Outside My Window – Winter Wonderland

January 16, 2014

It’s the depths of winter for most of us in the northern hemisphere, and we want to celebrate all the things that make winter wonderful, so we have a challenge for all our readers out there.

Between now and January 25, keep an eye out your window and when you have a particularly beautiful day, snap a picture of it for us and share it with us, here, on our Facebook page, or on our Twitter account. We’ll collect the photos and Paul Richmond, our amazing Assistant Art Director, will work his magic and turn them into a collage that we’ll make available in turn to everyone who wants a copy to use as a desktop wallpaper or anything else.

 

And to get us started, here’s a picture outside my mother’s window. (It doesn’t get wintery where I live.)

Ariel entry

 

(There might even be a prize involved for a random participant!)

Harmony Ink New Release: January 16, 2014

January 16, 2014

Pukawiss the Outcast by Jay Jordan Hawke

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Joshua is captivated by the Ojibwe legend of Pukawiss, whose nontraditional lifestyle inspires Joshua to embrace his sexuality. Pukawiss the Outcast by Jay Jordan Hawke, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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When family complications take Joshua away from his fundamentalist Christian mother and leave him with his grandfather, he finds himself immersed in a mysterious and magical world. Joshua’s grandfather is a Wisconsin Ojibwe Indian who, along with an array of quirky characters, runs a recreated sixteenth-century village for the tourists who visit the reservation. Joshua’s mother kept him from his Ojibwe heritage, so living on the reservation is liberating for him. The more he learns about Ojibwe traditions, the more he feels at home.

One Ojibwe legend in particular captivates him. Pukawiss was a powerful manitou known for introducing dance to his people, and his nontraditional lifestyle inspires Joshua to embrace both his burgeoning sexuality and his status as an outcast. Ultimately, Joshua summons the courage necessary to reject his strict upbringing and to accept the mysterious path set before him.

Length: Novel (204p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: January 16, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-62798-647-2) | Buy as a paperback (ISBN: 978-1-62798-646-5)

Video Reading of Dumped in Oz

January 15, 2014

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I did a short video reading of an excerpt from Dumped in Oz. I like doing readings of my work and since I can’t be there with you, I thought I would do a video reading instead. The scene comes from the end of the first chapter of the story where Lyle and Roger first begin to notice one another. I hope you like it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AI4tSNQ2ap4

Because of an opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.

Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz.

But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he knows is right.

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4577

 

Excerpt of Dumped in Oz

January 15, 2014

DumpedInOz MD

 

Because of an opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.

Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz.

But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he knows is right.

 

Purchase Link:  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4577

 

“Yes. I do almost all of our baking,” the man told him. “I’m Roger Kyper, the owner and baker.” He extended his hand.

“Lyle,” he said, shaking it. “I’m staying at the inn next door for a couple of weeks.” Roger held his hand a few seconds longer than necessary and then released it, not breaking eye contact. “I’ll be working at the Shoebox warehouse near the highway,” Lyle continued. He figured being friendly was the way things were done here, and he wanted to fit in. “Sorry I got here so close to closing.”

“It’s no problem,” Roger said, moving out of the way when the server returned with Lyle’s bierock. “I’ll let you finish your brunch.” He moved away, and Lyle watched him go out of the corner of his eye. He didn’t want to be seen watching another guy, not in a small town like this, but he couldn’t help it. Roger was hot, and he moved like a dancer. Lyle swallowed hard as his mouth went dry. He turned away and went back to his cinnamon roll. As he ate, the restaurant employees wiped down the chairs, swept the floor, and gathered the flower vases from the tables.

When he finished the cinnamon roll, he ate the bierock, humming softly to himself at the savory taste of bacon, sausage, egg, and ham all mixed together, combined with the bread. Dang—it had to be a local delicacy, and it was amazing. Lyle finished eating and sat back. He realized he was the only person in the room. The servers had finished their work, and he now sat alone.

“I see you liked it,” Roger said as he came back in.Wamego

“It was great,” Lyle said with a smile. “Am I keeping you from going home?” He stood up and looked for his check, then picked it up off the corner of the table.

