Serena Yates: Sexy Book Covers, Favorite Genres, and More!

July 7, 2015

Serena Yates chats with blog readers today!

Tell us how you choose those sexy book covers for your Workplace Encounters series!

They all start with the main character in each book, who initially only exists in my brain. Then I complete a cover spec questionnaire which goes to the Dreamspinner Press art department. And that is where the “magic” starts. Honestly—I can’t take all the credit, simply because L/C. Chase, the brilliant cover artist who has been working with me on this series, must be a mind reader. She takes the questionnaire, comes up with some wonderful alternatives for me to choose from, and most of the time the first model she picks is exactly the man I was looking for. Magic, I tell you!

Baker[The]SM                        ElevatorMechanic[The]SM                          Bricklayer[The]SM                         Carpenter[The]SM                        Chauffeur[The]SM                          ShipEngineer[The]SM                                                                                                                                                         
Your new novella in the Workplace Encounters series, The Baker, features a Scottish baker donning a kilt. What inspired you to write his character?

I’ve been wanting to write another book with a main character in a kilt for quite a while. So I started with “I need a man of Scottish descent” who is also a baker. Ian Wallace “popped” into my head (yes, he was wearing a kilt!) and I started asking him questions. What do you like baking? Where do you live and work? What is your family like? Who is your ideal man? As usual, one thing led to another and “The Baker” was born.

Do you have a favorite couple in your Workplace Encounters series?

I don’t think I do – I like them all. I think Joe and Bill from The Elevator Mechanic will always be special because they were the first… But each new couple is special in their own way. I’d love to hear from readers if they have a favorite and who that might be!

What are five of your favorite gay romance reads and briefly share why.

I don’t think I can narrow it down to only five. I LOVE reading gay romance, and it depends on my mood which type of book I go for. One of my favorites is definitely the sweet contemporary romance, but dark and angsty has its place in my TBR too. I could never write like that, but occasionally I like to read the tortured characters some authors do so well. Then there is BDSM. Another genre I don’t think I will write (but you never know), but I definitely enjoy reading all types of stories involving power exchange. Then there are the shifters, vampires, aliens, magic wielders of all descriptions…The list is endless and it never seems as if I have enough time to read everything I want to.

 What is one thing you waste time on when you should be writing?

This is embarrassing…. I love to play computer games. My biggest weakness (and longest-standing addiction) is Civilization. I am currently exploring Civilization V and don’t think I’ll get bored anytime soon. But I have to admit I love playing Minecraft too – it’s all my thirteen-year-old niece’s fault that one!

New Releases: July 6th, 2015

July 6, 2015

Family and Reflection by Anne Barwell

 

A plague of deaths, a series of burglaries, and a council keeping secrets change everything for werewolf Lucas and vampire Declan.

Sequel to Electric Candle; The Sleepless City: Book Three

 

For as long as Lucas Coate can remember, werewolves have been taught to mistrust vampires. Lucas is an exception—he has close friends who are vampires. The werewolf pack in Flint—and their leader, Jacob Coate—have made it clear that Lucas’s association with vampires is barely tolerated and another transgression will be his last. When Lucas finds out about the plague of werewolf deaths in the area, he wants to help even though his own life may already be in danger.

 

Declan has been away from Flint for ten years, but he isn’t surprised to learn that the internal politics of the Supernatural Council haven’t changed for the better. When a series of burglaries hit close to home soon after he arrives, Declan—a vampire and professional thief—is their prime suspect, although for once, he isn’t responsible. With the council keeping secrets, no one is safe. Time is running out, and for Lucas and Declan, everything is about to change.

 

Length: Novel (226p.) | Genre: Paranormal, Werewolves/Shapeshifters, Vampires, Mystery/Suspense

Release Date: July 6, 2015

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63476-208-3) | Buy as Paperback  ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-63476-207-6)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning His Life Around by Grace R. Duncan

 

Kane screws up big time, and he’s afraid he can’t fix it. He’s sure he’ll lose Ian—his best friend, his Dom, his everything—forever.

