THE SENSUALIST & THE UNTOUCHED Release Party #1: Intro for Today’s Event

December 19, 2014

Hi! I’m Susan Laine. I’ll be hosting a release party here today, Dec 19, starting from 2:00 p.m. EST for my latest release, The Sensualist & the Untouched. This is a standalone contemporary M/M erotic romance.

I’ll be around for four hours to offer excerpts, a giveaway, a picture or two, and answers to any and all of your questions. I might even spring up a few myself. I’ll do a post once in an hour or so, to give everyone a chance to stop by here at DSP’s blog.

Here’s the cover by the talented Bree Archer:

SensualistAndTheUntouched[The]FS

This novel is set in contemporary New York City, and tells the tale of Corey Paige, an adult male who has never experienced any kind of sex first-hand. Corey is introduced to Lucian Allard, an eccentric man with a large cache of sensual wisdom ready to be imparted on a sexual novice like Corey. A sensual journey begins.

You can find the book HERE.

Here’s the blurb:

“Being over thirty is not an issue for Corey Paige. Being frigid and a virgin, however, is a huge problem for the only son of a newspaper magnate. No matter the risk, Corey’s intent on resolving both problems in one go.

Enter Lucian Allard, a wealthy hedonist with a notorious reputation at club Boudoir—and an unconventional sexual mentoring program for those who suffer from dysfunctions. As the two men begin a sensual journey to awaken Corey’s libido, Corey’s frigid body isn’t all that begins to melt. His untouched feelings also spark to life.

Though a family emergency puts a halt to awakening Corey’s senses and desires, Corey and Lucian grow closer as friends. Then an unexpected kiss from Lucian in Corey’s most desperate hour changes everything. Now Corey must decide if the program is still an aid or an obstacle to two lonely men trying to maintain a professional detachment but falling hopelessly in love.”

As I said above, I’ll be around from two to six EST to offer excerpts, giveaways, pictures, and trivia tidbits. So please, if you’re interested and/or have some free time, stop by at the DSP blog.

Question for you all: Are you familiar with my work, or would The Sensualist & the Untouched be your first story of mine?

You can find more about me and my books at my website.

#3: JD Ruskin’s Finding Matt Blog Party: Somewhere, Illinois

December 7, 2014

My debut novel, When One Door Opens, takes place in Chicago, Illinois. I’ve lived within a couple of hours of Chicago nearly my whole life. But I wouldn’t call myself an expert on the city. More like an enthusiastic suburbanite. My recent trip to Chicago was the inspiration for a Free Christmas short story with Caleb and Logan. The story will be posted on my website next weekend as a thank you to all the readers who took a chance on a newbie author. *coughs* It is definitely NWS.

WhenOneDoorOpens

Blurb: Logan Sellers’s parole officer has issued three commandments: stay sober, stay employed, and stay out of trouble. At first Logan thought those three simple rules would be easy to follow. But that was before he accepted a side job assisting his boss’s housebound agoraphobic nephew, Caleb.

Caleb is deceptively normal for a guy who hasn’t left his apartment in three years, and his friendly, caring personality tugs on heartstrings Logan didn’t know he had. But hitting on his boss’s nephew is asking to be unemployed. Logan has enough problems with booze on every corner and a supervisor trying to jump into his bed. He doesn’t need to work out how to free Caleb from the anxiety that keeps him in his apartment; he needs to keep his nose clean, attend his AA meetings, and make a fresh start—alone.

If only his heart would get with the program.

Length: Novel (210.) | Genre: Contemporary, 2014 EPIC’s eBook Awards, Award-Winning Books

Dreamspinner: Buy as eBook | Buy as Paperback |Audiobook | Amazon |All Romance E-books

 

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My new paranormal romance release Finding Matt also takes place in Illinois in the fiction town of Stanton. I’ve lived in small towns like Stanton since I graduated college, so I’m very familiar with small town life. Detective Paulo Silva has only recently moved to Stanton. He used to work with the Illinois State Police (ISP) in Springfield, IL. After a devastating case, he left ISP and came to The Stanton Police Department (SPD). Paulo also left behind his former friend/lover, Sergeant Devin Morris. Adjusting to the change hasn’t been easy for Paulo.

