A Shot of J&B Excerpt 1: A Cozy Drive in the Rain

March 21, 2015

When it came time to leave and Jackie left the room to gather his things, Brian at last turned his full attention to his hosts. He thanked them and quite sincerely said he’d been very happy to see them again. He added, “And the food was fabulous, Luki!”

Luki chuckled, and said. “Thank you, Brian. But as preoccupied as you were, I think if I asked you tomorrow what you ate for dinner tonight, you wouldn’t even remember!”

Brian couldn’t pretend surprise that Luki had noticed. Before he could think of a reasonable response, Luki squelched any possibility of a speech with the biggest hug Brian had ever seen his former boss give anyone besides his husband, and then a giggling Sonny circled his long arms around them both and joined the squeeze. Brian’s ribs hurt a little by the time it was over.

When Jackie came from the back of the house with two suitcases and a backpack, Brian took the luggage from him and went to put it in the rental car while Jackie made his farewells to his uncles.

He put the backpack in the backseat, thinking Jackie might want that available, and then laid the suitcases in the trunk. They seemed to fit perfectly in there with his own bags, but when Brian had that thought, he realized what a strange thought it was, and tried to talk himself back into his usual, more sensible perspective.

Don’t be ridiculous, Brian. Even if there was a God and that God made one person to perfectly match one other person in the entire world, luggage fitting in the trunk wouldn’t likely be a sign they’d found each other. He was able to laugh at himself a little, then, and it did help him take a mental and emotional step back. Not too far, though. Now that he and Jackie had crossed paths again, he had no desire to step back too far.

He admitted in a moment of clarity that the prospects for any future development were a bit disheartening. He lived in London, had a career and a flat and a club and a cat there. Jackie lived in Nebraska—at least Brian thought he still did—was in college, still and had years of study ahead of him pursuing the education he needed to pursue his field of interest. And who knew where in the world that would take him?

Just then, Jackie turned toward him, smile clear and lovely in the glow of the porch light, but somehow more reminiscent of the boy of six years ago than he had been at any earlier time that night. It reminded Brian who Jackie was, what he’d been through, and he thought, if ever there was a sub that required a cautious approach, Jackie is it. Brian had enough savvy to know Jackie had become interested in him, but he decided that, though he wouldn’t discourage Jackie’s interest, he also wouldn’t do anything to deliberately foster it. For the time being, he’d let Jackie take the reins, solo.

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RAIN HAD begun to fall heavily just as they’d pulled out onto the main road, which would take them back to Port Clifton. Visibility on the road was poor at the best of times, but on a moonless night in heavy rain, Jackie thought the chances that Brian would be able to pass the slow-moving, overloaded-looking log truck ahead of them seemed slim at best. He sighed, but not unhappily, only settling in. The ride would be longer than expected, but they’d left early so they’d likely make their flights in plenty of time.

The sound of the rain and the way it dripped down the windows seemed to close them in, to make the car’s interior seem cozy, its dash lights comforting. And Brian… he seemed steady behind the wheel, relaxed, perhaps even a masterful driver, reminding Jackie of Sonny. With the heat on low, Brian’s scent permeated the air—something with a touch of incense like quality soap, and slightly sexed, and a faint tang of end-of-a-long-day man-smell. And….

“I smell leather,” Jackie said.

“Oh!” Brian flashed a smile at him. “My brother gave me a jacket for Christmas. It’s on the backseat. Still new enough to have a pretty noticeable smell. I admit I like the smell, but most of the time I hardly notice it, and I know there are people who don’t like it.”

“I like it!” Jackie laughed at his own enthusiastic answer. He knew he wasn’t being subtle, but then subtlety was not a quality he’d ever been known for. “Quite a lot, in fact. It’s one of the reasons I took up leatherwork.”

“Like tooling?”

“Tooling, burning, sewing. I like to work with soft, lighter weight leathers. I think the tooling and painting people do on heavy leather is fabulous—some of it’s museum quality. But I like the feel of the softer stuff, the way it responds if I treat it right, the way it looks when the right people wear it.”