When Kane Harris’s world turns upside down, his lifelong best friend is the only one to catch him.

 

Years ago, Ian Kelly accepted Kane would never return his love, since he knows Kane believes he’s incapable of it. Ian is willing to settle for what he can get—a best friend, sometimes casual lover, and occasional submissive. He’s learned he can’t live without Kane, but he can’t let Kane know. Because when, not if, Kane confirms that Ian’s love will never be returned, Ian won’t be able to take it. But when Kane loses his job and asks Ian to step up their play to help him deal, Ian’s ability to hide his feelings falters. Then Kane starts his own computer security firm and asks Ian to join him, and Ian struggles further.

 

It’s not until they visit the exclusive BDSM club the Iron Door that things come to a head. Kane screws up big time, and he’s afraid he can’t fix it. He’s sure he’ll lose his best friend, his Dom, his everything… forever.

 

Length: Novel (240p.) | Genre: BDSM, Contemporary | Release Date: July 6, 2015

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63476-101-7) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-63476-100-0)

Kinky Experiences with Grace R. Duncan

July 6, 2015

kinky experiences

Hello everyone! This is Grace R. Duncan and today is the release of my new contemporary BDSM novel, Turning His Life Around.

I actually started Turning a long time ago. When I first started writing it, I was just beginning to understand all that BDSM was about and what it meant to me. Make no mistake, I’ve been kinky for almost as long as I’ve been sexual. But I didn’t really understand what it all was or how it worked.

Not all of my kinky experiences happened within a romantic relationship. In fact, many of them were with people who are just friends. Sometimes, play is just that—play. Two people have fun and enjoy something mutual. One thing to remember, here, is that BDSM doesn’t require sex. One of the best scenes I’ve ever had involved me getting my ass paddled (and spanked, among other things) but the guy spanking me never touched me sexually. Another time, I volunteered to let people learn fire play with me and though I was naked, there was nothing sexual about it. Sure, sex can be involved, but it doesn’t have to be.

But sometimes kinky relationships stem from existing romantic relationships. Couples—or more—who discover kink after being together for a long time. It’s often a natural progression to go from vanilla sex to experimenting with other things—tying someone up, blindfolding them, a swat here or there—all of which can lead to even more.

However, it’s not always that clear cut. Sometimes what seems so to be only friendship between two playing starts to feel like something more. BDSM—especially D/s and pain play—involves a lot of trust, on both sides of the relationship. For a submissive to be able to let go and simply experience, they have to be able to trust their Dom. Some level of trust is necessary if they’re going to go into that oft-coveted place: subspace.

It can mean that the lines between simple play between friends and that of a romantic relationship can be blurred. It’s even worse if those boundaries weren’t that clear to begin with. What happens when two best friends who’d been so all their lives start to realize there’s more between them then occasionally fucking or saying, “Yes, Sir?”

Turning explores that. Things have always been relatively simple for Kane. They were rough when he was little, but still fairly simple. He avoided his mom’s boyfriends. He spent his days with his best friend, Ian. As they got older and away from his mother, that didn’t change all that much. Now, he didn’t have to worry about the boyfriends, but he still simply hung out with his best friend and focusing on being a teenager like most others—except for being gay, of course.

But that friendship was always there and Kane never questioned that. Until his life turns upside down and he’s faced with a whole mess of change he never expected. And through it all, the one person he’d come to depend on is still there, still his rock.

They’re not just best friends, though. They’ve been happy to be fuck buddies when neither was dating anyone. And a few years before Kane’s life goes so crazy, they start exploring BDSM.

So when it does get more than a little crazy, those already-fuzzy lines get much blurrier. Kane is asked, on more than one occasion, what Ian is to him and he discovers he’s having a hard time explaining. Everyone seems determined to label Ian as Kane’s boyfriend or partner, but Kane keeps refusing… until he tries to list all the things Ian is… and isn’t quite sure where to stop.

