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?
September 13, 2013
I am E.E. Ottoman and I am here to talk about Like Fire Through Bone cones out on Friday 13th, today! I am so excited about this release party which will be going all day and include an awesome coupon code for 25% off all Angel and Demon stories at Dreamspinner somewhere along the way.
First let me introduce myself. I am a graduate student in my late twenties, studying history and living in the greater New York City area. I am a cat lover and an avid home cook. I love menswear and fashion and try to dress as fashionably as possible. I adore all things history, am a big opera fan and love reading mythology. My idea of a perfect day out is a trip to a great museum or art gallery followed by a stunning meal. I am definitely a fantasy author and I love relationships between people and portraying them in all different varieties so romance is an incredibly exciting genre for me.
But enough about me, let’s talk about the book:
Like Fire Through Bone is my first full length novel, although I have written multiple short stories and novellas before this. This is also my first book working with Dreamspinner Press.
When I set out to write it I didn’t set out to write a full length novel. In fact I was aiming for 30,000 words.
I originally had something of a Byzantine/Roman Empire world in mind. I wanted to write a short fantasy adventure story so I came up with a demon who had been terrorizing the capital city stealing away children in the night. The demon was based on old Christian folklore from the Middle East. I came up with two main character Vasilios was a household eunuch who held a kind of secretarial position for a wealthy merchant and Markos who was a General in the Imperial Army.
My original plot outline was simple, they were going to exorcise the demon and then get together as a couple.
I knew Vasilios would have prophetic dreams about the demon and I assumed as soon as he went to Markos with the that information the story would pretty much wrap itself up.
Except it didn’t work like that.
As soon as I started writing Vasilios I realized he was a far more complex character than I had originally intended. I was going to have to deal with his trust issues, his relationship to his master, his relationship to his status as a eunuch, and most importantly the fact that he was a slave.
My outline expanded to deal with the question of Vasilios’ servitude and the real tough questions of portraying slavery in any story.
Then Aritê came into the story. She was originally supposed to be a character mentioned in passing but who never got any actual on screen time, as it were.
As soon as I wrote the scene were Thoefilos describes her though I knew they were going to have to go out into the desert to find her. With her Aritê brought the question of faith and the complicated role faith plays in the story.
Suddenly I found myself writing scenes with angels in them and realizing that in some ways the story was also about Vasilios’ faith journey and his relationship with faith, belief and surrender.
At this point the story was over 60k word, twice what I had originally set out to write and I knew they were going to have to out back out into the desert again but this time to a monastery in search of a half-snake monk …
What really surprised me the most about writing the initial draft of the story was how fast it came together. For all that it ended up being almost three times longer than the story I had set out to write, it only took a couple weeks to knock out the first draft.
I wasn’t really sure what to do with it after I had written the first draft though. Going back over and editing something of that length seemed too intimating to me and I had no real idea if anyone asides from me would like it.
The story dealt with some heavy issues like slavery and religion. It also starred a fully castrated main character. As an author I was pretty much unknown in the m/m romance genre and unsure about how much I could get away with.
So I let it sit in my edits folder and went on to write other shorter works. At some point though I mentioned its existence in passing to the amazing LJ LaBarthe who was, to my shock, excited about reading it. She offered to beta read it for me and do some historical facts checking which I desperately needed.
Her enthusiasm made me reconsider. I dug the manuscript out and read over it. I was shocked by how much I liked the story and set about editing it.
Originally my world building had been very Euro-centric. Reevaluating I went back and did some research widening my inspiration pool to include some amazing non-European civilizations and cultures. I also reevaluated my reasoning for making my cast white. “Did my characters need to be white?” I asked myself and discovered that they didn’t.
I also broke the story up into chapters.
When I was done going over it I sent it off to LJ who went over it with a fine tooth comb, doing an especially good job catching, correcting or adding historical details.
We had some great back and forth over different articles of clothing, some of which I made up and some of which are historical, different foods, and what the monitory system for my world was like.
