March 25, 2014
I’m BA Tortuga and I reckon I’m a redneck.
I’m tickled as all get out to get to come and play with folks, talk cowboys, give a few things away, and basically shoot the bull about my newest (and debut Dreamspinner Press title), The Terms of Release. Oh, y’all… Sage and Win make my soul happy. I love me some Texan boys and these two are pure-D east Texas to the bone.
I’ve got my coffee — and for those of y’all that don’t know, that’s the fuel that keeps me going, dark, rich, magical elixir of life. I’ve got my hound dogs. I’ve got… okay, for me it’s way too early for anything more than that. Coffee, dogs, Tim McGraw on the radio, and a willing soul, that’s all I got. I’m ready to play.
Let’s start out like we can hold out. You tell me what you have to have to encourage your happy butt to get out of bed, I’ll give away an ebook copy of The Terms of Release.
Now Sage? Sage is out of bed with the sun, looking to feed. You know he presets that Mr. Coffee with Folgers, black and strong, just like my daddy. I’m sort of worried that he sleeps in his boots and hat, actually… Mr. Win, on the other hand, he spoils himself with the good coffee — nothing fancy, mind you — but good gourmet stuff he grinds at the Brookshires Brothers himself (and I can tell you there’s cinnamon pecan hidden in the back of his fridge, too). Coffee, CNN on the television, and a nice hot shower, that’s what Win needs before he straps on his uniform.
Now for the official blurb type stuff:
They say a man can always come home. So after doing hard time, Sage Redding heads to his family’s northeast Texas ranch to help his ailing daddy with the cutting horses.
Adam (Win) Winchester is a county deputy and the cousin of one of the men killed in the incident that sent Sage to prison for almost a decade. While Win’s uncles, Jim and Teddy, are determined to make Sage and the entire Redding family pay for their loss, Win just figures Sage has paid his dues and maybe needs a friend. Maybe he needs more than a friend. In fact, Win’s counting on it.
No one’s denying Sage is an ex-con who went to prison for manslaughter. Regardless of the love he has for his father, he’s returned knowing things will likely go badly for him. Maybe a man can always come home, but he may not be able to stay.
Can’t wait to chat with all y’all!
March 14, 2014
Hi! I’m Cindy Sutherland and I’m here with you today celebrating the release of my latest book and first full length novel, Wrapped Up in Chains. I’m so glad to be here, and I’m really excited because I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m going to be hanging out throughout the day, chatting and answering any questions you might have. I’m actually have the day off because the flu has been running rampant through my house and it’s finally my turn. At least it waited until everyone else was over it!
I’m going to be giving away a copy of the ebook version of the novel and you can win by commenting below and answering this question:
Would you rather spend an hour as a sub or as a Dom…no judgements, just for fun! I’ll tell you my answer at the end of the day.
I’m going to start by sharing the blurb with you.
Devon West is a professional Dom who runs his own club, doesn’t believe in romance, and had never been in a long-term relationship. All this changes when he rescues Chase Mackenzie.
Chase is a runaway who has been kept as a slave since he was sixteen. Now twenty-three, he’s still innocent and sweet despite being severely abused and left behind by his Dom.
When Devon finds out that the man who held Chase hostage is the same man who hurt him terribly when he started learning about the sub/Dom lifestyle, he knows he has to keep Chase safe.
Spoiled rich boy and sociopath James Kingston is obsessed with Devon. He’s convinced Devon would be his perfect sub and Devon only thinks he’s a Dom because he needs proper discipline. Losing Chase to Devon is like rubbing salt in the wound, and he’s determined to get them both under thumb. This time, Chase may need to rescue Devon.
I look forward to spending the day with you all and lets have a little fun! I’d love to answer any questions you might have.
February 14, 2014
I am sending my hunky waiters around to serve you all some drinks Please enjoy while I share an excerpt from my book – Holding on to Hope.