A big portion of what pushes him further is when they start playing more often. Kane needs the grounding the scenes with Ian gives him, with all the changes in his life. And the more they play, the harder it is for him to find those lines once again.

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Have you had relationships where the lines blurred for you? Could you play with a friend? Tell me about these for a chance to win a copy of any of my backlist titles!

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Be sure to follow the tour for more opportunities to win and learn lots more about Kane and Ian! Check it out here!

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About Grace:

Grace Duncan grew up with a wild imagination.  She told stories from an early age – many of which got her into trouble. Eventually, she learned to channel that imagination into less troublesome areas, including fanfiction, which is what has led her to writing male/male erotica.

A gypsy in her own right, Grace has lived all over the United States.  She has currently set up camp in East Texas with her husband and children – both the human and furry kind.

As one of those rare creatures who loves research, Grace can get lost for hours on the internet, reading up on any number of strange and different topics.  She can also be found writing fanfiction, reading fantasy, crime, suspense, romance and other erotica or even dabbling in art.

Find Grace here:

Website  ◊ FacebookTwitterGoodreads

 

Turning His Life Around

ebook            Paperback

New Releases: July 3rd, 2015

July 3, 2015

Freshman Blues by Ravon Silvius

 

Funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose any chance with Frederick.

When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.

 

Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.

 

But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.

 

Length: Novel (254p.) | Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, New Adult | Release Date: July 3, 2015

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63476-234-2) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-63476-233-5)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sons of the Countryside by Jenni Michaels

 

Cailean, the last prince of the Phela line, knows he’s a hunted man. He didn’t expect to fall for Knox, the man charged with killing him.

In the kingdom of Ailis, the Council removes all magicians from their family at the onset of their powers. All except one—Knox Cane, whose father hid him to keep him safe. But when Knox’s skills become known, the Council captures his father and gives him an ultimatum: use his abilities to help them locate and kill the last prince of the Phela line, the royal family the Council overthrew twenty years before, or never see his father again.

 

When he was just a child, Cailean Phela lost most of his family in a senseless slaughter perpetuated by a power-hungry group of men. His race—the Mac Tire—were banished to the nearly uninhabitable northern mountains of Cairn, where their numbers have dwindled. Luckily for the Mac Tire, the rising resistance is finally ready to make a move. If they can harness the magic the land holds for them before time runs out, they might find the strength to take back their kingdom.

 

Cailean knows he is a hunted man. He anticipates a difficult battle to free his land from the Council’s tyranny, but he never expected to fall in love with the man charged with ending his life.

 

Length: Novel (200p.) | Genre: High Fantasy | Release Date: July 3, 2015

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-284-7) | Buy as Paperback ($14.99 ISBN: 978-1-63216-283-0)

Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: Celebrate!

July 3, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-07-03 at 8.58.06 PM

So, people must be wondering a lot about all this talk about starting college when it’s July-and tomorrow is the 4th!

I figured I’d go out with a figurative bang and talk about vacations, since summer vacation—and vacations from work—are a grand part of life, whether it be school life or work life. At the end of the day, no matter one’s worries about work and school, what really matters is one’s family and loved ones. What with the landmark victory last week for gay marriage and the coming celebration of America’s birthday, I figured it would be good to talk about partying!

In Freshman Blues, people party before vacations with enormous frat parties and celebrations, complete with showing off superpowers. In college, I can’t count the number of random parties, Thirsty Thursday celebrations, and Friday night celebrations that happened for very little reason other than to have fun. I worked a lot of my own fun or funny college experiences into the book. After all, a huge part of college life is goofing off!

But how do you guys celebrate? Will your fourth be spent by the pool, at a barbecue, or out on a lawn, watching fireworks? For those outside the U.S., what sort of vacations do you take when you have the chance—or what would your dream vacation be?

Let’s talk about partying as I leave my last post for the day! Thank you all so much for participating!