When she was done I went over it again this time looking for consistency in overall tone and overarching themes. I added the second sex scene since I felt there were things that hadn’t been addressed in the first one.
Finally I submitted it to Dreamspinner Press and kept my fingers crossed that they would take a chance and accept it.
Which they did!
It might not be as related to my process of writing but I am genuinely curious, what do all of you love in fantasy? What attracts you to the sub-genre of fantasy romance? Or if you are not ordinarily into the sub-genre what makes you interested in Like Fire Through Bone?
September 2, 2013
Spark is story about Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus at two different times in their lives: their teens and their mid-thirties. Gladly, I no longer look like I did when I was sixteen, because it was the eighties and I permed my hair, wore more makeup than was good for me, and thought shoulder pads were still cool. At least Hugo and Kevin were teens in the nineties and missed out on mullets, but that did leave me with the opportunity to find two very different looks for both of my main characters.
I had a lot of different faces representing Hugo and Kevin at different stages, and I also had a lot of hairstyles as well. Kevin had longer hair in his youth; Hugo had shorter. As adults, they switched. I knew the overall look I was going for with both of my characters, even if I couldn’t always find the exact face to fit. I’d like to share a few with you here.
Hugo has blue eyes, pale skin, and dark hair that is almost blue-black. As an adult, he has very defined cheekbones, and the model, Miles McMillan really became Hugo to me. While Miles has hazel eyes, in my head I always made them blue.
I described Kevin as an all-American golden boy. And while his long hair in his youth made him look more rebellious than he ever was, his father hated that image. Kevin secretly loved that his father hated his longer hair, but as you can see by the photo on the right, he cut his blond waves off as he matured into adulthood.
I could look at photos of these men for a very long time and not tire of it, but I realize some people may not quite get the Hugo in my head being represented by these photos. The joy of reading a book is that we get to create our own dream man, so if the images that inspired me to write don’t work for you, make your own. I’d love to see those images, in fact.
I also made very good use of my Pinterest boards to keep track of other images I wrote about in Spark. I have locations, items used by characters, food, dishes, and even images that just give the feel of a scene or two.
Since I live within driving distance of most of the locations in Spark, I was able to take several day trips and photograph important places. I used some of those photos of where Hugo and Kevin lived as teens to help create a video while I read an excerpt. If you’d like, go here to see it. I know the production value has a lot to be desired.
Here’s another little taste of Hugo’s impression of Kevin that takes place right after the reading in the video. You can read Chapter 1 here.
Kevin’s hair was much shorter than it had been when they first met, now cropped along the sides and back with thick, long strands pushed back off his forehead. It was still the same golden-blond that had attracted Hugo so many years ago when they introduced themselves on Kevin’s first day working at Hormel. When Kevin had stepped into the room where a nearly sixteen-year-old Hugo was just starting to hand-wash the delicate blown-glass vessels used in research and taste testing, Hugo almost broke a large beaker which probably cost more than he made in a week.
Nineteen years prior, Kevin had silky blond hair just skimming past his shoulders, which he had pulled back to look more office appropriate, but wispy bangs escaped the binding, framing his eyes and dark-blond brows. His eyes were gray and piercing, ringed in blue so dark it looked like the color of the sky at dusk right before it turned black. He was beautiful, but not classically so. His lips were too full for a man’s face, too full for him to not be called pretty, at least. But his long nose, high cheekbones, and strong jaw gave his face masculinity, even if all those distinctive lines did were draw Hugo’s focus right back to those pink, parted lips.
Question time: In your youth did you have a regrettable hairstyle? I certainly did. Answer and I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of three free eBook copies of Spark.
September 2, 2013
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.
Hello readers. I’m Posy Roberts, and I’m here to celebrate the release of my book Spark, which is released today, September 2nd. It’s the first book in my North Star trilogy. Here’s the blurb to give you a taste of what the story is about.
