThiannaDurston
Google+ – https://plus.google.com/u/0/+ThiannaDurston
Goodreads – https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/13536433.Thianna_Durston
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/thiannad/

“Oh the Tangled Webs we weave…” with S.A. Ozment – Post + Giveaway

May 18, 2016

Oh the (1)

Hi Everyone!

I’m S.A. Ozment and I want to introduce my new novella that will be released by DSP on May 18th. It tells the story of a young guy, “Ashley Stevens”, who is an ER nurse by day and a fan boy by night. However, the only object of his affection is the smokin’ hot and extremely talented “Sebastian Gray”.  One night while Ashley is online, Sebastian reaches out to Ashley and thanks him for a job well done. Ashley is in full blown “OMG, I’m talking to Sebastian Gray” and “I’ve drank an entire bottle of wine” mode and fumbles his way through the conversation. Things are going great until Sebastian makes it clear that he believes he is speaking to a “girl” named Ashley.  After a minute of contemplating, Ashley decides to let Sebastian think what he wants as long as the conversation continues.  A few months later the conversation is still continuing and Ashley still has not told Sebastian the truth out of fear of losing what he has gained with his long time idol, who is now his friend.

As a thank you, Sebastian surprises Ashley with a free airline ticket to NYC to attend a fan gathering and then they can enjoy the city together. Ashley tries to get out of the meeting but Sebastian is not taking no for an answer.  Ashley gives in and says yes, knowing that he will have to come clean. I won’t say how the meeting goes but let’s just say Ashley is not the only one keeping secrets.

I originally wrote this story as a submission for the “Star Struck” Anthology. However, to tell the story, it was over the amount of words needed. Therefore, I submitted to DSP as a novella. The story idea came to me while watching the television show “Catfish”. I thought about how I could have two characters innocently catfish each other and still have a happy ending.   I didn’t want a mean spirited catfish story, just a sweet story where the two men didn’t set out to catfish each other, it just kind of happens.  With those thoughts in mind, “Tangled Web” was born.

Have you ever been infatuated with a celebrity and finally had the opportunity to meet them?  Is there a celebrity that you would love to be real friends with? Leave a comment below and tell me your story.  I will pick one winner  (in 3 days) and will send you a copy of my first book, “Illusions” by PDF format.

Hope to hear from you all!

S.A. Ozment

Sozment1@gmail.com
https://www.facebook.com/saozment

Check out Tangled Web today!

TangledWeb_postcard_front_DSP

Blurb:

By day Ashley Stevens is a dedicated nurse; by night he runs multiple social media sites for his crush and all-time favorite actor, Sebastian Gray. After a particularly grueling day at work, Ashley drinks away his misery while dreaming about being with Sebastian—only to realize it’s no dream when Sebastian actually contacts him.

Sebastian asks him to officially run his sites and Ashley is thrilled—right up until Sebastian makes it clear that he thinks Ashley is a girl. And maybe it’s the wine, or maybe it’s a fear that if Sebastian knew the truth, he wouldn’t want him, but Ashley never sets him straight. But keeping the secret becomes a nightmare as Ashley and Sebastian talk online night after night, forging a true connection. And the longer Ashley waits to tell the truth, the more tangled the lies become.

A plane ticket from Sebastian along with an invitation to meet in New York City for a fan event brings it all to a head. Ashley must face Sebastian and tell all, but he might not be the only one keeping secrets.

A Peek into the Bullpen with Kate McMurray – Post + Giveaway

May 17, 2016

A Peek into the Bullpen

Hi, Dreamspinners! I’m Kate McMurray, author of Out in the Field, a romance between Matt Blanco, a legendary MLB baseball player at the end of his career, and Iggy Rodriguez, a promising rookie player whose star is on the rise.

Those who know me are probably aware that I’m a big baseball fan. Before I wrote Out in the Field, I had long thought that the world needed more romance novels with baseball players. The idea for the book came out of that; I thought the world needed a gay baseball romance, and since I couldn’t find one, I wrote it.