_____________

Devin had mocked [Paulo] for picking a town with less than thirteen thousand residents, where he’d be the token minority in the police department. Even knowing the demographics, Paulo hadn’t been prepared for an all-white police station. He’d tried to explain that he was Brazilian, not Hispanic, to the few baffled people who asked him. They’d seemed equally baffled by the fact that he spoke Portuguese, not Spanish.

Paulo shook his head. He didn’t have time to ponder the disturbing lack of diversity and cultural awareness in Stanton. He rose and walked over to the printer station. After picking up the report, he headed for the chief’s office.

_____________

The Matt Wilson missing child case requires that the SPD request help from Illinois State Police, bring Devin back into Paulo’s life. When Paulo learns that he’s been assigned the job of babysitting the psychic, he phones Devin.

_____________

Paulo had his phone out of his pocket before he exited the chief’s office. Pulling up Devin’s number, he hit the Send button. Devin picked up after only one ring, like he’d been expecting the call.

In lieu of a greeting, Paulo asked, “What is your problema, babaca?”

“Oh, he must be pissed if the Portuguese is slipping out.”

Paulo could tell by his voice that Devin was smirking.

“I have ten active cases, Devin. I don’t have time to babysit a psychic. Get one of your troopers to hold his hand.”

“Get over yourself, Silva. Keeping the parents happy is important, especially in a case with this much media attention. Someone needs to be on babysitting duty and you’re the low man on the totem pole at the SPD. You chose to hide in the land of pig shit and windmills. Now deal with it.”

Paulo gritted his teeth. “I’m not hiding.”

“The hell you’re not. I’m one floor away, but you decided to bitch at me on the phone instead of in person.” Devin sighed and his voice softened. “Eventually, everybody gets a case that gets to them, baby. But you work through it instead of running away from the job and the people who care about you.”

“Maybe it was a mistake to transfer here, but staying in Springfield wasn’t an option.”

“You’re wasted in this town and you know it. You should be thanking me for taking you away from investigating cow tippings and bootleg liquor.” Devin snorted. “And from what I hear, you’re the perfect man for this job.”

“What are you talking about?”

“People in this town love to talk about their resident psychic. Especially since he’s shacked up with Stephen Miller, the gay son of the former mayor.” Devin could perform a soft interrogation better than anyone Paulo had ever seen. He used his bleached-blond hair, pretty-boy face, and toothpaste commercial smile to his full advantage, and people willingly spilled their guts. “Are you thinking Greenberg’s involved? Because the chief is his alibi.”

“Just because he didn’t do the snatch, doesn’t mean he isn’t involved. Hell, this could be some publicity stunt.”

Paulo wished that was the case, but his gut told him otherwise. “What’s your read on the parents? Would they be involved in something like that?”

“Mr. Wilson is trying hard to stay positive, but he’s tearing himself apart with guilt. If it’s a stunt, no way does he know about it. Mrs. Wilson might be a possibility. She’s a real cold fish, that one.” Devin sighed. “Odds are Greenberg’s either a con artist or a wackjob.”

“I still don’t understand what you want me to do. Do you want me to investigate Greenberg?”

“I need you to put on those ass-hugging jeans I know you’ve got stashed in your apartment, and take the guy around town to let him soak up his supposed psychic vibes. If people see Greenberg walking around with a uniform, word will spread quickly. If tongues are wagging about their newest detective hanging out with a gay man, then they won’t be wondering if the police have resorted to hiring a psychic to save Matt Wilson.”

“Are you seriously fucking asking me to pretend I’m on a date with this guy?”

“Who said anything about a date?” Devin said, feigning innocence. “Though I hear there’s a great Chinese place on Main Street.”

“Keep it up, babaca, and you will get your face-to-face meeting with me when I smash your teeth in.”

Devin snickered. “I love you too, Silva,” he said, before ending the call.

Sighing, Paulo pressed the End button on the phone.

_____________

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FINDING MATT by JD Ruskin
Length: Novel (230p.) | Genre: Other Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Dreamspinner: Buy as eBook | Buy as Paperback |Amazon |All Romance E-books

 

*****E-BOOK CONTEST*****

I will be giving away two e-books today. To enter, you need to ANSWER the question given on at least ONE of the five blog posts in order to get an entry. The more questions you answer, the better your chances of winning.