“You?”

“No. Well, heh. Yes I have a few things I wear from time to time, in certain… situations.” Jackie hesitated, knew he was taking the conversation somewhere unexpected. “I had some leather that matched the color of the darkest streaks in my hair, and I made myself a harness—but that one I’ve never worn.”

“No? Why?”

“Well,” Jackie said, drawing the syllable out slightly, “the occasion just never seemed right for it, yet.”

Brian glanced at Jackie, turned his eyes back on the road, and said in a husky voice that had to be one of the sexiest sounds Jackie had ever heard. “I’d bet good money you’ll wear it well when you decide to do so.”

The traditional post: Cover, Blurb, a bit of info. Oh, and Contest 1!

March 21, 2015

A Shot of J&B cover

That is a Reese Dante cover, and I think it’s a masterpiece!
The cover is the buy link! It’ll take you straight to the store. The book’s also available on Amazon and ARe, among others. :)

Blurb:

Six years ago, Brian Harrison helped save the life of Jackie Vasquez, and he’s never really forgotten him. After the rescue, Brian ended his employment with Jackie’s uncle Luki and left the US for England, aiming to distance himself from the confused feelings—not lust, but not brotherly—that then sixteen-year-old Jackie engendered. Now Jackie has become a man, and when they meet again by chance, lust with a dose of D/s rope kink is definitely on the list of possibilities. As they get to know each other, though, lust shows every sign of growing into love, deep and true.

When Jackie moves to London for graduate studies in criminal psychology, he and Brian hope they’ll be able to enjoy each other’s frequent company. But they haven’t factored in the claim Brian’s police job with Scotland Yard will make on his time, especially when the “Gaslighter crimes” sap investigative resources. An abandoned aide dog named Soldier leads to a breakthrough clue, and a chain of discoveries fall like dominoes. As Brian rushes to beat the criminal’s game before it escalates to true terror, he comes to an undeniable conclusion: Jackie Vasquez, the man he loves, is in mortal danger.

*
As you may have heard (or read) This is the first book in a new series set in the “universe” I created for the Vasquez and James series. The series title is Vasquez Security: The Next Generation The series title should start making more sense if you read through to the end of A Shot of J&B. But in the next book, working title A Cup of Kindness, all will become clear. Oh well, you can know now. Brian will be working for Luki’s company again, manning his small Los Angeles branch, while Jackie finishes grad school at UCLA.

Now, Contest 1 Here’s Question 1—check out an LA County (California) map, and tell me, where do you think the guys should live? There is no right answer, so take the plunge!

Welcome to Lou Sylvre’s *A Shot of J&B* release party!

March 21, 2015

Hi! I’m Lou Sylvre author of the Vasquez & James series, and now a new series is beginning in that universe. A Shot of J&B was released by Dreamspinner on March 16, but weekends are better for parties, right? So come as you are, bring friends, and make yourself at home.

A few businessy kinds of things–that will let you enjoy the party more. If you want to comment on a post or see the coments on a post, you need to click on the post title. From there, it should be easy. Also, I’m open for questions of any sort related to anything I bring up, me, writing or my books at any time. Feel free to tag a question on to any post. I’ll do my best to answer all. About prizes I’ll have two. The grand prize contest will begin with the next post, but it has three parts. Question 1 with the next post, the other two later, so stick around, because the prize offered is An ebook of A Shot of J&B and a $15 gift certificate for Dreamspinner Press! The second contest will be easier and the winner gets the ebook.

So, are we ready? (Everybody say yeeeeaaah!) Let’s do it.

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“He’s Just Knot That Into You” Release Party winner is…

March 18, 2015

 Susan! Woop woop – congrats, Susan! I’ll be in touch (probably tomorrow because I’m so so so tired right now) once I get details on your prize. Not sure if Dreamspinner has a special way of handling it. If not, I’ll send the ebook copy directly! :)

It’s past 3 a.m. over here in Seoul, and my eyelids are super duper droopy. Sorry I can’t stay up longer to hang out with you guys, but pretty soon my posts will look like gobbledygook. >__>

You can get your own ebook copy of He’s Just Knot That Into You online at  AmazonAll Romance eBooks, and Dreamspinner Press.  In fact, there’s a sale going on at Dreamspinner’s site right now, so if you hop on over there, HJKTIY is 25% off!