It took me almost a year to write the first edition of the novel. I had to do a ton of research, but not all of it was typical. For example, I wanted to get the cadence of how sportscasters and fans talk about the sport, so I listened to a lot of baseball podcasts. There’s a range of these. A few professional sports journalists do podcasts where they talk about the ins-and-outs of the sport in exhausting detail. There’s also a podcast done by the guys who run a blog about my beloved Yankees, in which they discuss the ins-and-outs of the Yankees in exhausting detail. But that’s good; aside from the fact I find wonky baseball talk really enjoyable, it helped me gain some perspective on what the characters in Out in the Field would care about, what their discussions with each other about the sport might sound like.

I wrote whole sections of the book while parked in my living room with a baseball game on in the background. I think the ambient noise of that helped; it was easy to imagine standing in a stadium with the roar of the crowd around me, or to think about the level of concentration it would take to drown out all that noise. (I mean, have you ever been to a baseball game? It gets LOUD in the stadium.)

I pulled in current events. I remember writing one morning when I saw a news story about fans yelling homophobic slurs during a Yankees game. (If I remember correctly, the fans changed the lyrics of “YMCA” to something like, “You are so gay!”) That’s been an ugly element of the game and its fandom for as long as I’ve been a fan. I’m happy to say that Major League Baseball is cracking down on that sort of thing—shouting a homophobic slur at a player is a good way to get yourself escorted out of the stadium now—but it wasn’t very long ago that this was commonplace.

And then you have the players themselves. I will admit, Matt Blanco is modeled after Derek Jeter a little bit. I’ve been following the Yankees with fanatical devotion since the early ‘90s, so I witnessed nearly all of Jeter’s career from rookie to being the Captain. He’s one of those players that even non-Yankees fans admire. That’s what I wanted Matt Blanco to be—the sort of player everybody likes, who is clearly Hall-of-Fame bound, but whose career is waning. Iggy is entirely a product of my imagination, however. I liked the idea of the contrast between Iggy’s shiny newness and Matt’s slightly more cynical view of the sports-industrial complex.

The first edition of the book came out in 2012, so I’ve been living with these characters a long time. It was fun to revisit them to revise the book for the second edition. I made a lot of updates to the book to reflect how opportunities for LGBT athletes have changed in the last 4+ years. I added some new scenes between Matt and Iggy that I think flesh out their relationship. I fixed some gaffes. (I sometimes get email from baseball fans pointing out tiny flubs. The sad thing is that it’s totally the sort of thing I would notice if I were reading baseball romance written by somebody else.)

So that’s some about the background behind the book. I do hope this new edition has something for both fans of the book and new readers to like.

OitFCard

I’d like to give away a book from my backlist—and if you’re a sports fan, may I recommend The Windup?—so I’ll pick a random winner from the comments. Tell me below if you have a favorite sports romance, sports movie, or just a favorite sport. (Or all of the above.) You have until midnight on 5/20 to let me know, then I’ll pick a winner.

Check out Out in the Field today!

OutInTheField_postcard_front_DSP

BLURB:

Matt Blanco is a legend on the Brooklyn Eagles, but time and injuries have taken their toll. With his career nearing its end, he’s almost made it to retirement without anyone learning his biggest secret: he’s gay in a profession not particularly known for its tolerance.

Iggy Rodriquez is the hot new rookie in town, landing a position in the starting lineup of the team of his dreams and playing alongside his idol, Matt Blanco. Iggy doesn’t think it can get any better, until an unexpected encounter in the locker room with Matt proves him wrong.

A relationship—and everything it could reveal—has never been in the cards for Matt, but Iggy has him rethinking his priorities. They fall hard for each other, struggling to make it through trades, endorsement deals, and the threat of retirement. Ultimately they will be faced with a choice: love or baseball?

BIO:

Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and an unabashed romance fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with base­ball. She has served as President of Rainbow Romance Writers and is currently the president of the New York City chapter of RWA. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Website: http://www.katemcmurray.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/katemcmwriter
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/katemcmurraywriter

 

All the Ways to Love with Max MacGowan

May 16, 2016

All the Ways to Love

Hi, my name is Max. I’ve always loved stories about polyamory. A great big extended family formed by passion and friendship and choice—that’s as close to heaven as it gets for me. There are so many reasons to find yourself folded in, and so many stories to be told about the uniqueness of the relationships.