Just as a last reminder, you can grab Freshman Blues here at Dreamspinner!   You can also check out my other work, or visit me to continue the conversation past the release party, at my blog!

I’m going to leave you all with one last cover shot, blurb, and an excerpt! Thanks again everyone, and I’ll be around to chat in the comments until midnight!

Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.

Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.

But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.

Excerpt:

Chapter one

Chris took a deep breath. Then another. The Isaac Newton dormitory loomed over his head.

The engine of his parents’ car gunned, and he gave a weak wave to his mother. The last thing he saw was her proud smile as the car began to pull away, leaving him on the sidewalk with his two enormous suitcases by his feet. The car rushed past the faded sign proclaiming “Creekville University, 1891,” and then was gone.

Chris turned back to the double doors and took another deep breath, the butterflies in his stomach threatening to spill out of his mouth. He took a crumpled paper out of his pocket.

“Are you lost?” He jumped at the voice. A girl with long blonde hair smiled at him, her teeth bright white. “Need help with your bags?”

“Uh….” He cleared his throat and started again. “I’m Chris Taklo. I’m, uh, a freshman.”

She smiled wider. “I figured as much. What floor are you on?”

“Fourth floor. Reed Hall.”

“Great!” She stuck out a hand, and he stared at it for a moment before shaking. “I’m Krystal, and I’ll be your RA this year. Welcome to the Newton dorm.”

Chris took a breath, his stomach calming. “Thanks.”

“Parents aren’t helping you move in?” When Chris shook his head, she nodded. “That’s fine. What room number are you? No, wait. Let’s get your bags first. You’re sure it’s Reed Hall, right?”

“Right. Room number….” He glanced at the paper in his hand. “Four-oh-nine.”

“Okay. Here we go!”

She began to recite something, and tension fizzed on Chris’s skin. He tried to pick out the words and numbers, and figured it out just as his bags began to levitate off the ground.

It was a physics equation, and it rattled off her tongue so fast he could barely make out the pronunciation of big G and little G, mass and velocity. The bags soon floated over his head, and then up toward the window of the fourth floor. Krystal changed the recitation, rattling off variables related to momentum, and the bags floated through the window.

“There.” She took a breath, then broke into another large smile. “That should lighten your load.”

Chris kept staring at the open window where his bags had disappeared. This was college. He hoped he could make it through even one semester. “Thanks.”

“Don’t look so down. You might be able to do that one day, if you decide to major in physics.” She patted him on the shoulder, then hopped up the cement stairs. “C’mon, let’s get you to your room. Do you know what you want to major in yet?”

Chris’s mouth twisted. “Not yet.”

“That’s okay.” The interior was plain, the walls a smoky yellow. Fire doors marked exits down long hallways, but Chris didn’t get the chance to explore before Krystal hit the elevator button with a well-manicured fingernail. “A lot of freshmen come in not knowing what they want to do. I’m sure some of the older students will give you suggestions, though.”

“Right.” The elevator dinged, and Chris stepped inside. A blue tarp stretched across the interior, and he peeked over. There was nothing on the other side.

“That’s for researchers transporting animals,” Krystal said. Chris blinked. “And here we are—Reed Hall.”

The doors swung open to the Reed Hall of the Isaac Newton dormitory, fourth floor. Chris’s new college home.

Green carpeted hallways led to two lounges on either side of the elevator lobby. His bags lay on the floor of the lounge to the left. A guy with a buzz cut was currently using them as a footrest. A football game blared on the television.

“Derric!” Krystal shouted. The buzz cut guy raised an arm in a lazy wave. “Get off the new student’s bags!”

Derric lifted his legs, Chris’s suitcase falling on its side. “Sorry,” he said with a shrug.

Chris sighed, then walked over and pulled the bags away from the chair Derric sat in. “You a freshman?” Derric asked, his gaze swiveling from the TV mounted on the wall. “That’s all you have?”

“Yep.” Chris grunted as he lifted the bags.

Derric shrugged again, then went back to watching the game. Well, fine, then. He wasn’t someone Chris would bother with much.