Leslie felt eyes on her, and she looked across their table. A pair of freakishly blue eyes stared in their direction. They belonged to a man, a bit older in age—probably in his fifties, she guessed—with long gray hair. His face was round and wrinkled, making him look very ugly. He wore a black trench coat over a white shirt and a striped tie. Leslie noticed the big rings on his finger and deduced that he must be some wealthy man. However, his stare was making him appear scary.
When he realized he was caught in the act, his lips curved into a cold smile.
She quickly looked away and tried to concentrate on what her boyfriend was saying. However, Leslie kept getting the weirdest feeling that nothing around her was safe anymore. The worrisome thoughts kept her occupied. An unmistakable panic was slowly settling in.
All because of an old man who was probably innocently looking at the college kids as they sat right across from him and reminiscing about his past!
Leslie shivered. “Guys,” her voice wavered. “I’ll be right back.”
Thankfully, none of the boys noticed the change in her tone, and she quickly made her way to the ladies room. Once she was in, the first thing she did was empty her bladder.
Somehow, the old man had freaked her out so much that she felt the need to pee. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was exactly that triggered such emotions in her. This had never happened to her before.
She splashed some cold water on her face, fixed her makeup once again, and exhaled, feeling a lot better than before. Hoping that the old man was gone, she slowly stepped out.
Her heart felt lighter when she saw his seat was empty, and the smile then came easy to her. At that moment, she even wanted to laugh at herself for having a stupid panic attack.
After all, he was a harmless old man.
She found her boyfriend standing by the counter, buying another coffee for himself. She walked over to him. “I thought you promised me that you’d cut down on your caffeine consumption for a day.” Leslie narrowed her eyes. He looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights and smiled very cutely.
“I told you too much coffee isn’t good for my Patty-pie’s health.”
“I promise this is the last one,” he said and leaned down to kiss her. He obviously wasn’t going to keep his promise. But she let it slip. Pushing the matter wasn’t going to help. Leslie believed that Patrick needed to decide to stop on his own.
However, she couldn’t help but worry too.
When he broke the kiss, she shook her head, giggling slightly, and looked in the direction of their booth. “Where’s Brad?”
Patrick turned to look. “I don’t know. He was sitting right there before you came back out.” They trailed back in the direction of their booth. “Maybe he went to the restroom.”
“Couldn’t have happened.” Leslie shook her head. “Or else I would have seen him when I came out.”
“I don’t understand.” Patrick gazed at her. “He was right here a minute ago, talking to the old dude, and I went to get….”
“Old dude?” Leslie’s heart skipped a beat. “Who?”
“I don’t know who he was, but I guess he was sitting in this booth.” He pointed to the space where the scary old man had once been. “He came over to Brad and was like, ‘Can I talk to you in private?’ So I just left the booth for them to talk.”
“Pat!” Her blood was running cold by then. “How could you leave him alone with a stranger?”
“Baby, overreact much?” Patrick looked around, and Leslie realized that everyone was looking in their direction. “Brad is not a little child.”
“Hey, what’s the matter?” Ian’s voice interrupted them, and Pat tightened his jaw.
Leslie tried to calm herself down before replying. “Brad is… I don’t know… he went somewhere. It’s probably nothing, but Pat says he was talking to this old man before and….”
“Shit, no!” Ian yelled. “Old man? What did he look like?”
There was panic in his eyes, and his voice and fright suddenly found a home in Leslie’s system. “Freakishly blue eyes, wrinkled face, Rings on his fingers.”
“Long gray hair?” Ian asked anxiously.
“Yes!” Leslie was certain something pretty awful had happened to Brad, and she couldn’t stop cursing herself for lack of better judgment. “Ian, do you know something?”
His lip quivered. “I do.” He stepped closer and looked between the two of them. “Brad is in big trouble right now, and there’s only one person who can get him out of it.”
February 14, 2014
I am Sid Love – the author of newly released DSP Book titled – “Holding on to Hope” and today I am here to celebrate this special moment of my life. After all, my dream of becoming a published author has finally come true!
What am I planning on doing here?