That’s what made me want to write Five-Sided Heart. Even when it fought me—and it fought like a whole pack of wildcats sometimes—that passion kept me going. It keeps Noah, Ian, Joshua, Ty and Gabriel going too. Each of them has been through a rough patch in recent years. Noah, kicked out of his home. Ian, wrestling with the emotional scars left by an abusive ex. Gabriel, struggling to come to terms with physical scars. Ty, who carries the weight of the world on his too-willing shoulders and doesn’t know how to ask for help. Joshua, who’s been behind bars. They’re an unlikely group and they know it, yet they keep getting pulled back in as inexorably as the tide. In each other they start to find the strength they need to carry on, the healing they had to accept to survive, and the affection their lonely souls were starving for.

I laughed with them, and I cried with them. I cursed them and I cheered for them. In the end, I felt like I’d run a marathon, and I would do it again tomorrow. My dream is that their story touches those who read it, even in some small way, and that you enjoy reading it.

And I’m curious. What’s your favorite kind of relationship in fiction or in the real world? They’re all valid, no wrong answers, but I love to hear love stories as much as I love to write them. Leave a comment below and tell me what makes you happiest.

— Max

FiveSidedHeart_postcard_front_DSP

Five-Sided Heart Blurb

Noah Trevelyan has lost his moorings. Disowned over his sexuality as a teenager, he hasn’t been back to his home on the Outer Banks since his fisherman father kicked him out. But when he returns for the Old Man’s funeral, he discovers his father left him the house and boat in his will. Noah must choose whether to stay or go, but he won’t be alone.

There’s Ian, working to overcome the emotional scars left by a domineering ex-boyfriend, and Ty, a cheerful housekeeper who’s struggling to take care of his Alzheimer’s-stricken aunt. There’s Joshua too, running from the destruction of his old life, and Gabriel, who was once beaten and left for dead, and doesn’t know how to survive on his own.

Will they find in each other the strength and courage to keep living—and learn, together, how to love again? A polyamorous relationship is the last thing any of them expected to find in the Outer Banks, but it might be what they need most, and it might even be their redemption—if they can keep their group from breaking apart under the pressure.

 

Check out Five-Sided Heart today!

Dreamspinner Press
All Romance
Amazon

 

About the Author

Max MacGowan is a work in progress. They’ve just turned forty, and are determined not to go gently into that good night. They identify as nonbinary genderqueer, and prefer they/them pronouns. While they can be quiet, friends will tell you all that still water can’t quite hide Max’s quirky personality, Or maybe it’s the ever-present puckish twinkle in the eyes that’s really to blame.

Max has a fantastic time writing male/male romance, and is especially fond of polyamory, found families, love in unexpected places, friends who become lovers, and romantic comedies. They’re owned by two rowdy tomcats who take pains to make sure their owner doesn’t ever get the status confused.

You can find Max on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/people/Max-MacGowan/100009993105655 or send them an e-mail at “max.macgowan.author@gmail.com”. They’d love to hear from you!

A Dad Comes Out to His Kids: An Excerpt from Big Love

May 12, 2016

BigLove-400x600 copy

Big Love has a wonderful father at its heart—Dane Bernard, a man who, relatively late in life and after the loss of his wife, comes to terms with being gay. This is how he tells his two teenage kids, Joey and Clarissa:

EXCERPT

How to say it? How does one break news like this?

Maybe an object lesson…. Not so long ago, Bruce—now Caitlyn—Jenner had been everywhere one looked. Perhaps he could use the former Olympic medalist’s journey to illustrate his own parallel need to finally come to terms with who he was, to live an honest life at last.

“You guys remember Caitlyn Jenner?” He grinned, feeling cold suddenly, as though all the color were draining out of him.

Joey snickered. “That old Kardashian dude? Became a woman? He looked pretty hot on the cover of that magazine, though. I mean for an old dude.”

Dane cut his gaze to his son. “Be respectful,” he admonished.

Joey continued shoveling mac and cheese into his mouth.

“Anyway, I thought what he—she—did took a lot of courage. It was a very brave move.”