Each post has a question, just comment on the blog entries before 7:00 P.M. CST, and you could win a copy of When One Door Opens or my new release Finding Matt. Your choice of which one. If you’re the winner, Dreamspinner Press will have your book placed on your bookshelf. You will need to e-mail me the email address you use in the DSP store.

Post #3 Question: Have you read When One Door Opens? Are you interested in a follow up free short story?

How to Contact JD Ruskin

E-mail | Website | Facebook | Fan Page | Twitter | Google + | Goodreads

Thanks for Coming By!

December 1, 2014

Kate Sherwood here, saying thanks for stopping by today! This’ll be my last post, which is good because I am COMPLETELY out of things to say!

 

But, before I go… In Too Deep just came out today, so it hasn’t gotten a lot of reviews yet. But the one’s I’ve seen so far have been lovely. Let me share a few?

 

“Romantic, sexy, heartwarming, and such a fun read. I will keep this one loaded on my kindle to revisit.” Five Stars at MM Good Book Reviews.

“This is a touching story that will remind readers about the importance of communication and the healing power of love.” Four Stars at RT Magazine

“…doesn’t shy away from making the coupling complicated, but this title neatly bridges the gap between YA and adult fiction. Recommended for libraries building new adult collections.” Library Journal

 

It’s always a bit nerve-racking, waiting for the first responses. I really don’t like the idea of disappointing people. So I definitely get a sense of relief when I read that at least SOME people have enjoyed the story.

Thanks for visiting with me today, and if you give In Too Deep a try, I really hope you like it!

 

Dreamspinner Buy Link.

 

Blog Party #3 – Selling is hard. Sigh.

December 1, 2014

Kate Sherwood, here, borrowing the blog in celebration of my new release, In Too Deep

 

There are forty-five products available on my Dreamspinner author page. Forty-five. How the hell did that happen?   Well, a lot of them are different versions of the same books – audiobooks, translations, etc. – DSP is great about finding new markets and products.

 

But I’m seeing fifteen different titles on that page – mostly novels, but a couple novellas and short stories as well. For someone who never really planned to be an author, that’s a lot of output! (I’ve got some books with other publishers, too - In Too Deep seems to be the twenty-first novel I’ve published as Kate Sherwood, and I’ve got five more contracted under a different pen name, scheduled to start coming out in 2015. Phew.)

 

My first book was Dark Horse, which is coming up on its five year anniversary this June. Five years of writing, and editing, and submitting, and editing some more, and then, of course, trying to sell the books. Of all the parts of the process? Selling the books is the only one that actually feels like work.   So… I don’t do much of it! I try to find reputable, dynamic publishers like DSP who do most of the promo work for me, and then I focus most of my energy on the writing side of things. And honestly, after almost five years of this? Five years of guest blogging and chasing reviews and tweeting and Facebooking, giving away books and and even paying for some ads? The only thing that I’ve seen produce a noticeable upswing in my sales numbers is putting out a new book. Seems like when people see a new title, they think about the old titles as well. Everything else? Doesn’t seem to matter.

 

So I only do as much as I want to! It’s great to come on the DSP blog and visit a bit (although I wish I was doing this in real time so we could really chat instead of me just throwing posts out into the blogosphere – sorry). I’ve made some great friends through Facebook. But when it comes down to the more direct approach? “Buy my book, buy my book, you know what makes a good Xmas gift? My book!” – I just can’t do it.

 

Should you buy my book? I don’t know. Maybe. I like it, and it’s gotten good feedback so far. (I’ll post some excerpts from early reviews later.) But it might not be for you. Hard to say, really.   That’s my sales pitch. Pretty compelling, huh?

InTooDeepFS

Blog Party Part 2

December 1, 2014

Kate Sherwood here (kinda – see previous post for clarification).

 

I’ve been loaned the blog for the day to help tell people about my new Dreamspinner release, In Too DeepBut I’m honestly pretty bad at talking about my books – I’d rather write them, you know? But I’ll do what I can.

