July 28, 2014
With his fauxhawk, sleeve tattoos, and visible piercings, Ridley Corbin has the whole badass vibe going on in spades. The image serves him well as the self-proclaimed protector of the underdog, and he wants nothing more than to be Alex Firestone’s hero.
Alex, a mild-mannered library assistant, has moved to Slater, a quiet college town, hoping to hide from his past. He keeps to himself, but that doesn’t save him from catching the unwanted attention of the campus bully. But not all is as it seems. Alex’s past comes calling, and it’s time he becomes top dog.
RIDLEY CORBIN was the protector of the underdog, a role he’d come into as a direct product of his upbringing. A squirrely little kid, he had buckteeth, bright red hair, and was a good ten pounds and two inches shorter than the next smallest kid. A runt, and an ugly one at that, he’d been bullied nearly every day of his first three years at Gates Elementary School.
During those early days, he’d drop to his knees next to his bed and beg God for a little brother or sister. It would have been cool to have had a sibling to play with—even if he or she were forced to play with him by their mom. Apparently something had gone wrong during his birth, though, and they’d had to pull out Mom’s baby box. But hey, at least the prayers had been good for something—he got a puppy.
The summer between third and fourth grade, Ridley thought he’d gotten the next best thing to a sibling. Brock Hanners moved into the house next to his, and Ridley thought that, since they were the only two kids on the cul-de-sac, Brock would want to play with him. He was wrong.
Brock was huge; well, at least to Ridley’s scrawny little ass he was. Much to his dismay, Brock bullied him too. He used to steal Ridley’s bike, take his toys, even came over once and knocked down his clubhouse. Granted it was only a couple of kitchen chairs and old blankets and he was the only member, but it was his. Instead of the friend he had hoped for, Ridley found himself even more miserable after Brock moved in. He was being picked on at school and now bullied at home as well.
However, Ridley was a smart kid and Brock, well, he wasn’t too bright. Brock had been held back a couple of years—hence why he was so much bigger than everyone else. So when classes resumed in the fall, they came to a little agreement. Ridley would do Brock’s homework and Brock would keep Ridley safe at school. Brock was like his own personal bodyguard. Not a perfect arrangement, but he learned some great study habits doing the work of two, and it saved him a crap-ton of ass beatings.
Brock moved away during their junior year of high school, but by then Ridley had had his teeth fixed, his hair had changed from Bozo red to a nice chestnut color, and, most importantly, he’d grown. He was still scrawny, but he was inching up on six feet and had a wicked bank shot.
It would have been easy to become one of those kids who felt that just because he’d been bullied his whole life, it was now his turn to be the bully. Instead, he became more like Brock, except Ridley did it for free and he was a lot smarter. Okay, he was nothing like Brock. He never took advantage of someone and he’d never failed a class, but he did take to the protector part.
So it was only natural that he was on the move as soon as he heard Kyle Bouche’s familiar sneer—Hey, nerd boy. Where can I find a book on Gustave Courbet?—on the other side of the books he was searching through. Damn, he hated that guy. Kyle was the big man at Slater University. Quarterback for the football team, student body president, as well as president of his fraternity, blah, blah, blah. Ridley didn’t normally pay attention to the shit that went on around the campus, couldn’t care less. He kept his head down, stayed to himself, and worked hard to keep his grade point average at a 4.0. The only reason he knew about Kyle’s activities was because the fucker liked to brag about them. Personally, Ridley thought Kyle was a complete and utter dickhead.
Ridley eased his way around the aisle, and there in the next row was Kyle, smirking at Alex Firestone. Ridley was about to step in and teach Kyle a few manners, but stopped when he saw Alex glare at Kyle and say, “Look it up on the computer like everyone else.” Alex then went back to sorting the books in his cart.
Ridley tensed and his hands tightened on the Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood he was holding as Kyle moved up close to Alex. Kyle puffed his chest up in an obvious attempt to intimidate Alex. The idea made Ridley crazy and he wanted so badly to slap Kyle up against his thick head. The little bantam rooster had no idea who he was messing with. Yes, Ridley fancied himself protector of the underdog, but with Alex the need was even sharper. It was personal. If Kyle laid so much as a finger on Alex, Kyle would be washing the cold blood from his face later. Ridley had to bite down on his lip to keep from laughing at the irony.