Clarissa shoved her chair back from the table. “Dad. I really need to get back to Jesse. Is this all?”

It was Dane’s turn to roll his eyes. They were going to make it difficult for him to build up to his revelation. Maybe that was good. Sort of like being pushed out of an airplane when you first skydive….

“Jenner—Caitlyn was very brave,” Dane repeated and found he couldn’t look at his children. He stared down at the table, feeling his breath quicken. Beads of sweat popped out on his forehead. He could feel them up there, and he swiped at them. “She had carried around something that was important to her being for so many years. I know she got lots of publicity, good and bad, and lots of money, but I still think to make the move she did, to live an honest life, was courageous. Don’t you?”

“Brave? To wear women’s underwear?” Joey snickered.

“Joey, please!”

“What’s the point of all this?” Clarissa asked, finally glancing up from the screen on her phone.

Maybe you should do this another time. No. That would just be taking an easy out. These are kids. Another time is not going to be any different. You know that. You know them. But it’s time to take off the gloves. Maybe the object lesson would be good in a classroom, but a family kitchen? Forget it! Dane chuckled to himself. That seemed to get their attention. Both of them looked up.

“What?” Clarissa asked.

Dane blew out a big sigh. Out with it. “I was talking about Jenner to make a point. Jenner the man waited until he was sixty-five to come out—”

“Wait a minute! Dad’s gonna tell us he’s gonna become a woman!” Joey said, and both he and his sister collapsed in laughter.

This was not going the way Dane anticipated. At all.

“Yeah. He’ll need, like, size seventeen pumps!”

That tickled the two of them even more. Dane just stared.

When his children saw he was not joining them in the hilarity, their laughter dried up quickly. Clarissa’s mouth dropped open.

“You’re not. Are you? I mean, transitioning….”

Dane shook his head. “What do you think? I’d make a hideous woman. What I’m trying to say, Joey, Clarissa, is that I’ve had feelings for many years. Not feelings that I was in the wrong body, but feelings that I hid away, mostly from myself, but also from everyone I knew, including your mom, God rest her soul.”

He regarded his children at the table. Any vestige of joking or laughter had left their faces. He was certain they had no idea what was coming, but he wondered if there was something, instinctive maybe, within them that told them to brace themselves.

In the end there was no way to say it other than just to say it. He felt a curious sensation—a tightening inside. He felt he was steeling himself. He breathed out—whoosh—and said it. “I’m gay.”

Joey picked up a radish from his salad and flung it at him. “You are not! Dude, please!”

Clarissa shoved back her chair. “This has all been very fun, although I’m not certain I understand the point of it, but can I go to my room now? Please.”

Dane reached out, took Joey’s hand, took Clarissa’s. “Kids. I’m serious. This is something I’ve struggled against my whole life. Losing your mom has made me see how little time we have, and I just can’t live a lie anymore.”

Clarissa snatched her hand away. She looked up at him with wounded eyes. “Just to be sure. You’re not punking us here? This isn’t a joke?”

Dane shook his head.

There was something snide to her tone, but underneath that Dane could read hope. Hope that he’d confirm he was having them on, kidding around.

“It’s not a joke. This doesn’t change anything. I’m still your dad, still the same guy. I’m still here for you. I still love you—with every fiber of my being.”

Clarissa stood up from the table so fast her chair toppled over to the tile floor behind her. Dane could see she was shaking, and it made his heart ache.

“It doesn’t change anything?” Her voice went up high. “It doesn’t change anything? Are you out of your mind? It changes everything!”

She screeched this last bit, but Dane could see unshed tears standing in her eyes.

God. I should have kept this to myself. What’s said can never be unsaid. What have I done? What Pandora’s box have I opened? Dane said softly, “You’re right. It changes things. Changes who you thought I was, and that’s not small. But what I was trying to say—badly, I guess—was that it doesn’t change what’s essential—my love for you and your brother. The fact that I will be here for you both, always.”

Clarissa was shaking her head. “You’re unbelievable. Fucking unbelievable.”

Even Joey’s mouth dropped open as he stared, slack-jawed, at his sister. “Chill. Can’t you see this is hard for him?”