Thank you SO much for hanging out with me and chatting at the release party! I had a lot of fun with you all!

Nico ♥

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King of Rain – Release Party #4 – LGBT Mentors

March 13, 2015

Hi my dears,

I wanted to tell you a bit about the Cause behind the story, and how that influenced and inspired the series.

Finding LGBT Mentors

After seeing Rick Mercer’s video about youth at risk (post #1), I decided to do some more research on teen suicide and found the “It Gets Better” Project. It’s a non-profit started by Dan Savage and his husband Terry Miller with the goal of preventing suicide among LGBT youth. In 2010, LGBT adults started sharing videos of their own stories, letting young people know how their lives have improved as they’ve gotten older.

Here are ordinary (and famous) people sharing messages of hope specifically for those in dark periods of their lives. Each one is so inspiring to me. This one is from the founders themselves.

EMBEDDED PLAYER

Here’s the YouTube link in case the player doesn’t work for you.

I’m working on my own video for the project, but the West Coast Boys series is also part of this effort. My corner of the world, the West Coast of Canada, tends to be rather open-minded (at least comparatively) to the LGBT community, and I wanted to show hopeful stories of young love unfolding against that backdrop.

Suicide

I’ve been a bit closeted about this book’s suicide element. I think I was feeling protective of my boys. Their story is not a depressing slog through oppression and pain, it’s a bottle of antidote dropped into a poisoned stomach.

Yes, there are dark parts, and gritty parts, but the journey is about building something new, filling up empty pockets with messy sloshing buckets of love and learning how to reinvent yourself when the old you just can’t survive anymore.

Give-Away Contest

Who is your favorite LGBT Mentor? This could be a celebrity or a family member or friend that has inspired or supported you. Tell us how they made a difference!

Comment and you’ll enter the Give-Away contest!

Coming Next:

Location Pics and the scene they illustrate!

Thanks for coming to my party!
Michele - Parisienne Signature

PS Here’s the link to King of Rain’s page on Dreamspinner.

The Top Five Most Amazing Exploits of the kiddos from Ever the Same

February 27, 2015

Randi and Grainger are the heart and soul of Dixon and Audie (and by association, Ever the Same). They start out, as so many of my fictional relationships do, with a fist fistfight (note: when I met my wife in person the first time, at one point she did threaten to beat the hell out of me while I was driving in a pouring down rainstorm on the highway in San Antiono traffic. True story.).

However, a birthday party, a giant mouse, some horses and a guitar later, they became partners in crime.

Instead of having fights with each other, they turned on the world.

1. During a riding lesson, Grainger dares Randi to impersonate the trick rider they’d seen at the rodeo and when Audie turned around, she was standing on Sarge’s back.

2. Randi dared Grainger to trap the possum so they could keep the babies and raise them. Possum bites hurt. So do the rabies shots.

3. Together, the kids decided to find out which spice burn. Cinnamon for the flamtastic win! FYI, powdered creamer burns pretty damned well too.

4. Grainger told Randi that she couldn’t be a cowgirl unless she rode a calf backwards holding his tail.

5. At Christmas, they dressed the dachshunds up as reindeer, tied them to a miniature sleigh that belong to Randi’s gran and proceeded to take down the tree. Dachshunds are not beasts of burden.

Much love, y’all

BA

Ever the Same is available now! 

Excerpt and Contest

February 27, 2015

EvertheSameFS

Hey, y’all! I have a giveaway for a signed print copy of Ever the Same. Comment today on any of the posts and I’ll pick someone tomorrow morning (that gives all the folks a chance).

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the novel. Audie’s been called up to the school because his kindergarten has been in a fight…

***

Feeling like he was back in kindergarten, Audie went to the principal’s office.