“Not really. It’s Sunday afternoon, so take your time.” Roger didn’t leave right away, and Lyle stared at him for a few seconds. Then Lyle moved to the side and walked toward the back of the house. He stepped into a tiny bakery with a single case, now empty, but delicious scents lingered in the air. Roger went to stand at the register, and Lyle handed him the check and money.

“Please give the change to the server,” Lyle said.

“She’ll appreciate that,” Roger told him.

Lyle said good-bye and left by the back door, stepping out into the heat. He looked around and walked up toward the street, deciding he’d take a walk through the park. As he headed to the sidewalk, he saw Roger lock the door before jogging down the stairs. Lyle waved and continued across the street into the park.

It was gorgeous, with shade trees, paths, and playgrounds, like most parks. He also passed a fountain, and a cannon set in concrete, continuing his stroll down a footpath that led over to a bridge where a small pond narrowed. People fished off the bank, and Lyle saw a small wooden model boat landing near shore where a father and son operated a remote-controlled boat. Lyle stood on the bridge, leaning against the rail, just watching.

“Nice, isn’t it?” a familiar voice said.

Lyle turned as Roger joined him on the bridge.

“It is,” Lyle agreed. “What is it about this town?”

“What do you mean?” Roger asked.

“It seems so perfect,” Lyle said, and Roger chuckled lightly.

“Most folks who live here grew up here. And we believe in taking care of what we have. Everyone pitches in to take care of the park and keep the town clean. There isn’t a lot, but we do okay. A lot of people in town work either at the feed mill or at Caterpillar. Some work at the Shoebox warehouse too. And there are lots of farmers and farm support.”

“It’s like stepping back in time,” Lyle told him.

“That it is. Since we don’t have a lot, we want to preserve what we have. Years ago, when folks started tearing down the old buildings to create new, some folks got together to try to rescue what was still around,” he explained, motioning toward a cluster of small buildings. “So we started the Wamego museum. We moved the old buildings to one location, just like we moved the windmill into the park. Folks here are proud of their town.”

“That’s obvious,” Lyle said. “Do you get a lot of visitors?”

“The Oz stuff brings in a few tourists and curiosity seekers, but mostly it’s just us. Except for during Oztoberfest—then the town fills up with people wearing green everything. It’s a real emerald city, and the characters come out all over the place. People dress as their favorite characters from the movie. Basically, everyone has a great time.”

“I’ll look forward to it,” Lyle said.

“Then you’ll be here a while,” Roger said.

Lyle nodded. “About a year. They’ve put me up in the inn for a couple of weeks, but I need to find a place to live. I figured I’d ask around at work to see if anyone knows of anything. I understand a lot of them live in Manhattan.” Lyle looked around. “But this is so nice.”

“It’s too quiet for some folks,” Roger said, leaning on the railing next to him.

“I think quiet is nice. Harrisburg isn’t big as cities go, but it’s noisy and fast.” His condo building always had people coming and going. Lyle turned to look at Roger and saw him looking back. Lyle’s belly did a little flip as he recognized the interest in Roger’s eyes. Then it vanished and Roger turned. Lyle stifled a sigh as he watched the remote-controlled boat glide under the bridge. He turned and watched as it floated out the other side and made a lazy circle on the water before starting its return trip. “I could use some quiet.”

Lyle heard the kid laugh as the father handed the controls to the boat to him. From the bridge, Lyle saw the kid smile as he took the controls. The boat glided back to the center of the pond and then began making all kinds of circles and loops. Lyle turned back toward Roger, and he could have sworn Roger turned away just as Lyle began looking. Lyle opened his mouth to say something, but Roger pushed away from the railing. “I’m sure I’ll see you around,” he said. Before Lyle could open his mouth, Roger had turned and started striding back along the path through the park.

Lyle watched him go, wondering what had happened. He shrugged and pushed away from the rail himself, continuing across the bridge and on closer to the stone windmill. Lyle looked around the stone structure and saw Roger coming up the other way. He watched him for a few moments and realized he was being watched in return. Lyle walked over to where Roger stood. As he approached, Lyle once again saw a quick flash of desire, and then, just like before, it was gone and Roger turned away. This time Lyle watched him walk all the way across the park and back to the restaurant. He had no idea what was going on, so he pushed it from his mind. He wasn’t here to hook up, or even to meet anyone. He had a job to do, and he planned on doing it to the best of his ability, and taking some time to think and contemplate what he wanted. He certainly wouldn’t get caught up with a small-town closet case too afraid of what the neighbors would say to even be seen speaking to him in broad daylight.