Dane looked over at his son. He was still holding his hand, and Joey smiled at him and squeezed. The tiny gesture made Dane want to cry. If you had asked him, before he told them this essential truth, which kid would have a problem with it, Joey was the one he would have picked.

“Hard for him?” Clarissa’s lips nearly vanished into a thin horizontal line.

Dane always thought the descriptor of someone’s eyes blazing was hyperbole, purple prose, but now in his daughter’s brown eyes, he saw it really happen.

“Please, honey,” Dane said, reaching out with his other hand.

She backed away, looking down at his hand with horror, as if it was diseased. “No! No! So, what? You used Mom all these years to hide behind?”

She took a couple more steps back toward the kitchen’s exit. “And what? Now that she’s gone, you can be free to be your faggot self?”

“Stop it!” Joey cried. “That’s too harsh.”

Dane didn’t know what to say and cursed himself for it. Mutely, he looked from one child to the other.

Clarissa turned and walked out of the room, calling over her shoulder, “The only thing that’s harsh is finding out we have a liar for a dad.”

Dane slumped. Joey pulled his hand away, but only to pat his dad’s shoulder.

“She doesn’t mean it. She’s just, um, like, surprised, you know?” He squeezed Dane’s shoulder. “It is an awful lot to take in. Dude, are you sure?”

Dane made himself look at his son. He nodded. “I’m sure.”

 BLURB
Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.

But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.

As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small-town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

BUY–35% OFF RIGHT NOW!

Dreamspinner Press ebook: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7583

Dreamspinner Press paperback: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7584

NOH8RickBIO

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love.

He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). He is also a Rainbow Award Winner for both Caregiver and Raining Men. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.”

Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

STALK RICK

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rickrreedbooks
Twitter: www.twitter.com/rickrreed
Blog: http://rickrreedreality.blogspot.com/
Website: www.rickrreed.com

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/rick-r-reed
Email ID: rickrreedbooks@gmail.com  

 

Dream or Reality? With Tempeste O’Riley – Post + Giveaway

May 12, 2016

Dream or Reality

Welcome to the Dreamers’ Destiny Blog Tour. I want to begin with special thanks to Dreamspinner Press Blog for welcoming me today. I hope you’ll follow the entire tour. There are plenty of chances to win a signed paperback copy from my backlist, $25 at Dreamspinner Press, an audiobook of either Designs of Desire or Caged Sanctuary, and more!

Each tour stop will feature an excerpt along with some question that relates to the post. Check the Rafflecopter at the end of the post to enter your answer to the question. A few stops will have special (additional) giveaways as well, so make sure you check out the whole post!

Today stop is actually the third along out tour (click HERE to find the full tour listing). Now, let’s see what our guys are up to today….

People don’t just materialize into reality simply because you want them to so desperately that waking up breaks your heart.

 

This isn’t only the tagline for Dreamers’ Destiny, but it pretty much sums up the whole of Liam’s reality at the start of the story. As you can see from the blurb (so nope, it’s not a spoiler, lol), each man believes the other to be just a dream construct. A dream lover and nothing more. HA! Silly boys!

How would you go about dealing with having a dream lover that it’s not the EDJ (evil day job) that makes you want to do vile and probably illegal things to your alarm clock over, but the fact that your lover will poof into wherever he goes when you wake. Oh, and you never know if he’ll be there again that night or if it might not be m o n t h s before you “see” him again.

Liam is about at his wits end with this—especially given how long he’s had/not had Cameron. But when he thinks he sees Cam in the waking world, how can he reconcile that? How would you? How would you deal with someone you knew only existed in your dreams walking right past you, or up to you? I’m not so sure I’d take that too well, LOL.

Cam doesn’t do so well either, as you can see below….

 

 

Liam walked beside Cam, noting every nuance of the man he’d been with most of his life, even if they’d never met while awake before. He was entranced with how Cam moved. He thought of the way Cam had spoken using his hands to emphasize and punctuate his voice when they were inside the tattoo shop, and even the little sidestep to separate them didn’t surprise or bother Liam any. Liam had expected it, truthfully, but he’d needed to feel Cam, to know he wasn’t imagining all this, either—that fleeting touch in the tattoo shop hadn’t been nearly enough.