 

The characters in In Too Deep are in their second year of college and they both took a year off after high school, so they’re in their early twenties, which is younger, I think, than any of my other m/m characters have been. It was a fun age to write about. Everything is so new at that age; the characters aren’t just learning how to behave around each other, they’re also learning how to behave in general, how to turn into the sort of adults they want to be.

 

I guess technically the book is New Adult, but the love interests aren’t controlling stalkers and nobody does MMA. Just two young men falling in love and trying to make it last.

 

Have you guys done much NA reading, het or m/m? What do you like about it? Or, I guess, what don’t  you like, but I really hope nobody says they just hate it when a confident golden boy falls in love with a damaged, shy guy and tries to persuade him to give their relationship a chance…

Blog Party!

December 1, 2014

Hi, Dreamspinner Gang! Kate Sherwood here, playing on the blog for the day!

 

Unfortunately, I’m not really here. That is, I’m not live, on-line, all day long. Stupid job. Apparently I’m supposed to actually work when I’m there, and do the work they think is important! What an outrage!

 

Anyway, I’ve set up a few posts through the day, and I will absolutely check in tonight and tomorrow to see what people have said and respond as I can. But please don’t be insulted if I don’t chat all day long.

 

So, with that out of they way… a new month, and a new DSP novel! Yay! I expect we all know about the ‘new month’ business, but how ’bout  that new novel?

 

InTooDeepFSIn Too Deep (with a gorgeous cover by Christie Caughie) is actually an expansion of a short story I wrote a few years ago for the Goodreads m/m group’s Love is Always Write event. The response to the short (watch out for spoilers if you click)  included a lot of “I want to read more!” comments, but I was busy with other projects and didn’t really think about it. Then a few years later, I re-read the story and knew it was time to get back to the boys.

I’d never expanded a short into a novel before, and it was actually really fun, but I gave myself a lot of freedom. I took the basic setup from the short and wrote toward it, but I didn’t try to match up every single thing. Which meant I had to leave behind some of my favourite bits of the short story, but… kill your darlings, they say. And they’re not actually dead, after all – they’re just not in the novel!

 

I know quite a few LIAW shorts have been turned into novels over the years – have you guys read any of those? Any favourites to recommend?

#9 Renae’s Blog Party – Writing M/M

November 28, 2014

G’day, friends!  **waving madly**  It’s Renae Kaye here, coming to you from all the way in Perth, Western Australia.

Today is my release day of Safe In His Arms and I am celebrating with a huge party!  **throws confetti and wonders who’s going to clean it all up**

Celebration

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One of the things that most astounds me is the range of stories that I hear about HOW people came to read and write M/M.  Recently we had a meeting in Perth of readers, reviewers and authors of M/M and we discussed this.  And surprisingly we’re all different.

For me, I came by way of Suzanne Brockmann.  This is not uncommon I understand.  You see I picked up one of Suzanne’s books at my library.  There was a secondary pairing of a gay couple which had me intrigued.  While looking for more of Suzanne’s books in the state library catalogue, I came across the term “bromance.”  A Book Depository search of this term led me to Marie Sexton’s Promises and I decided to try it.

I was hooked.  I loved the genre.

I read it for around 3 months, and then got a Kindle for Xmas.  That was it – one-click Amazonian powers opened a huge world to me.

How I came to write M/M is a different thing.  It was a combination of facts – and sometimes I think it was fate that they all came together at the same moment.  The roller-coaster ride started about 2 years ago.

The first thing was I was looking to the future.  My hubby had decided no-more-kids (although his wife still nags him about it occasionally LOL) and so it meant I had to consider what I would do when I returned to the workforce.  My deadline was February 2015.  That was when I needed to re-enter the workforce.  I wanted something part-time – just 10-15 hours a week – either when the kids were at school, or on the weekend when hubby was home.

But my question was what?  The opportunity was, that since it was 2 years away, I could actually go back to university if I wanted so that I had started a degree or finished one.  But what did I want to do?  For months I researched finishing my three-quarters-completed degree in Physics/Chemistry.  I considered finishing it and doing a teaching degree.  I considered trying out for nursing or psychology (which are both areas of interest to me).  I considered just doing office work or maybe getting a job as a checkout-chick.  Nothing jumped out at me.