I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d write a trilogy. They seemed too big and too involved. With the amount of notes I have scattered around my writing studio, stuck to my computer monitor, and tucked away in journals, I was right about them being very involved. When I first started talking about this story with my friend who actually inspired it, I quickly realized there was no way I could tell it in just one book unless I wanted it to be mammoth. The entire trilogy covers two time periods in Hugo Thorson and Kevin Magnus’s lives and several years. Spark deals with both time periods—high school and adulthood—and covers about two months of modern day. The rest of the trilogy is modern day.
I’m so excited I’m finally able to share this story. I wrote it in the summer of 2012, so it seems like I’ve known Hugo and Kevin for ages. Of course, they’re very new to you.
I quickly found out that writing over three books allowed me to leave unfinished threads drifting in the breeze that I could easily pick up again and start weaving into the next book. That was fun. There are issues I introduce in Spark that aren’t even discussed again, let alone resolved, until book three. In many ways, that was like a treasure hunt for me as I wrote. That’s also why there were (still are, actually) so many notes all over my house. But it was fun, and I’m glad I took up the challenge.
Today I’ll be celebrating the release of Spark here on the Dreamspinner Press blog. I’m going to writing about what inspired the cover art, what it was like to essentially write two love stories in one book, discuss some of the images that inspired me along the way, and also what it was like to write about some sensitive topics. There will be several excerpts from the book, and if technology is on my side, I will share some clips of a few readings from Spark as well. I’d love it if you could stick around and help me celebrate.
But first, since this is a story about having a second chance at love, I’d love to hear from you. Have you had or wish you’d had another chance with someone you once loved? I’d love to hear about it. As a bonus for sharing, I’ll enter you in a drawing for one of three free eBook copies of Spark.
Thanks so much.
March 25, 2013
As I researched old Hollywood, the name of William Haines surfaced in my reading over and over again. I had read much about him over many years, but without the focus of research, he was one name among many stars that captured my interest.
Charles William “Billy” Haines was born on January 2, 1900 in Staunton, Virginia. At 14, he left home for Hopewell, Virginia, where he and the young man he referred to as his boyfriend, found jobs at the local Dupont plant. They also opened a dance hall, which later burned down.
Several years after having been discovered in Hollywood in 1922, Billy went to New York, where he met Jimmie Shields, the man with whom he would build his life for the next 46 years. When Billy returned to Hollywood, he convinced Jimmie to join him.
Billy entered Hollywood at a time when gays were revered, they were even considered chic. Following the scandals involving Fatty Arbuckle, the unsolved deaths of William Desmond Taylor and Thomas Ince, the drug deaths of Wallace Reid and Olive Thomas, and many others that rocked Hollywood to its foundations, public outcry demanded that Hollywood clean up its act.
Billy had a long career, which came to abrupt end in 1933, when Louis B. Mayer, who never liked Billy, confronted the actor with the ultimatum that either he enter into a lavender marriage or else. Billy told Mayer that he was already married (a testament to the depth of his love for Jimmie,) and walked out, after which Mayer cancelled Billy’s contract and effectively ended his career.
However, Billy had an ace in the hole–he had a talent for interior design. With the opening of William Haines Designs, Billy created a career that sustained him throughout the rest of his life, which ended on December 26, 1973. William Haines Designs thrives to this day.
While the circumstances of Jack Abadie’s life are vastly different, I created Jack with Billy Haines in mind. It is with the same love of live that Jack pursues his career, and Wyatt.
Life was rich in the early days of Hollywood, but like all good things, the frivolity had to come to an end. The difference between Billy, and many others, was that Billy was prepared and he came out on tip of the game.
Find out how Jack Abadie handles his life in Hollywood. You can purchase Tarnished Gold at Dreamspinner Press.
Wisecracter, by William J. Mann is a wonderful rendition of the life of William Haines.
Leave a comment and you will be entered in the drawing for a Kindle, awarded on April 10th. Each comment throughout the tour is an entry.
The blog tour schedule can be found on my website.
Come on back here from 6pm to 9pm central time, for another excerpt.
January 4, 2013
I want to thank everyone who popped by today. Before I sign-off, I thought I’d leave you with one last excerpt. This is from Chapter 4. Emory and Kyle are each working through their feelings about their one-night stand. Ben is Emory’s best friend and co-worker at the music store.