Reed Hall stretched down past the two lounges, a row of closed doors on either side. The first one he passed was decorated with colorful letters spelling Krystal R.A.

“This is my room.” Krystal had followed him. “There are sixteen people in Reed Hall, though I haven’t met all the new arrivals yet. Can you manage from here?”

Chris nodded. He certainly hoped so.

“Great! We have a hall meeting tonight at eight where you’ll meet all your hallmates. Let me know if you need anything at all. The two guys in the room next to mine are also seniors, and I wouldn’t ask Frederick, but you can ask Kiefer anything if you can’t tell me.” She winked, and Chris’s face heated. “Also, your roommate is a sophomore, so you can ask him whatever you want too. Welcome again!” She waved, and Chris waved back before heading on down the hall. He wondered who Frederick was, and why he shouldn’t speak to him.

Most of the doors he passed were closed, including the one next to Krystal’s, where she’d said the seniors lived. There were two bathrooms—one for males and one for females—and finally he passed another open door.

Paintings covered the entire room. Some were modern—splotches of bright color on white canvas—and others depicted stick figures. A few were more detailed, showing women in colorful dresses dancing in a brightly lit ballroom. A girl with long dark hair sat behind a desk, sketching something. She lifted her hand from the pencil for a moment, the utensil staying aloft and continuing to sketch. Almost certainly an art major, Chris thought.

Chris kept moving, staying aware of the numbers on the doors. His room was last.

He passed another open door, but the room had no occupant. A giant football jersey was spread across the doorway. Must be Derric’s room.

Finally, he stopped outside room 409, a bright red exit door down the hall to his left. He set down his bags and fumbled for his keys a moment before swinging open the door.

“Don’t move!” someone shrieked. Chris froze.

Two enormous computer towers met his gaze, and parts littered the floor. A guy with slicked black hair and glasses stood, a pair of tweezers in his hand.

“You’re my roommate, right?” he said. “Okay, give me a few seconds to get this stuff off the floor.”

“Uh… what are you doing?” Chris asked. His new roommate turned one of the computer towers, the interior gutted.

“Making some adjustments.” He began picking up electronic bits from the floor near the door, waving a hand. “Sorry. I wasn’t expecting you. My roommate from last year never showed up, so I guess I kind of… forgot.” He grabbed wiring that lay near the empty bed on what Chris guessed would be his side of the room. “Come in, come in. I’m Gene. Short for Eugene, but… just call me Gene. You?”

“Chris.” He stepped carefully into the room, arms straining as he lifted his suitcases onto the bed. He wished he knew a few physics equations at the level Krystal did.

“Nice to meet you.” Gene shoved one of the computer towers back under his desk with a foot. “I guess, um, tell me about yourself. Where you’re from, all that stuff. We’re roommates now!”

“Uh… I’m from California. I’m nineteen.” He gave a weak smile. “Not really interesting.”

“Nineteen? Same age as me. Old for a freshman.” When Chris didn’t elaborate, Gene shrugged. “Then again, I was young in my year, so whatever. What are you going to major in?”

“Uh… no idea.” Chris set his suitcases on the now-clean floor and sat on the bed.

“Figures. Not many people know. And even the ones who do know as freshmen don’t always know exactly what their abilities will be, even in their field. I don’t know yet, either. I’m majoring in computer engineering, though. Isn’t it obvious?” He gestured to the gutted computer tower.

Some of the tension went out of Chris’s shoulders. “You don’t know your abilities?”

“Nope. Maybe by the end of this year, after a few more classes. Or maybe I’m in the wrong field, and I’ll find out I have amazing skills in basket weaving.” He chuckled, sitting down in a plush computer chair. “Is that all you have, by the way? Where’s your computer?”

“I thought I’d rent one…?”

Gene’s eyes widened. “Wow. Okay, though. I’ll come with. We can go over to ITS, and I’ll help you get something good. Otherwise, you’ll end up with some piece of crap, trust me.” His chair creaked as he stood. “Put your things away. The sooner we go the better, or the good stuff will be gone.”