To spend some time with you guys and have a blast!
Let’s start, why don’t we have some music on, eh? Here’s my pick of song – “Applause” by Lady Gaga! I have bribed the DJ and he will be taking requests from all of you, so don’t be shy and let us know what song you think would set the party mood.
And since, it’s Valentine’s Day, it definitely calls for a double celebration. I love this day so much because I believe in it strongly So does my main character Bradley Parker and that belief strengthens when he meets his Mr. Right on the Valentine’s Day -
Bradley Parker has waited twenty years for Mr. Right, and on Valentine’s Day, he finally finds him. It’s love at first sight, and Brad even loses his virginity to the man of his dreams. But when he wakes up the next morning unable to remember anything—even what the man looked like—his best friend, Leslie, is convinced he imagined the whole thing. Brad knows he didn’t make up the best night of his life, but he has no idea of the danger he’s putting himself in as he struggles to recall the details of his perfect man. His search may lead him to parts of New York City he never dreamed existed and a war being waged in the shadows.
If you wish to ask me anything about me or the book or anything in general, please feel free to post your question in the comments below. I will try and make sure that it is answered.
Also, I will be giving away an e-copy of my book. Every commenter to my posts gets entered into the contest automatically so don’t forget to leave a comment!
January 13, 2014
This will be my last post.
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.
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?
January 13, 2014
Good morning! This is Posy Roberts here ready to chat with you lovely people throughout the day. My latest novel, Flare, was released today, January 13! Flare is the final book in my North Star Trilogy, and I’m excited to finally be able to share all the books with you.
For those of you new to North Star, all three books revolve around the lives of Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus.
Hugo and Kevin knew they should be together all the way back in high school, but life took them in very different directions. When they have a chance to continue their relationship, life’s circumstances have other plans for them. But they know they are meant to be, so they fight for each other, and they will fight for the family they want to nurture together, even if the world around them doesn’t quite understand their “alternative” family and tries their best to keep them apart.
Spark is book one in the trilogy.
In their small-town high school, Hugo and Kevin became closeted lovers who kept their secret even from parents. Hugo didn’t want to disappoint his terminally ill father, and Kevin’s controlling father would never tolerate a bisexual son. When college took them in different directions, they promised to reunite, but that didn’t happen for seventeen years.
By the time they meet again, Hugo has become an out-and-proud actor and director who occasionally performs in drag—a secret that has cost him in past relationships. Kevin, still closeted, has followed his father’s path and now, in the shadow of divorce, is striving to be a better father to his own children.
When Hugo and Kevin meet by chance at a party, the spark of attraction reignites, as does their genuine friendship. Rekindling a romance may mean Hugo must compromise the openness he values, but Kevin will need a patient partner as he adapts to living outside the closet. With such different lifestyles, the odds seem stacked against them, and Hugo fears that if his secret comes to light, it may drive Kevin away completely.
Fusion is book two.
How do you tell your friends and family you’ve fallen in love with a man when they’ve only ever known you as straight? How do you explain to your kids that you loved their mother very much, but your new partner is your best friend from high school and a man?
Kevin Magnus must figure it out while trying to build a relationship with Hugo Thorson, whose bigger than life, out-and-proud drag queen persona is simply too big to be contained in a closet—even for the time it takes Kevin to come up with an explanation for his kids and Erin, his soon-to-be ex-wife.
But Erin faces an even bigger obstacle—one that shakes the entire family to the core. When she unexpectedly turns to Hugo, they form a connection that forces Hugo to grow up and offers Kevin the chance to become the kind of father he wants to be. Despite the coming complications, they’ll all benefit from a fortunate side effect: it becomes clear that Hugo is very much a part of this unconventional family.
And now Flare, book three is ready for you!
Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus are learning to live again after the death of Kevin’s wife, Erin. They’re doing everything they can to make a stable home for Kevin’s kids, but that stability is threatened when Kevin is served legal documents: Erin’s parents want custody of Brooke and Finn.