Excerpt #2 (PG)
“Seriously, dude, this pouting, petulant thing you have going on is really wiggin’ me out.”
Startled, Emory almost dropped the stack of CDs he was holding as he organized the New Release rack. He turned and scowled at Ben.
“I am not pouting and petulant!”
“Riiiight.” Ben crossed his arms over his chest, leaned further back in his chair, and kicked his feet up on the counter. “What the hell did you get up to over the weekend?”
“What do you mean?” Emory shoved a few more CDs back into their correct rack a little harder than necessary before he turned to face his friend.
“I mean something must have gone down this weekend. First you don’t return my calls all day Saturday. Then when you finally do call, it’s to cancel coming over to hang out on Sunday. And today”—Ben surveyed Emory, shaking his head—“you’re just all… weird.”
“I am not and screw you.”
Ben just chuckled, taking no offense whatsoever. “You told me you were going to hit up Spin Friday night. What happened? Did someone actually have the audacity to turn you down or something? Is that why your panties are in a bunch?”
“Okay.” Emory whipped around, and at the last second refrained from winging the CD he held in his hand at Ben’s head. “My panties are in no way bunched, fuck you very much.”
“Ah, there we go.” Ben grinned, pushed his feet off the counter, and launched himself into a standing position. “There’s the sarcastic, razor-sharp wit sprinkled with just the right amount of profanity that I know and love!”
As much as Emory wanted to resist, he couldn’t help smiling.
“And Benji even gets a smile.” Ben’s eyebrows wiggled comically as he swaggered across the store isle. “Seriously, bro, I was getting concerned with all the moping into the CDs.” He slung an arm around Emory’s shoulders, and his face became more serious. “You sure you’re okay?”
Emory took a deep breath and sighed. All kidding aside, Ben was his best friend and really the only person he trusted. “Yeah… no… I don’t know.”
“I take it Friday night didn’t exactly go to plan?” Ben stepped back, removing the handful of CDs Emory still clutched “Come and take a load off. These CDs will still be here in need of being put away after we’ve talked.”
Alternative Scene was currently devoid of customers. Clearly Monday morning was not when people decided they needed to pick up a few new CDs. Emory and Ben made their way back behind the cash register, plopped down in the two chairs that were always there, and propped their feet up against the counter. Ben gave Emory a pointed look, and Emory knew that was his cue to start talking.
“So, I was at Spin on Friday—”
“Planning on picking up your usual one-night stand?”
Emory smirked but gave an affirmative nod. Ben might be straight with a girlfriend, but he was open-minded, nonjudgmental, and understood how Emory operated.
Emory blew out a gust of air. The thing was, nothing had been usual about his encounter with Kyle. He had spent all weekend in a funk trying to wrap his mind around it. He couldn’t understand why the psychologist had gotten under his skin. The sex had been mind-blowing. That wasn’t the problem. It was everything else. Not only had he stayed the night at Kyle’s place, he had actually stayed for breakfast as well. He tried to rationalize it to himself later, that it just would have been too rude to run out before eating, but he knew that was bull. It was a little awkward at first, and Emory hadn’t had a clue how to act, having never had a conversation with anyone post fucking before, but in the end, he had enjoyed the meal. It had been… nice. What had him most on edge, though, was when Kyle asked to see him again. He must be going insane, because for one brief, crazy, nanosecond, he almost thought he had wanted to say yes. Emory still didn’t know what had come over him when he kissed Kyle good-bye.
Ben looked at him expectantly, and after steeling himself, Emory opened up his mouth and summarized his Friday night for his friend. After he had finished telling his story, leaving out most of the naked, gory details, Emory waited for Ben to say something.
“So, you’re telling me that you went home with a gorgeous, smart guy who lives in an amazing loft apartment, who was great in bed, and didn’t just want to fuck you—he was more considerate and wanted to see you again—and breakfast was included?”
Emory opened his mouth, then snapped it shut. He didn’t remember the words coming out of his mouth quite like that.