“Do you have any idea who you’re talking to?” Kyle snarled.
Ridley shifted slightly, fighting back the urge to pounce when Kyle put the cart between him and Alex and leaned in close. He couldn’t see Kyle’s face but clearly saw the narrowed gaze and challenging look Alex gave him in return.
“Yeah, you’re the guy who is going to use the computer to search for your book like everyone else,” Alex informed Kyle without so much as flinching.
Alex worked in the library, and although Ridley didn’t really have a need to be in the library—with his major in mechanical engineering, most of his studies were done hands-on or on the computer—he found himself drawn there anyway. Basically he was there to gawk at the star of his wet dreams, Alex Firestone. No, he wasn’t a freaky stalker. He just hadn’t built up the nerve to approach the sexy man. Okay, it might have been bordering on stalkerish since he’d been doing quite a bit of gawking over the last six months, but damn, it was Alex Firestone.
Alex was the same six-foot height, and although he tended to wear dress shirts and slacks that were a bit big for him, Ridley could tell Alex had an impressive build beneath the cotton material. He also had the most amazing gunmetal-blue eyes Ridley had ever seen. Oh, and then there was the fact that Alex had a head full of unruly blond curls and the biggest and sweetest dimples ever. He also wore heavy-framed black glasses, and the bow ties he sported were just too adorable for words. Basically, Alex worked the fuck out of cute.
Read more and get your copy here: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5260
July 25, 2014
John & Jackie by TJ Klune
Seventy-one years after they first met, Jack wants to give John the ultimate gift. Before he does, they’ll relive five key moments.
John and Jackie first laid eyes on each other when they were twelve years old. Now, seventy-one years later, Jack prepares to give his beloved husband the ultimate gift. Before he does, they’ll relive five key moments from their younger lives together over the course of a single afternoon. From their first meeting and first kiss to the violence of an abusive father and the heartache of growing up, these moments have defined who they have become. As sunset approaches, John will show the depths of his love for the one man who has made him whole: his Jackie. They’ll soon learn there is no force more powerful than their devotion to one another.
1st Edition published by TJ Klune with The Crack Crew, May 2013
Length: Novella (122p.) | Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary | Release Date: July 25, 2014
Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-855-1)
Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase
Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart. Sevon wonders if trusting him will lead him into another trap.
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.
Length: Novel (256p.) | Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Vampires, Werewolves/Shapeshifters Release Date: July 25, 2014
The Falconer’s Lure by A.J. Marcus
Trevor and Garret bond over their mutual love of birds. As feelings grow, Trevor worries how Garret will react when he learns he’s homeless.
Watching birds of prey soar gives Garret Nicholson a sense of peace. It’s exactly what he needs after his recent break-up. His ex never understood Garret’s work with the raptors, but the birds have been part of his life for years. Garret spends his time between The Sky’s the Limit Raptor Rehab Center and his dad’s falconry show at the Hawkwood Fantasy Faire, trying to prove to himself and his father he has what it takes to be a great falconer.
Trevor DePalma is in awe, but he isn’t sure whether the man or the falcons fascinate him more. Watching the birds perform at the Faire gives Trevor the first taste of joy he’s had since his father threw him out two years ago. Bonding with Garret over their mutual love of birds, Trevor eagerly learns all he can, and Garret proves a willing teacher. But as feelings grow, Trevor worries how Garret will react when he learns Trevor is homeless.
Life on the street is growing more dangerous for Trevor and his friends. Garret offers him safe space to find his feet. As the world crashes around them, Garret and Trevor will need each other’s support in ways they’ve never imagined.
Length: Novel (204p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: July 25, 2014
Summer Lover by B.G. Thomas
At the Heartland Men’s Festival, free-spirited Cedar connects with cynical, critical Scott. They might just find true love at last.
Scott Aberdeen doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, or God. Or love—at least, he knows no one will ever love him. After all, he has carried a torch for his best friend Sloan for a decade, hoping his feelings will be returned one day. But when Sloan finds springtime love with another man, Scott’s fantasies are crushed and his skepticism confirmed.