Meanwhile, Hugo is offered several acting jobs; to encourage him to take them, Kevin hires a nanny who is very hands-on with the kids. But Hugo feels distanced from his new family, so he makes the decision to leave his eclectic neighborhood and moves in with Kevin. He quickly finds he has a hard time fitting in with the suburbanites, and Kevin’s passive-aggressive “friends” make Hugo feel anything but welcome. Yet he keeps his concerns a secret and tries to take it all in stride.
When Brooke is bullied about having two dads, Hugo realizes his mere presence might be doing more harm than good. The stress will force him to make a choice: does he stay and fight for the family he loves, or does he walk away to let them live in peace?
Now let’s interact!
When you hear the word “trilogy,” what comes to mind? I knew I was taking a risk writing one. What gets you excited about a trilogy or any sort of series with the same characters? Are you a “wait until they all come out” reader or a “read them as they come out” reader? Why?
Please leave comments. I’d love to hear from you, and I’ll reply as soon as I can. I have to go teach a class this morning, but I’ll be back as soon as I help solve all the parenting problems in my town. Haha. Have a cup of coffee or tea while you think about your answers. No need to rush. And who knows what crazy things I’ll write about this afternoon.
If there are any questions you have about the trilogy, about Kevin and Hugo, about any of the secondary characters (who so many of you seem to love – yay!), or even about me or surviving in Minnesota during the winter, ask them. I’ll try to answer everything. Let’s make this blog as interactive as we can today!
November 14, 2013
Not Broken, Just Bent by Mia Kerick
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Timmy feels betrayed when longtime friend Ben denies his feelings. If they can find forgiveness, they may be able to move forward together. Not Broken, Just Bent by Mia Kerick, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
Braving the start of high school, longtime childhood friends Benjamin Wells and Timmy Norton quickly realize they are entering a whole new world colored by their family responsibilities. Ben is trying to please his strict father; Timmy is taking care of his younger sisters. While their easy camaraderie is still comfortable, Ben notices Timmy growing distant and evasive, but Ben has his own problems. It’s easier to let concerns about Timmy’s home life slide, especially when Timmy changes directions and starts to get a little too close. Ben doesn’t know how to handle the new feelings Timmy’s desire for love inspires, and his continuing denial wounds Timmy deeply.
But what Timmy perceives as Ben’s greatest betrayal is yet to come, and the fallout threatens to break them apart forever. Over the next four years, the push and pull between them and the outside world twists and tears at Ben and Timmy, and they are haunted by fear and regret. However, sometimes what seems broken is just a little bent, and if they can find forgiveness within themselves, Ben and Timmy may be able to move forward together.
Length: Novel (180p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: November 14, 2013
September 13, 2013
All right, one last post on a really tough issue before we call it a night.
In general I don’t go in much for non-con or rape fantasies.
I will admit though every once in a while I like indulging in the fantasy of sexual slavery. There is something about having total control over a person, being able to bend them to your will and take what you want without care for their feelings or their desires that can tap into the very darkest parts of my sexual appetite when played out in the safety of my mind or on the pages of a good piece of erotica.
As a historian though I am all too aware of the real world history and cost of slavery. Owning humans as chattels degrades not just the people who are held in bondage but also the ones who hold them. A society which allows slavery is a society which will allow for a certain level of cruelty to be normalized. For in a society where it is acceptable to buy and sell humans like cattle it also often becomes acceptable to abuse, maim and murder them as well.
As Ira Berlin states “In saves societies by contrast, slavery stood at the center of economic production, and the master-slave relationship provided the model for all social relations: husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, teacher and student.” This is a chilling world view but it does highlight the ways in which the mindset that allowed one man to own another outright affected everyone within that society.
During the editing process my editor mention that several of the characters are referred to as “good master” even though they do thing we would see as terrible or abuse. They have slaves beaten, solid off to people who will abuse them further and subject their slaves to a thousand tiny acts of degradation daily.