He ambled back through the park, then stopped by the community pool to listen to the kids as they screamed with watery delight before continuing on and back to the hotel.

“Did you have a nice walk?” the hotelier asked as Lyle approached the stairs.

Hello and Welcome to the Dumped In Oz Release Party

January 15, 2014

DumpedInOz MD

Hello, Andrew Grey here ready to chat with all you amazing people. My latest novel, Dumped in Oz was released today.  Here’s a link to make things easy if you need one.  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4577

I thought I would start things off with a giveaway to get the discussion going.  So here’s what I’d like to do.  Dumped in Oz is all about finding your way in life and at one time or other we’ve all felt a little lost.  So to enter to win a copy of Dumped in Oz, please comment about a time when you felt lost and what happened to change that for you.   I’m looking forward to chatting with each of you.

Blurb:

Because of an opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.

Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz.

But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he knows is right.

 

New Releases: January 15, 2014

January 15, 2014

Bottoms Out by Etienne

 

Chris and Mickey settle down to raise Chris’s brother Ted. But Ted’s been abused and Chris wonders how many secrets one family can have.

About a Bottoms: Book Two; An Avondale Story

 

After the death of their mother, Chris Bottoms adopted his little brother, Ted, and Chris and his partner, Mickey O’Donovan, settle down to raise him. Through paperwork left by his mother, Chris learns his brother has a deeply troubled past.

 

During a Thanksgiving visit with Chris and Ted’s maternal grandparents, they find out Chris’s grandfather allowed his friends to abuse Ted, so Chris severs all ties with that side of his family.

 

Through his job at a hospital, Chris hears of a surgeon at the Mayo Clinic who has developed an ileostomy reversal technique that has proven successful in cases like his. When Chris enters the clinic for preliminary testing, he learns he is a good candidate for the procedure and schedules the first of two surgeries for the beginning of January. A visit from estranged relatives while he’s in the hospital leaves him wondering how many secrets one family can have.

 

Length: Novel (266p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: January 15, 2014

Buy as eBook ($6.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-401-0) | Buy as Paperback ($16.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-402-7)

 

 

 

Dumped in Oz by Andrew Grey

 

Emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz. But Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens him and he faces with a challenge.

Tales from Kansas

 

Because of an opportunity he’d be a fool to turn down, Lyle Powers transfers to his company’s warehouse in central Kansas. The last thing he expects is to meet another gay man in the small town, let alone one who captures his interest.

 

Roger Kypers is a recovering alcoholic with a twelve-year-old daughter he only gets to see for part of the summer. Neither Lyle nor Roger is looking for a relationship, and they fumble at the start, yet emotions build as Roger shows Lyle the landmarks of Oz.

 

But when Roger’s wicked witch of an ex-wife threatens to take his daughter away for good if he doesn’t act “normally,” he’s faced with the challenge of letting her get away with it, or fighting to accept himself and standing up for what he knows is right.

 

Length: Novella (164p.) | Genre: Contemporary | Release Date: January 15, 2014

Buy as eBook ($4.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-486-7)

 

 

Fireheart by Kay Ellis

 

Prince Tylan has the gift of magic in a world where it is outlawed. He must keep another secret when he meets Sully, his tutor.

 

In a world where magic is outlawed, Tylanovaar must hide his true identity. As a young prince about to be married, the last thing his people can find out is that he has the gift of fire in his veins.

 

But when he meets the man hired to turn him into a suitable heir for the throne, he’s forced to keep another secret.

 

Sully is an elite lawkeeper called a Rider. When a young man he meets by chance ends up being the Prince of Evolin, Sully becomes his tutor at the king’s request. Tylan fascinates him, and a journey to help Tylan learn to control his magic gives them time alone, but not enough. They take ever greater risks to be together until they are caught in Sully’s bed on Tylan’s wedding night, causing Tylan to lose the fragile hold he has over his gift.