Working with Nosha the last couple of weeks had been interesting, and he’d started to believe Cam might be real. However, seeing and touching Cam was very different from trying to willfully take control of his dreams or debating Cameron’s possible existence. And touching him? Liam suppressed a shiver as he opened the door for Cam to enter the little coffee shop.

“Thanks,” Cam murmured. “You always do things like this in the dreams too,” he added so softly Liam almost missed it.

Liam smiled, hoping Cam could adjust to this new knowledge and glad he’d noticed how Liam acted both in their dreams and now.

Thankfully, it wasn’t busy right then, so they got their coffees and were seated at the farthest table from the other patrons in a few minutes. Liam waited, watching Cam as he fidgeted with his cup, steadfastly refusing to meet Liam’s eyes.

Liam cleared his throat and asked, “Will you look at me, please?”

Cam raised his head slowly before finally meeting his gaze. “I don’t understand how you’re here. You’re supposed to only exist in my head. Well, in my dreams, anyway.”

Liam chuckled, thinking of how he’d made the same argument with Di and Nosha not that long ago about his seeing Cam at the club. “I’m still not entirely certain how all this works, but I’m quite real. As are you, it seems.”

The silver eyes before him flashed a moment before Cam snorted softly, then smiled, almost. “Why don’t you seem more, I don’t know, upset? I mean, this should be just as much of a shock for you as it is for me. Or do you go around invading people’s dreams and doing all those things with others you do with me all the time?”

He blinked hard as he thought about what to say and which questions to even answer.

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Dreamers’ Destiny
by Tempeste O’Riley
M/M Erotic Contemporary, Occult/Paranormal, Romance
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Reese Dante
Release Date: May 13, 2016 (ebook/print)
Length: Novel / 200 pages

Order:

♥ ♥ Dreamspinner PressAll RomanceAmazon ♥ ♥

Add to: Goodreads

Description:

Liam Grady is the owner of the Feathered Quill, a quirky little bookstore in Asheville, and—though he doesn’t realize it yet—a dream walker. His last relationship failed almost a year ago, and he’s not had the interest or nerve to pursue anyone he’s met since.

Cameron Danu is a tattoo artist from rural Georgia. Cameron is left without a job after his boss, Jose, is forced to close the shop after a heart attack. When Cameron learns Jose has set up an interview for him at a small tattoo parlor in Asheville, he hopes for a fresh start in a new town.

Fate brings Cameron and Liam together, and they realize they’ve met before—in their dreams. A chance encounter and a winged tattoo might lead them to their destiny—if fear doesn’t turn their dreams into a nightmare.

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

Other Works by Author:

http://i1056.photobucket.com/albums/t371/Tempeste_O/covers/promos/tempeste%20transparent%20updated_zpstrclwnlf.png

Designs of DesireSimple Desires*+ – Bound by Desire* – Desires’ Guardian
Temptations of DesireTruth in Lace* – Desires’ Pride* – Signs of Desire
Micah’s Medicine+ – Caged SanctuaryWhiskers of a Chance

*shorts in series +shorts in anthologies


(click HERE to find the full tour listing)

About the Author:

TO-logo-250-transparent

Tempeste O’Riley is an out and proud pansexual genderfluid whose best friend growing up had the courage to do what they couldn’t—defy the hate and come out. He has been their hero ever since.

Tempe is a hopeless romantic who loves strong relationships and happily-ever-afters. They has done many things in their life, yet writing has always drawn them back—no matter what else life has thrown their way. They counts her friends, family, and Muse as their greatest blessings in life. They lives in Wisconsin with their children, reading, writing, and enjoying life—especially now that they have joined the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence® (as Novice Sister Eroti-Quill… can’t imagine where that name came from).

Tempe is also a proud PAN member of Romance Writers of America®, WisRWA, and Rainbow Romance Writers. Tempe’s preferred pronouns are they/them/their/theirs/themselves. To learn more about Tempeste and their writing, visit http://tempesteoriley.com.

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Tempeste’s Temptations