“Mr. Barrack? Go on in. They’re waiting.” Miz Laws winked at him as he walked by, which relaxed him, because, Christ, this sucked. He went into the office, which was a mixture of colors and pictures of kids and that weird sternness that meant business. Dr. Shields stood and offered him a hand. Lord, he remembered when she was the drum major back when his Aunt Shirley was in the band.

There was a tiny little girl—and he meant teeny—sitting next to a dude who had hair like a girl, a dour-faced older lady, and his Grainger, who jumped up, one eye bruised. “Daddy! Daddy, I swear, I didn’t start it!”

“Hush, now. Let me talk to Dr. Shields.” He wanted to snatch Grainger up, but he knew better.

“Let’s all sit,” Dr. Shields said, and Audie fought the urge to point out he was the only grown-up standing.

Feeling chastised, he perched on the other side of Grainger.

They all sat there, staring, before Dr. Shields spoke up. “Now, we all seem to have a problem. Randi and Grainger have been in a half-dozen incidents in the last few weeks.”

“Really? Why didn’t I hear about this, buddy?” Half a dozen? Shit.

“You said not to be a tattletale, Daddy.”

Oh God. He damned near swallowed his tongue. They’d have to talk about information versus snitching.

“I didn’t start it. Not onced. I don’t hit girls, but Daddy! She hit me in the face! Hard!” There were tears there, threatening, and Grainger had that hell of a shiner.

“Now, Grainger, are you saying you didn’t push Randi?” the principal asked.

“She called me a doo-doo stupid-head!”

Did the wee girl not talk? She sat there, her chin set, her bright green eyes flashing fire. Her thin arms were crossed over her chest, and her feet swung in an angry rhythm.

“Name-calling can’t hurt you, buddy.” Was he the only adult with a brain here?

“No, but name-calling is completely inappropriate, Miranda.” That was the dad, just looking straight ahead. “You know better.”

“He’s mean! He told the girls I was smelly and not to play with me!”

Audie looked at the principal. “Am I the only one not up to speed?”

The older lady glanced over at him. “Beverly White. Pleased. My granddaughter has had some… transition issues. We’re sorry.”

“Mrs. White.” He nodded, then snuck another peek at the man sitting next to her.

The guy stared straight ahead, not looking at him at all. Crazy.

“Grainger is usually a good kid,” Audie offered. “I’m sorry about those uh, transition things.” Way to sound like a hick.

“Children, can you please wait on the green chairs while we talk?”

Grainger nodded, squeezing Audie’s fingers one more time. Audie nodded and smiled at his son, pretty convinced his boy hadn’t done anything really heinous.

The little gal stomped out, pure fire in her eyes. Oh, she was a hellion, he could tell.

“Are you going to tell me you’re going to move her again?” That was the dad, and the dude seemed about as pissed as his daughter. “She’s not the Antichrist. She’s a tiny little girl. She still sits in a car seat, for chrissake.”

“No, I think we can safely leave her where she is. I really felt that we all needed to chat, though. It’s clear that Audie here had no idea what was going on.”

“Yeah, no shit.” Audie glanced at the gran. “Pardon my French.”

“No worries.” She winked at him. “She’s not a bad girl. She’s had some terrible things in the last year.”

“And for some reason, she’s targeting Grainger. Has he spoken about Randi at all?” Dr. Shields was trying, he could tell.

“No, ma’am. He’s not said a word.” He snuck another look at the dad. This guy was a piece of work. “It’s not like him to pick on someone who’s having a hard time.”

“Of course it’s not. Randi’s the one that’s the vicious little bitch, right?”

Damn, Mr. Snooty could snap.

“Dixon!”

“What? She’s had a shit life for the last year. She lost one of her dads, she had to leave Austin and her friends and her school, and suddenly she’s the fucking bad guy?”

“Hey, I never said my boy was perfect,” Audie said, snarling a little himself. “He’s managed to get to six without trying to kill anyone, though, so this is new. Back off.”