 

Length: Novella (112p.) | Genre: High Fantasy | Release Date: January 15, 2014

Buy as eBook ($3.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-418-8)

 

 

Kai for Christmas by E.T. Malinowski

 

Cade wants Kai under his Christmas tree in nothing but a big red bow. But Cade’s shenanigans may ruin something beautiful in the making.

Kai O’Donnell hates Christmas. It’s not the blaring commercialism or the too-perky people. Being an interior designer, Kai can handle most people. But during Christmas, he has to deal with a man who gets under his skin like no other: Cade. Handsome—hand-me-a-towel-because-I’m-drooling-sexy—sarcastic Cade.

 

Cade Randall has been in love with Kai O’Donnell since setting eyes on the auburn-haired Native American. Falling back on his teenage habits, Cade picks on Kai every time they’re together. He wants Kai under his Christmas tree in nothing but a big red bow, his to keep forever, but Cade’s shenanigans may ruin something beautiful in the making.

 

Length: Nap-size Dream (56p.) | Genre: Coming of Age, Contemporary, Holiday

Release Date: January 15, 2014

Buy as eBook ($2.99 ISBN: 978-1-62798-640-3)

Congrats to the Flare Winners – Posy Roberts

January 14, 2014

A random drawing made Theo and Jbst winners of a copy of Flare. I’ve contacted the DSP office with your email addresses so they can add Flare to your DSP acct.

If you have used a different email at the DSP store in the past than you used to comment, let me know at posyroberts@ymail.com so we can make sure the copy gets to the right acct.

Thanks so much for playing today! Now let’s all get some sleep. :)

Posy Roberts North Star: Flare – last chance to play!

January 13, 2014

JanuaryAd_Elisa_NorthStar

This will be my last post.

I’m sad that North Star (Spark, Fusion, and Flare) are over. Yet, somewhere along the way, I realized Hugo and Kevin’s teenage story wasn’t one to just throw away, so I reworked it.

I’ve taken their junior year in high school, revamped it, and added 66% more (yes, I’ve done the math).  This book is called Private Display of Affection and written under the pen name Winter Sandberg. Yes, components of Spark are in it but the sexual bits are toned down. If you have a gay or bisexual son or nephew or friend, this might be a book for them. I address issues in PDA that men having sex with men will never get in a traditional sex ed class. I did that so teens might have a place to go for answers. You may enjoy it even more than them, because you get a better glimpse at what’s happening in Kevin’s head in this book, unlike in Spark, where he was often left out of the equation because of how the story was structured.

And It is my hope that I can write Hugo and Kevin’s senior year in high school as well. So far, it is much more Kevin’s story than it is Hugo’s in the planning stage, but that makes sense after Hugo’s tumultuous junior year.

One thing I tend to do is keep storyboards alive on Pinterest. I try to do this for each and every story, so if you want to follow me, feel free, or if you want to follow individual stories, peek around. I play on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterst, Google+, and other places too. I love connecting with new people, but I may be a bit shy at first. I also try to keep Winter Sandberg separate from Posy Roberts for the most part, but keeping up with the various sites does get exhausting.

So for my very last question of the night, what changed between the time you were 16 and the time you were an adult in your romantic relationships? I got a lot more practical or “realistic, ” if you will. How about you? I still expect magical kisses and moments that sweep me off my feet, but not nearly as often as I did at 16 years-old. :)

Symbolism – Flare and North Star – Posy Roberts

January 13, 2014

Have you ever started out writing a story and ended up incorporating a ton of symbolism you never knew you’d truly add until later? Maybe that only works for writers or film makers. But, yeah. The North Star. That wasn’t the title of this trilogy in the beginning. In fact, there was no fancy title tying the books together. And then after North Star was chosen, I felt I had to completely retitle each books.

Yes, I’m a total dork. Let’s just get that out of the way. I live in Minnesota, North Star is set in Minnesota, and… dun, dun, dun, the nickname of Minnesota is the North Star state. It’s all over the place here. We used to have the Minnesota North Stars who were then sold and became the Dallas Stars. That’s hockey in case you didn’t know. Don’t feel bad. All I knew growing up next door in North Dakota was the Vikings (cuz they could never be counted on to win) and the Twins (for occasionally pulling it out of the bag – 1987 and 1991!).