“Okay.” Chris unzipped one of the bags, thinking for a second. “Let’s just go now, then. All that’s in here are clothes and bedsheets.”

Gene raised a dark eyebrow. “Wow. Light packer, aren’t you?”

“I… don’t have much.”

“Well, let’s go, then. Don’t forget your keys. Unless you’re majoring in locksmithing, of course.” He grinned, and more of the anxiety left Chris’s muscles as he smiled back.

So far, college didn’t seem so bad.

Chris just wished he actually belonged here.

Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: New Adult

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Hello everyone! As the evening goes on, I want to chat a bit more about Frederick, and about why I wanted to write a new adult story in particular.

Frederick is a very private individual, and one who struggles a lot with the thought of his future. I don’t want to spoil anything about the book, but he’s very worried about his job prospects, and that underlies a lot of his uncertainty and character conflict.

I remember my senior year in college well, and I faced a lot of the same worries Frederick did. The last year of college is the last step before independence for a lot of people. For others, it’s the last year of high school, or the last year of graduate school. But at some point, everyone faces the reality of having to find a first job that will, with any luck, lead to a stable career.

As much as I’d like to be a full time writer, I went the PHD path and I am now a researcher. Other people I know decided to get very stable jobs as programmers or work in finance. Others are still finding their footing in a very difficult job market. A large part of the reason I wanted to write New Adult, and ended up writing Freshman Blues, was to explore the thoughts and feelings behind that first step in finding a new job.

So what about all of you? What was your first job? Did you enjoy it, or was it rough? Were you able to find work straight out of high school, college or grad school, or did you struggle for a while? Or are you still looking? Let me know your thoughts! What was, or is, your time as a “New Adult” like?

Also, I noticed that the print version of Freshman Blues is sold out on Amazon. The DSP website should still have some copies, though!

Freshman Blues Release Party with Ravon Silvius: Tough stuff

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Every story needs a conflict, and in Freshman Blues, its Frederick’s unwillingness–or inability– to talk about his feelings and his battle with depression. So, let’s talk a bit about Frederick, the love interest and secondary character in Freshman Blues.

In Freshman Blues, Chris worries a lot about Frederick, who he thinks might be depressed. I wanted to take the time here to talk a little about depression, since I researched it a lot for the book.

Depression is hard to talk about and harder to define. The traditional diagnosis is a period of sadness and lack of ability to enjoy oneself for over two weeks, that’s out of proportion to a tragedy in someone’s life. But how do you define out of proportion? And why wait two weeks if someone is suffering?

I’ve heard plenty of descriptions of depression, both from people who’ve had it and from all over the internet. It’s like operating out a void, or just going through the motions of living. It’s terrifying to hear someone talk about, and quite difficult to know how to help. Chris, too, wants to help Frederick but doesn’t have the expertise or knowledge to do so. All he can do is keep trying to get close to Frederick.

Its well known that due to discrimination, GLBT individuals have slightly higher rates of depression. Thankfully, this is changing as people become more accepting and there is less homophobia in society. Freshman Blues deals with a bit of that as you learn about Frederick, and I did a lot of research on depression to do justice to his character. I’ve never been depressed myself, but given how common it is all over the world, it’s a worthwhile thing to learn about and write about. There’s hope out there!

What about you guys? Have you, or anyone you’ve known, ever been depressed?

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius: Superpowers!

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

So, let’s talk about the fantasy aspect of the contemporary fantasy that is Freshman Blues. The special powers!

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In writing the book, I wanted to have a setting where super powers are present, but I also wanted to avoid the typical “superhero” tropes. People aren’t born with their abilities, they earn them through study of their chosen field. There’s no Superman or X-Men in the Freshman Blues universe. There are, however, people who can use small-time abilities, like levitation or control of robots. But these abilities certainly don’t mean that you’re going to put on a cape and go crime-fighting—what it really means is that you’re employable.