The second thing was I was actually a little bored sitting at home and doing nothing.  I needed a new hobby.  My daughter suffered badly from separation anxiety as a toddler, and now that was wearing off I found myself needing something else in my life.

The third thing was I couldn’t find the type of M/M I wanted.  I wanted humour.  I wanted twinks.  I wanted Australian.

**grump grump grizzle grizzle**

Then a thought entered my head from NOWHERE.  I mean it.  It was so far out of left field, I would’ve sooner believed someone chanting, If you build it, they will come.

Instead the voice in my head was saying, Oh, for goodness sake – write your own freakin’ book then!  Maybe you can sell it and be an author.  Then you won’t need to go back to work.

The voice was rude.  The voice was delusional.  The voice was insistent and wouldn’t go away.

I tried to reason with it.  Oh, come on.  I’ve never even written a newspaper article. I can’t write a whole BOOK.

And me write a book?  I nearly failed English Lit in Year 12.

And the Australian book industry is so small, and the m/m publishers non-existent.  I’d have to go overseas to get published.  No one will want an Australian author.  There are too many other brilliant authors out there.

And how many people can actually make a living off writing.  Yes, I know it doesn’t need to be a lot, because I’m only looking at earning the equivalent of working 10 hours a week, but how many people have you heard say they only make a couple of hundred dollars a year from writing?

So I set out to prove to the voice I couldn’t do it – and ended up with a publishing contract.

Typing

I can hear the voice laughing in my head now.  I hate that.  **chuckles**

So for me, the good news is that in 2015 I’m going to try writing instead of going back to work.  *fingers crossed*

Besides – there are stories waiting to be written!

What would your dream job be?

 

I’m offering TWO lucky party-goers a free eBook: reader’s choice of any of my books. 

To enter, you need to follow along on the blog and ANSWER the question given on THREE of the blog posts.  Each post has a question (and there’s 10 blogs – so it will be easy), and just comment after the blog within the next 24 hours, and you could win a copy of any of my books.  Your choice of which one.

How to contact Renae:

Email:  renaekaye@iinet.net.au

Website:  www.renaekaye.weebly.com

FB:  www.facebook.com/renae.kaye.9

Twitter:  @renaekkaye

 

#6 Renae Kaye’s Blog Party – Writing myself plus excerpt

November 28, 2014

G’day, friends!  **waving madly**  It’s Renae Kaye here, coming to you from all the way in Perth, Western Australia.

Thanks for joining my party.  Grab a drink from the party bar **points to the left** and some party food.  (Read back on previous blogs if you need to order a drink).

We are partying away, celebrating the release of my new book, Safe In His Arms.   **pulls out more packets of confetti and throws them**

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I’m offering TWO lucky party-goers a free eBook: reader’s choice of any of my books. 

To enter, you need to follow along on the blog and ANSWER the question given on THREE of the blog posts.  Each post has a question (and there’s 10 blogs – so it will be easy), and just comment after the blog within the next 24 hours, and you could win a copy of any of my books.  Your choice of which ones.

**throws more confetti**

Celebration

People ask me all the time “where do you get the inspiration for your stories?”

I think every author writes a little of themselves in a book.  One thing that readers may experience for the second time in my novels, is the subject of adoption.  If you read all the way through The Blinding Light, you may’ve seen my author note at the end of the book.

ADOPTION IS an emotional issue that is often clouded with shame and anger, but to others it is a blessing or just something that happened to them, a tiny blip on their radar. To all the parents—both mothers and fathers—who found the courage to give up their children, hoping that their baby would have a better life than they could provide, I salute you. To the people who allowed my family to adopt their babies, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for my brother and sister.

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As you can see, I have two siblings who are adopted. It is therefore quite likely that the issue of adoption crops up because it is my normal life’s experience.  There are other things that pop up that I have personal experience of too.

In Safe In His Arms, Lon has a brother who is Aboriginal called Ronnie.  How Lon and Ronnie came to be brothers will be revealed at the end of the story, but they are as close as two brothers could ever be.  And Ronnie’s existence is based on my own family’s experience.