I will now share my working titles because they are so lame. Spark was logically The Lake. Fusion was called The City. Flare was called Grounded or Suburbia, depending on what part of the process I was in. After all, I wrote all three rough drafts very quickly so being creative with the titles wasn’t really on my list of priorities. There were very few edits along the way because I wanted to get my thoughts down as fast as I could. Then I spent ages—a year—editing before I submitted all of these stories.

The North Star became very important after Kevin gave Hugo a gift in high school with an engraving on it. There’s a quote right on the front cover of Spark that shows how important those word were, even if not immediately recognized.

So you’ll always know your way.

Sometimes our characters surprise us, and Kevin certainly shocked me. I knew he was thoughtful when he gave his gift of a keychain to Hugo, but I had no idea how important this would become for years and years. And that wasn’t it. There was more with these guys. They were comfortable with each other in a way that they never felt with anybody else, even lovers or best friends they had over the years. Hugo almost felt this close with his best friend Summer, but not quite. Kevin always had something over him, even if we can never define it. And I’m totally okay without defining it.

Have you ever had that? Have you had some symbol (words, pictures, stars) that had meant more to you than you can share with most people? I think of jewelry I shared with boyfriends in high school. With my husband, I think of little notes he wrote to me, poems, haiku he wrote for me. You don’t have to share exactly what those symbols are if you’d rather not, but how did they transcend typical communication so you truly knew things were different this time?

Also, for those of you who are caught up until book 3, Flare, do you think the first two working titles worked? Why? What should new readers know before delving in?

 

 

 

Posy Roberts Delves Beneath the Surface in Flare

January 13, 2014

So, how do you fit the real world into romance? Or why would you even want to? In Flare, I wanted to.

I started reading romance novels written for teens in the 1980s. I think they went under the monicker Wildfire Romances. OMG, I found a link to the spines of some. LOL! They were set in modern times, and the story almost always ended after boy and girl got together. And then I quit reading romance altogether for years. When I started again, my tastes quickly morphed.

I’ve obviously moved past boy and girl meeting and falling in love, and shifted to men going crazy for each other. But I also love a romance to go beyond the “Yes, I want to be with you” and the “I love you” moments.

I like to go deeper.

I like to see how those couples will survive outside the bubble of initial romance and lust, because that is the true test! Getting past “I love you” is hard, but it is nothing compared to dealing with real life or a chronic illness or a secret you’re positive will change everything.

Some of this comes from my personal experiences. I deal with chronic illness that has transformed me from the very energetic 18 year-old my husband met in college into someone who needed to temper herself and slow way down or I’d be bed bound for days. And then our baby was born. She was beautiful and sweet, but the poor child couldn’t swallow her own saliva without choking/aspirating, and she needed multiple operations to resolve all of her birth defects, not to mention the years of using a feeding tube before she could eat like the rest of us.

So how does a couple survive difficulties like these? Hugo and Kevin lived through the challenges they faced in Fusion. When I named book 2, I was thinking of cold fusion, even if it is still a hypothetical. But how do you survive beyond a bonding crisis like they experienced? How do you still live and love each other without the intensity of emotions you felt during the crisis? Sometimes you can cope better than you can in everyday life. When things become mundane, how do keep interested? And what do you do to keep life from getting stale?

This is what Flare is about and why the cover is green! Haha. It’s about finding life after death. Of course, Hugo and Kevin’s lives are much more interesting than my own ever could be.

That is reality for most of us at one point in our lives or another. Is it grief from the loss of a parent or partner? Is it being laid off or fired from a job? Or substance abuse to cope with? Or is it a medical crisis?

I think this is truly where the meat, the heart is in relationships. This is where it is enriching to watch and read about people growing and becoming more than they were at the beginning, especially when life is crisis free. “I love you” is easy now, but “I like you” or “I’m disappointed in you” might be harder. And how do you move past that so you can continue to grow, not just individually but as a couple?

That is what I really want to explore when I write romance. I want to explore the iceberg underneath.

What sort of depth do you enjoy in romance stories? When is too much, too much?

Have you ever related so much to a character that it’s scary?