This was very intentional on my part because in the grand scheme of things these characters are “good masters” but they are still people who see nothing morally wrong with owning other human beings and treating them like objects.
It is easy to condemn the beating, mutilation and forced rape of slaves. I think though the fact that Vasilios has to go to his knees every time he enters a room and cannot make eye contact with his “betters” and this is seen as so normal that no one questions it, is more indicative of the kind of damage slavery does to a society at large.
The elephant in the room while writing about Vasilios’ time in captivity is rape. Slaves are not capable of consent. They can not say no especially to their masters but to any free person. For a slave to say know would be to risk severe punishment and would go totally disregarded anyway. A table does not consent, a horse does not consent and in a slave holding society slaves have no more right to consent than a table or a horse.
One of the things that was important to me while writing Like Fire Through Bone was to portray slavery as corrupting and degrading as it historically was and still is.
Vasilios has had sexual encounters with his master but I want to be clear that he in no way consented to them. He submitted to them out of a sense of self preservation and because he knew as owned property he could not say no to his master’s demands.
Further he and Markos can not further any kind of relationship with each other as long as Vasilios is held as a slave. As Markos points out if they were to become involved romantically or sexually before that neither could be completely sure that where wouldn’t be cohesion involved at some level. Markos is an extremely powerful man and business partner to Vasilios’ master. For Vasilios as a slave it would be almost impossible for him to say no to Markos if Markos where to make a pass at him and Markos knows this.
Stories that deal with slaves are a huge part of the romance genre but often these stories do not deal directly with issues like a slaves inability to consent. On the other hand the fantasy of sexual slavery is a potent one. Going into writing Like Fire Through Bone though I wanted to do something more realistic.
So what do you think? Do you prefer a more historically accurate portrayal of slavery? Or do you like like the fantasy better, where the pretty slave falls for his sexy master? Why or why not?
September 13, 2013
I was originally going to talk about music but I can’t figure out how to embed the media player so let’s talk about cover art first.
I’ll admit it, I totally judge books by their covers.
As a reader browsing through a brick and mortar bookstore I am far more likely to grab a book that has an exciting or beautiful cover. As a die hard fantasy and science fiction fan I’m going to be drawn to cover to portray something new and fresh from the genre. A cover with bulky space Marines isn’t going to attract my attention the same way a cover depicting a character walking the streets of a futuristic Delhi would.
When it comes to romance novels I’m just as picky. I’m not a fan of covers which show over developed pectoral muscles as their primarily attraction since they are a dime a dozen in the m/m romance genre. I am much more likely to be attracted to interesting covers even if they are not “sexy” per say. In fact a cover which doesn’t immediately scream “romance” to me is going to be more attractive because it will grab my attention and making me at least read the blurb.
Unless I know the author or have had the book recommended to me the cover art may indeed make or break my decision to buy the book. I know this about myself therefore I take the designing of the covers for my own book very seriously.
Working with a new publisher and new set of cover artists is always a little nerve wracking and the cover art is such an important part of the process that when I sent off my survey form for the cover art of Like Fire Through Bone I was mostly just anxious about how it was going to turn out.
I tried to give as much details about each of the characters as possible along with the over all feeling I was going for.
I really wanted to cover to emphasize the plot and tone of the book over the sex appeal of the characters.
It’s not that Like Fire Through Bone isn’t a sexy book because I think there is great chemistry between Vasilios and Markos and multiple hot sex scenes. On the other hand though the book is not all about the romance as much as it is about combining plot with romance I wanted a cover to reflect that.
What I got back from the talented Brooke Albrecht was four different but equally lovely covers. Two of them really jumped out at me though. In one I loved the cover model and felt like he was closest to my mental picture of Vasilios. The other I was totally in love with the color scene and lettering.
I asked if they could be combined and the cover that resulted was the one we went with. I love it. I think it is a beautiful cover.
That made me so happy for all sorts of reasons.
So what do people think? What role does the cover art play in your decision whether to buy a book? What kinds of things do you love or hate to see on covers of m/m romance book?