I come from a very large, blended family.  I’m the youngest (woe is me!) and I therefore have many half-brothers and –sisters and a single full-sister.  One brother and one sister are adopted.  But to me, they are all just “brothers and sisters.”  We don’t do a blood count.  Our family embodies the “We are family” motto.

I quite like confusing people when I say things like, “My uncle, who lives down south.  No, he’s not my Dad’s brother. Actually he’s not really my uncle.  He’s actually my dad’s first wife’s step-sister’s husband.”  Got that?  Yeah – he’s just Uncle Noel to me.

My parents were both married previous to marrying each other and having me.  I was (oh gosh – here I go revealing my age) born in the late 70s. My parents’ first marriages both occurred close to 1960, and surprisingly, although they came from extremely different backgrounds, and had very different marriages, both of them fostered an Aboriginal child in the late 60s.

I have to warn myself against judging things that happened nearly 50 years ago with the standards of today’s society.  But in the late 60s, in Australia, the fostering of Aboriginal children into white households happened.  Both mum and dad did it.

My dad and his first wife took in Joan, who is several years older than their oldest child. Personally I believe she was fostered to help with looking after the younger children, but as I said, I try not to place my own standards on others.  Joan happily stayed with the family for ten years until she was old enough to be on her own.  She still calls my father “Dad,” and is in touch with her “sisters” she grew up with.  Joan married, had six kids of her own, and several years back won lotto, so lives a simple life surrounded by her grandchildren now.

My mum’s first husband wanted to foster a child of Aboriginal heritage so that his children didn’t grow up racist.  They fostered Ronald, a nearly full-blooded Aboriginal from the Kimberley region.  He was the same age as my brother, and the few photographs that exist from then, shows four children who tumbled, played and lived together with huge smiles on their faces.

Sadly some five years later my mother’s husband died.  She struggled to bring up the four children, and in the end Ronald was taken away and returned to his biological mother.  He called them both “Mum,” and I’m sure he loved them both.  I wrote this book with Ronald in mind, even though the character of “Ronnie” is twenty years younger.

It was therefore a big shock for me to hear only three months ago that Ronald passed away.  I am saddened by his passing, but I’m glad that he inspired me to write this character of Ronnie.  Peace be with you, Ron.

SafeInHisArms_postcard_front_DSP

Sneak excerpt:  Lon and his best mate, Paul are visiting Lon’s brother, Ronnie.

Lon nervously drummed his fingers on the table. “I’ve been thinking about buying a house. Somewhere nice with a garden and all. I’ve got savings, but—”

Ronnie sighed. “It’s about the money, isn’t it? You don’t have to lie to me or hide anything, Lon. I know I fucked up. I’m the first one to say that. I’ve told you that I don’t deserve a share of that money, so just take it. If there are papers to sign, then I’ll sign them. I don’t need the money in here.”

Ronnie smiled weakly at him, then changed the subject. “A house? You mean a real one without wheels underneath it? Since when have you wanted a house?”

Paul snorted from his side of the table where he had been silently listening to the exchange. “Didn’t you hear the other part of the sentence, Ronnie? Lon says he wants a house. With a garden.”

The big man struggled in vain to keep his cheeks from heating while Ronnie gave Paul a questioning look. “What the fuck does Lon want a garden for?”

Paul propped his chin on his fist and grinned. “I dunno, man. Maybe it has to do with a certain person who now works in a gardening center?”

A look of delight crossed Ronnie’s face as he eagerly turned back to Lon. Of course Ronnie knew all about Casey by now.

“Really? You like this guy enough that you’d buy a house for him?”

“I’m not buying a house for him. I’ve just decided to invest in real estate. I’m not getting any younger, and I’d like a house.”

Paul and Ronnie shared an amused look and nodded sagely. “Sure, Lon. You keep telling yourself that.”

“You know, Paul, you really should bring this guy along next time you visit. I’d like to meet him.” Ronnie was almost chuckling at his brother’s embarrassment.

Lon was turning a brighter shade of red. “Give it a break, guys.”

They ignored him.

“Probably could bring Casey over on a Saturday,” Paul replied without looking at Lon. “Of course Lon would be back to the mines by then, so it would just be the two of us.”