“Enough. No one is saying either of these children are bad. Randi has a huge number of hurdles to overcome, and Grainger is a shy little boy with a tendency to follow the crowd. Neither of these children have mothers at home, and I was hoping we could brainstorm some ways to help Randi feel included with the others.”

This was ridiculous. It wasn’t his fucking job to make sure this asshole’s little brat felt like she didn’t need to punch his son anymore.

“That’s her teacher’s job, Shannon.” Audie was through with this shit. “I’ll tell my boy to stay away from her. Can we go now?”

“Yes. Yes, of course. Mr. White….”

“I’ll talk to her. If it happens again, I’ll… shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll make it up as I go along.” The guy stood, and his mom handed him a cane. A white cane.

Oh Jesus fucking Christ. Seriously? Seriously, Grainger picked the kid with a blind dad and a dead….

Wait.

Her other dad was dead. Jesus. This guy was blind, had lost his man, and his kid was a shit? That sucked hugely. “I can try to get Grainger to help. I promise.” He had no idea why that popped out, except this guy’s life had to suck, and because it had been a long time since Audie had met anyone who would openly admit to being queer like he was.

***

Buy Ever the Same here – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6096

Official blurb: Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

Good morning, y’all!

February 27, 2015

EvertheSameFS

*waves happily* It’s the resident redneck and I’m here to visit and let all y’all know about my new book, Ever the Same, that’s releasing today!

So, I’m sitting here in a totally unexpected winter wonderland (O.O). I have a snuggly puppy, a huge cup of Kona, and blankets.

Lots of blankets.

*grins*

I know, I know, y’all up in the northeast are all flipping me off right now, I get it, but I’m still Texan enough to be all… OMG SNOW SNOW IN PILES ON THE GROUND. Indulge me a little. ;-)

Today I’m going to be celebrating the snow, my new book Ever the Same, coffee, a contest or two, and possibly torture y’all with pictures of the puppies…

Much love, y’all.

BA Tortuga

http://www.batortuga.com

Because Sometimes Fistfights are Foreplay

RAOK Release Party: Jessica Chase

February 16, 2015

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To celebrate the release of the Random Acts of Kindness anthology today, some of the authors will be sharing with you a little glimpse behind each of their stories.

 

The Healer and the Thief – Jessica Chase

For Tobias, busy with his life as the healer for a small village, life was simple.  He cared for those around him and lived alone.  One day though, his life would be turned upside down.

Vials on the table were pushed to the side, the herbs tangled together and out of the neat piles he had left them in. Some of the books had been knocked from the shelves, and the blankets were pulled from the boxes.

In this chaos, he finds Joshua hiding from the men who are after him.  A split second decision to look after Joshua will change both their lives forever.

This story was one that I had wanted to write for a long time.  I’ve grown up reading fantasy stories, and I wanted to bring the world that was inside my mind to life on the page.  Creating the relationship between Tobias and Joshua was fantastic fun, and it is definitely a world that I wanted to return to.  With so many stories focussed on sadness, I loved the chance to write something so full of joy and tenderness.   By showing the relationship between the two characters and the way that they learn to trust each other, I was able to create a world full of kindness, where one person’s trust can return to repay them a dozen times over.

So now that you know a little about my story, I’d love to hear about your own experiences.  Any random acts of kindness which have impacted upon your life, or split second decisions you made which changed everything?

 

This will be my first time publishing with DSP, and I can be found on the DSP website at http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/jessica-chase.  My writing blog can be found at JChaseStories.blogspot.co.uk, and I am on Twitter at @JChaseStories.  I love hearing from readers, so get in contact!

Check out Random Acts of Kindness here!

RAOK Release Party: Indra Vaughn & Lane Swi

February 16, 2015

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To celebrate the release of the Random Acts of Kindness anthology today, some of the authors will be sharing with you a little glimpse behind each of their stories.

 

Hi everyone! Thank you for stopping by. My name is Indra Vaughn and I’m here to talk to you about the Random Act of Kindness Anthology, specifically the story Two For Joy.