Cedar Carrington, raised by rock star parents, leads a free-spirited, nomadic life, never staying in one place for long. Due to a dark past he refuses to share or even think about, he is willing to let men into his bed for sex, but never for the night.
When Scott finds himself camping in the middle of nowhere with over a hundred men who all believe in love—and faeries and a magickal gay brotherhood—he’s pretty sure he’s in the wrong place. And when Cedar connects with cynical, critical Scott, he wonders how he could be falling in for this man of all men. But hearts and lives have been transformed at the Heartland Men’s Festival before, and it might be just the place where two very different men can release their pain and find true love at last.
Length: Novel (350p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: July 25, 2014
July 17, 2014
Well, I guess I should wrap this up and let you get back to your everyday activities (me, too). I did take a break to take the dog out to the back yard, and to deal with some work e-mails, but otherwise I’ve been glued to the screen. I very much appreciate those of you who have asked questions, and given me answers to my questions. You all are wonderful and I am so proud to be part of this community along with you. Thank you for your time and attention today. I hope you get a chance to read You Can’t Go Home Again or one of my other books:
As a reminder, Dreamspinner has another of their wonderful sales in progress right now so most of my books (and those of others) which would normally be $14.99 for paperbacks are now $11.99 during this sale (July 16 through 22), and the e-books, which would normally be $6.99 are $5.59 during this sale.
Thank you all for reading.
July 17, 2014
I’ll let you in on a little secret. During the story, Marie has a baby. Here’s a slight glimpse into the excitement that accompanies the arrival:
“Marie! What are you doing out of bed?” Devin demanded.
“It’s easier to go to the hospital this way.”
“Hospital, genius. My water just broke. Is one of you clowns planning to drive me, or should I walk? It might take me a while. I could take a cab, I suppose, if you’re too busy. What’s the plan?”
Once they were all in the car, the actual trip to the hospital took only eight minutes. Jack didn’t tell his two guests, but he’d been practicing, looking for the best route, finding alternatives in case one way was blocked. He pulled right up to the emergency room entrance. Devin raced inside and yelled, “I need a baby out here!” He dashed back outside before he realized he’d screwed up the sentence so he raced back inside. “I need a lady with a baby out here. Fuck! I’ve got a baby… a woman having a baby out here. I need help.”
When Marie had settled into the room where the action would happen at some unknown future time, Jack and Devin tried to be of comfort to her when the next contraction hit. Each took one side and held one of her hands.
Devin went from standing to his knees in no time flat.
“Jesus, woman! Where did you get that grip? Leave my fingers, please. I’m a writer—I kind of need my fingers to type.”
“Man up, pretty boy,” Marie bellowed with a look of fierce determination. “I’m in freaking pain here.”
July 17, 2014
This is Sam. He’s a real, honest to goodness fire fighter. Of course he’s also a total hunk. He agreed to pose for me in his fire fighting gear. If anyone is writing a book that features a fireman, I think Sam would be perfect for the cover of the book. Like Jack in You Can’t Go Home Again, Sam has had a whole lot of crap thrown at him in his short life and he’s built some pretty serious walls to protect himself and his heart. But when you begin to peel away the layers, you find that the guy inside is a beautiful human being.
July 17, 2014
I had dinner one night in May with Elizabeth North. The woman is brilliant and every time I get to spend time with her I come away overwhelmed by how fast and how far her mind is going — and about how patient she is in listening to people.
Anyway, at the most recent dinner, Elizabeth and I were talking about a book I wrote that apparently started slower than it should have. I told a lot of backstory that I thought was important, but Elizabeth told me that you have to grab the readers in the first 5 pages to get them to keep reading. And of course, she’s right.
With You Can’t Go Home Again, I’ve followed Elizabeth’s advice (even before she gave it) and I’ve created three strong characters and an action packed opening (and I think a pretty good story through the rest of the book). She agreed that this one certainly grabbed attention and held it. And just to let you know, I took the other manuscript back and rewrote it to fix the things she told me needed fixing. I’m happy to tell you that it’s now entering the editorial process and with any luck later this year you’ll be able to read Mano’s Story. If you read Little Squirrels, you might remember the character, Mano, who appears in the last third of the book. A lot of people found his presence to be odd or strange. Well, I’m happy to tell you that in this next book you’ll be able to see who Mano is, what makes him tick, and read about his quest for love. He has to kiss a lot of frogs along the way to find his prince, but yes, he does find his prince.