“Excellent,” Ronnie crowed. “Then we can ask all sorts of questions without Lon knowing.”

Lon’s mouth was gaping open.

“He’s quite a nice guy,” Paul continued. “He listened to my problems the other night without kicking my arse to the curb, and he’s cute as a button when he blushes if you start talking about Lon.”

“So does he love my brother?” Ronnie wanted to know.

“About as much as your brother loves him,” Paul said.

Ronnie snuck a look at Lon, and a slow smile transformed his features. “Excellent.”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

One of the most interesting blended family scenarios I know of was the family I went to school with.  The mum had five kids and the dad had two kids, giving them a blended family of seven. But the thing was that mum had a daughter born in January of a year, then managed to have twin girls in December of the same year.  So all three girls were in the same schooling year, which was bad enough, until dad threw his son in the mix and they had four kids in one year.

I remember the mother coming to our high school and ordering four sets of uniforms, four sets of stationery and four sets of books.  Ouch!

I’m interested in your positive experiences of blended families?  Did you grow up in a blended family? Live next door to one?

 

How to contact Renae:

Email:  renaekaye@iinet.net.au

Website:  www.renaekaye.weebly.com

FB:  www.facebook.com/renae.kaye.9

Twitter:  @renaekkaye

Broken Mercies Release Party

November 24, 2014

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Welcome back! Lucy Marker here with a final blog for Dreamspinner Press to celebrate today’s release of my novel, Broken Mercies. For those of you who have been checking in throughout this blog party, I apologize again for the repetition. Today’s previous blogs may have been missed.

(A brief and inadequate description of Broken Mercies: Dan, a successful musician, doesn’t believe he deserves Jeremy, a sweet artist who insists they belong together. Dan had a difficult childhood that led to some bad choices, one of them a toxic ex-lover who drags them into trouble. Conflict and romance ensue.)

. . .

This Thursday, many people in the U.S. will gather for a meal in the spirit of Thanksgiving for our blessings and freedoms.

In Broken Mercies, Dan learned as an adult to be grateful for whatever islets of happiness he had experienced in a childhood sea of misery. Mental illness had caused difficulties in his family. Those happier moments helped him to survive and gave him the ability to love.

Over the years I’ve seen a lot of kids with emotional and mental problems whose families were unable to provide adequate care. We’ve all seen the news. Tragedies occur when children don’t receive treatment.

However, here’s some GOOD news: A few years ago I learned that in even the worst cases of parental dysfunction, if a child has just one adult who meets his or her emotional needs, the child has an adequate chance of becoming a relatively healthy adult.

I was lucky. With a sick mom and a dad who was busy providing a roof, food and clothes for everyone, several older kids in our family helped with the younger ones.

Today as I drove one of my frail older siblings on Thanksgiving errands, I was reminded of the time this person spent with me as I grew up. I’m happy to live close enough to return a favor, but there’s no way I can give back all I’ve received.

I ended up with many blessings, like an enduring marriage and two great kids.

I also have the privilege to write full time. I’m grateful to the angelically patient and helpful people at Dreamspinner Press. I’ve worn them out with constant questions. Jane Canby supervised the editing, and Hayley Peterson is still holding my hand as the book is released.

Marketing a book is an interesting job. I get to blab in blogs and on Facebook, but what I really want to do is run and hide from the awful sense of exposure. I’m an introvert, not an unusual condition for an author, and this self-promo business does not come naturally.

Though my parents took good care of us, my financial beginnings were very humble. Squeezing nickels to find dimes affected my entire life. I’d rather hand over my liver than ask anyone to buy something. I was severely handicapped when it came to my children’s school fundraisers. I had to fight the inclination to say, “No, don’t buy this wrapping paper. Go buy a roast instead.”

But I digress.

Go buy Broken Mercies! And maybe a turkey.

Thank you for your time and attention.

 

An important note:

If you or anyone you know suffers from symptoms of mental illness, the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill can help. Contact them at  www.nami.org or through their information number: 1-800-950-NAMI (6264).