The tale takes place in the city of Lincoln, UK. I actually lived there for three years before I moved to Cambridge, and absolutely loved the small city so I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to use the setting. The view of the cathedral when you drive into town is breathtakingly stunning.

 

Indra_Lincoln Cathedral

 

When Matt, the main character in the story, arrives in Lincoln he’s a bit too overwhelmed to notice how beautiful the place is, though. He just got in from Belgium, only to find out the university doesn’t have the promised dorm room for him, so he’s homeless! He tries to find another place to live but has no luck until a gorgeous, tall British guy kindly offers to help him out. Matt quickly finds himself embraced by a slightly odd English family, and loves it.

Now, Matt was born with a congenital amputation: one leg ends just above the knee. When I grew up I had a friend who was born with one arm amputated below the elbow, and while we lost touch when she moved, I never forgot her. The completely fearless way she went at life had me admire her even at a very young age. How she faced stares from strangers and how she got around doing all the daily things I could barely do with two hands was amazing. (Like putting her hair in a ponytail. As a little kid this completely fascinated me, like only kids can be unselfconsciously fascinated by these things.)

So in a way Matt is my little tribute to her. His prosthetic leg is there, and it’s completely normal as far as he’s concerned, and if people want to stare at it that’s their problem.

Apart from Gran. Gran doesn’t mince her words and he loves her for it.

I hope you like this little story and I’d love to hear any and all feedback from you.

With me here is Lane Swift, whose story also takes place in England, but I’ll let her tell you all about it. We’re actually good friends, and I am absolutely thrilled that she’s in this anthology too. You will love her story guys, it’s absolutely amazing, and I hope it will serve as an introduction to other amazing things to come from Lane!

Have a wonderful day!

Indra

 

 

Hi! I’m Lane. Yes, Indra and I became friends when I lived in the USA, and have stayed friends even though I’m back in the UK now. Europeans have ways of finding each other, no matter what part of the world they’re in! I’ve read her story, and I know you’ll love it.

I thought I’d use this opportunity to elaborate on the setting for my anthology story, The Blue Umbrella. After that, I’ll be interviewing one of my characters, Vik. (The story is told from Andy’s point of view, and Vik wanted to get the chance to have his say.)

Land’s End is a rugged headland in Cornwall, England, characterised by high granite cliffs and crashing waves. It’s the most westerly place in mainland England. According to the font of all knowledge that is Wikipedia: Land’s End has a particular resonance because it is often used to suggest distance. Land’s End to John o’ Groats in Scotland is a distance of 838 miles by road and this … distance is often used to define charitable events such as end-to-end walks and races in the UK.

Lane_Land's End

In The Blue Umbrella, Andy Haynes, dying of cancer, completes what he believes is the final leg of his journey from John o’Groats to Land’s End. However, when he meets Vik, while sitting on a bench on the headland, he discovers his journeying isn’t quite over.

Me: What did you think when you first saw Andy, sitting alone on a bench looking out to sea?

Vik: I couldn’t see his face at first, but from the way he sat, he seemed sad. I wasn’t sure whether to approach him. I thought maybe he wanted to be alone. Something inside urged me to go ahead though, and I’m glad I did. When I spoke to him he looked at me and, although I could see he was unwell, he was still striking. Some people have that, don’t they? The ability to capture your imagination with just a look or a smile. That was definitely Andy.

Me: So you offered Andy your umbrella because you fancied him?

(Vik laughs and looks down into his lap. I think his cheeks are burning.)

Vik: No, I would have done the same for anyone. But maybe I wouldn’t have sat quite so close if it had been someone I wasn’t attracted to. (Vik smiles again.)

Me: What would you say to anyone who doesn’t believe a story with a dying man can have a happy ending?

Vik: Believe! Cornwall is a place of wonder and magic. Anything is possible.

 

I hope you enjoy the story!

Lane

 

Indra Vaughn Author Page Here.

Lane Swift Author Page Here.

Check out Random Acts of Kindness here!