In a way, the abilities are an allegory for mastery—in college in the real world, people always worry about what they can do, and whether they can get a job after graduation. That’s a huge part of the anxiety for senior students in Freshman Blues, including Frederick, who I will talk about more later. If you get out of college with a useless major, or a useless ability, things won’t go well for you. It’s the same worry people face in the real world, minus the superpowers.

While there aren’t any Supermen or Wonder Women in Freshman Blues, who have every power someone could think of, there are a lot of hard-working individuals with a chosen mastery. So my question to readers—if you were in the Freshman Blues world, what power would you aim for? What is your passion, and what superpower would be associated with it? If you like animals, would you want animal communication or control? If you like reading, would you then want speed-reading or instant understanding of a piece of work? What power would you want if you were, say, a cooking major? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back this evening to talk more about Freshman Blues, and I’ll be popping up in the comments of the release party posts in the meantime! :)

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius: New Experiences

July 3, 2015
Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

Starting a new job….starting a new class…starting a new hobby. A large part of life is doing things for the first time, trying out new experiences, and getting over that initial hurdle of anxiety to break out of your safe zone.

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In Freshman Blues, Chris, the main character, is starting his first year of college. Of course, considering his grades, he never expected to be there at all. It’s totally overwhelming for him, especially to see people use super powers they’ve already learned during their time in college.

He’s anxious, of course, but he gets through it by following through and making friends, and of course, developing a crush on another student. Once the initial experience is handled, getting into routine is easy. I think everyone has, to some extent, a tendency to develop routine just to keep themselves calm, even if it’s a simple coffee break at the same time every day.

What small things do you guys use to relax? Is there a routine you like? Or do you prefer to keep things exciting and never do the same thing twice? Tell us all about your first time trying something, and how it went!

Freshman Blues release party with Ravon Silvius!

July 3, 2015

Hello everyone, Ravon Silvius here!

I’ve been a writer of M/M for a while (you can find me at my website, Ravonsilvius.blogspot.com), and I’m here today to take over the blog and discuss my new release with Dreamspinner Press, Freshman Blues!

Freshman Blues

Freshman Blues

When Chris is invited to prestigious Creekville University, he discovers he is part of an experiment by the mysterious Professor Faran. There’s no other way a C student like him would have been accepted into a college where academic mastery results in unique powers like levitation or empathy. But if Faran is right, even below-average students can get special abilities and a good job after graduation. Chris just has to work hard.

Chris isn’t the only one, either. Frederick has worked for Faran for years, and Chris is intrigued by the aloof and sexy older student. But Frederick is too terrified of life after graduation to pursue romance. As they work together, Chris tries to help Frederick out of his depression, all while juggling friendship, classwork, dating, and trying to carve out a place he can belong.

But funding for the experiment is running out, and Chris has to acquire an ability—any ability—soon, or he’ll lose his opportunity at Creekville, and any chance with Frederick, for good.

 

It’s available today at the DSP store! I’ll be around a lot this morning and evening to discuss my book and chat with everyone.

First, a bit about the book. Freshman Blues is a new adult contemporary fantasy, and takes place in a college setting where people can get superpowers based on the major they pick. Everyone comes into college with a goal in mind, a subject they’re passionate about or something they want to learn more about.

Of course, a few characters run into an issue–you want to be able to support yourself after college. And sometimes, the thing you’re passionate about isn’t going to make you money. It’s something a lot of younger people struggle with.

Passion is a tricky thing by itself, too. Its easy to be interesting in something, only to realize that doing it professionally is a whole other kettle of fish. It’s also easy to get discouraged when you try and try at something you love, but don’t compare to your own inner standards.

Of course, when you’re truly passionate about something, things just come together—work doesn’t seem like work, and time flies by as you do what you’re passionate about.

So what are you passionate about, DSP readers? (Aside from reading, of course!) What is the major thing in life you enjoy, the hobby you love, or the thing you’d love to be doing all the time?