 

Buy Links for Broken Mercies:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5723

http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Mercies-Lucy-Marker-ebook/dp/B00PI8QST6

Dreamspinner Press 25% discount coupon, good through November 25, 2014: Marker1122

Giveaway: One commenter on today’s blogs will receive a free copy of Broken Mercies.

 

Announcements:

Also today, November 24, I appear as a guest blogger on J.P. Barnaby’s site. Another Broken Mercies novel will be given away based on commentary.

On Tuesday, November 25, I’m appearing on Charlie Cochet’s Purple Rose Tea House blog, again with a giveaway novel.

Thanks to both Charlie Cochet and J.P. Barnaby for helping me out!

 

Website: lucymarker.com

E-mail: lucy@lucymarker.com

Facebook: lucy.marker.370@facebook.com

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/lucy@lucymarker.com

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9816210.Lucy_Marker

Release Party: Broken Mercies by Lucy Marker

November 24, 2014

Thanks for checking in with the Dreamspinner Press Blog. I’m Lucy Marker, celebrating today’s release of Broken Mercies.

A brief warning: I’m going to get controversial here.

Dreamspinner Press publishes a good amount of books featuring intense emotional growth, especially since many of their authors and readers don’t fit the rigid ideal of a model family. Condemnation and rejection for a person’s sexuality is far too common in our world

Another segment of society suffers a great deal of rejection: the mentally ill. Dan in Broken Mercies has experienced the difficulties of both groups. His mother’s mental illness twisted what should have been healthy faith into ugly zealotry. In her mind, all sexuality was suspect.

I’m no stranger to that kind of parenting.

On the outside, I’ve always been a traditional type. I’ve been a good daughter, a good wife, a good mom, and a good volunteer. A good Catholic.

Inside I’m a total rebel.

I guess writing male/male romance is a clue, huh?

I was a teenager when my sick mom moved out, and that was when my spirit started rising to the surface. At first it was little things. When I disagreed with one of my gazillion siblings (a “good Catholic family”), salt and pepper shakers could be found upside down on the kitchen table, and serving bowls were in a similar state in the cabinet. Once it was a toaster.

A therapist could tell you why setting objects wrong side up felt right. At the time, I had no clue.

It was a really big day when I’d exchanged sharp words with a sibling and actually pounded my fist on a small bag of chips. We all laughed at the absurdity of the smashed chips, but at the time releasing my temper so directly was an act of great daring.

One day another sibling ran out after a verbal battle and I screamed out the door, “Don’t!”

My witless frustration became such a family legend that my husband later put that word on my license plate.

Maybe you agree that these days there are an awful lot of things out there that deserve a loud “Don’t!”

Which brings me to the Prologue of Broken Mercies, when Dan is thirteen in the 1970s. He’s running away from an incident at home. His mother was hurting his little sister, and he couldn’t help because intervening just made his mom crazier and more violent.

At his church he encounters the janitor, his mentor. They discuss her mental illness and religious zealotry. The janitor says, “[Y]our ma’s wrong as can be about sex. Shame for what God made natural is a filthy lie used to control people. She bought that lie. The question is, will you?”

. . .

Good question. Religious shaming is an issue that has plagued me all my life. I’ve come to a firm conclusion: The intrusion of parental figures and religious authorities into a person’s sexuality is a terrible violation.

Think about it: who has the right to morally regulate another person’s physical sensations?

Of course, offering guidance about respect for self and others is necessary and appropriate, and the abuse of power is always wrong.

The big disagreement is what constitutes abuse of power.

Well, I’ll say it: controlling sexuality with fear of hell is an evil abuse of religious power.

Sex can be fun, and lovemaking can be sacred. Fortunately, as an adult I get to choose who I invite into my bedroom. My husband is welcome, and in the wholeness of my spirit, so is God.

The prurient interest of a religious authority is most certainly not welcome.

I rebel.

 

QUESTION: Do you agree that religion doesn’t belong in the bedroom? Why or why not?

 

Buy Links for Broken Mercies:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=5723

http://www.amazon.com/Broken-Mercies-Lucy-Marker-ebook/dp/B00PI8QST6

Dreamspinner Press 25% discount coupon, good through November 25, 2014: Marker1122

Giveaway: One commenter on today’s blogs will receive a free copy of Broken Mercies.

 

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