July 17, 2014
“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.”
“There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.”
– Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz
# # # #
“You’re a Man in Black. You can’t go home again – ever.”
– K, Men in Black
# # # # #
And then, if you want to get really philosophical about the progression of life:
“Ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers.”
“All entities move and nothing remains still.”
“Everything changes and nothing remains still … and … you cannot step twice into the same stream.”
“We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not.”
Do you have any favorite quotes or poems or songs about home and trying to go back home again? I’ve love to hear them.
July 17, 2014
What does it mean that you can’t go home again? The phrase was coined by Thomas Wolfe in his 1940 novel by the same name. His novel tells the story of a fledging author who writes a book that becomes a national bestseller. He bases his story on his small hometown and the people he knew there from when he was growing up. But when he returns home for a visit he finds that everyone there is unhappy with the way he portrayed them. I mean seriously unhappy. Beyond unhappy. He gets hate mail, threats, even death threats.
Near the end of the book, his main character tells us:
“You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory.”
The phrase is now part of American speech and I guess its come to mean that once you’ve left home and moved to the faster life in the big city, life back in the country just isn’t what you remember it to be. Things are smaller. People are different. The old home town is more confining. And attempts to relive youthful memories usually fail.
A few months ago I went back to my old home town to visit my mother. While there I saw someone I went to high school with. And he looked OLD. I mean, seriously old. It made me gasp and wonderful, is that what I look like? Please, God, don’t let me look as old as him! I’m pleased to report that when I look in my own personal mirror I’m still holding at the 24 year old that I feel like inside.
And in terms of this book, what I mean by the use of this phrase is that the three main characters of the story, Jack, Devin, and Marie, all are hit in the first pages of the book with a massive, devastating loss that causes each of them major grief. For Jack, the loss is his work partner, a rookie cop he’d been charged with training. For Devin it is the loss of his best friend and beloved brother. And for Marie, it is the loss of her husband.
All three characters are left alone and grieving. The home they had, the home they knew, is gone, wiped away in the flash of a gunshot. The story I’ve written tells the tale of the three of them coming together to create a new home because while you might not be able to go back to the security of a prior home, of the home of your youth, you can create a new one, which is what these three characters do in this book.
July 17, 2014
In case you haven’t heard about it, Dreamspinner has launched a Christmas in July celebration. All holiday stories at 25% off all month. Everything else is 20% off from July 16-22.
So my book, You Can’t Go Home Again, which is normally $6.99 for the ebook is now $5.59 and the paperback, which is normally $14.99 is now on sale for $11.99, as are other books by my friends. I am delighted beyond words to have a book coming out the same day as the gifted friend, Jeff Erno. His next Dumb Jock book comes out tomorrow as well. I can’t wait to read it.
July 17, 2014
This is Sha, the man who appears on the cover of You Can’t Go Home Again. I’ve worked with him four times now and had the honor of being the first photographer for whom he posed nude. Of course I can’t show those photos here, but might be persuaded to share one or two privately by e-mail.
Sha is the most gifted man I’ve ever found at creating characters. If I give him an emotion I want to capture, or a scenario I want him to play out, he does it. He gets into it so deeply that at times I forget that he’s just acting. The intensity of working with Sha is exhausting, but the images we get from the sessions are freaking phenomenal.
Next up is Bo, a good old boy from the South who just exudes sensuality in everything he does.
Below we have A-Rod, who posed for me just yesterday. I had to hunt to find a shot that I could share here! Let me tell you, the man didn’t have a single ounce of body fat anywhere on his body. I was so jealous.
And one more.
What do you think? Aren’t they cute? Sexy? What kind of men should I look for next? What kind of poses would you like to see? And the big question: I’m about to start putting models together. What poses would convey romance to you? I really look forward to hearing from you and will gladly accept all advice.