“I know you have your ‘no muss, no fuss’ credo or whatever about getting involved with people.” Ben waved his hand in a dismissive gesture. “But tell me again why seeing Dr. Psychologist-Dreamboat-Great-In-Bed-Brunch-Chef-Extraordinaire again would be a bad thing?”
Kyle spent the weekend unpacking the rest of the boxes that littered his apartment and getting everything arranged just so with almost psychotic determination. Not doing so gave him too much time to think, and for the past thirty-six hours all he’d been able to think about was Emory. Emory’s smile and eyes. Emory’s sharp tongue and humor. Emory naked and writhing on his bed. Emory who had sex but not relationships. Hell, he didn’t even know Emory’s last name.
Kyle broke down the last box with more force than was necessary. Besides the large pile of cardboard he would need to take out for recycling, thanks to his manic cleaning and desire to stay occupied, his apartment was now in live-in condition.
He was exhausted and glad it was already early evening. He would make something simple for dinner and then get a good night’s sleep. He didn’t start work for another week, but he had promised Richard he would meet him tomorrow at the GLBT Center to get a tour of the place and discuss how he would fit into the program. The Center, completed about five years ago, was Richard’s labor of love. He had left his high-powered career in finance, where he had managed large fund-raising campaigns and capital endowments, and used his knowledge to raise money to build a multifunctional GLBT Center for the Chicago area. The inviting, modern architecture and enormous plate-glass windows housed not only a community center with support groups, activities, and programs, but also a shelter for gay and lesbian youth, a free health clinic, and educational and career services. It was truly a one-stop shop, and Kyle was the newly appointed resident psychologist.
After shoveling some spaghetti into his mouth and plopping down in front of the television, Kyle found his eyelids drooping by nine. He grimaced as he stood up, his back protesting over lifting one heavy box too many and spending much of the day hunched over, and made his way to the bedroom. He paused when he got within several feet of the bed. He knew he should change the sheets. He should have changed them Saturday. Steeling his jaw, Kyle stripped off his clothes, leaving them strewn on the floor, and climbed between the sheets nude. He rationalized he was too tired to change them now, and his exhausted brain refused to analyze how crazy it made him that he loved still being able to smell Emory on the pillow next to his.
It’s been great hanging-out with all of you today! Don’t forget to leave a comment if you’d like to be in the running to win a copy of Analyzing Emory and stop by my blog, Twitter or Facebook and say hello!
January 4, 2013
So, Emory, one of my beloved MCs, works at a music store called Alternative Scene. Emory and Kyle’s similar taste in music is one of ways they bond early on in the book.
I’m a huge music fan. And, in this day and age, when most music consumption is through iTunes or Amazon, I long for the days when I could wander into small, quaint record stores and browse for hours. Independent record stores are very few and far between nowadays, and when this story was in the beginning stages, and Emory was becoming a person in my brain (Does that sound weird? I think it does…), it popped into my head that he absolutely had to work at a run down, one-of-a-kind, diamond in the rough, music store that specializes in Indie/Alternative rock.
Since Indie/Alternative happens to be my favorite genre of music (funny how that works…lol), and Emory is quite the expert, he agreed he help me out today and put together a little release-day playlist of some of his favorite bands. I hope you enjoy!
1. Placebo, Bright Lights
2. IAMX, Spit It Out
3. Blood Red Shoes, Don’t Ask
4. Ladytron, Destroy Everything You Touch
5. School of Seven Bells, iamundernodisguise
6. M83, Midnight City
7. The Duke Spirit, Send A Little Love Token
8. Birthday Massacre, Kill the Lights
9. Death Cab For Cutie, Soul Meets Body
10. Placebo, The Bitter End
So, what’s your favorite music? Do you like buying your music in stores or online? Physical CDs or mp3 format? Do tell!
Remember, comment and you’re automatically entered to win an ebook copy of Analyzing Emory. Just be sure to leave your email so I know how to reach you.
January 4, 2013
I’m Lily Grace and I’m thrilled to be holding a release party today for my first novel and first release with Dreamspinner Press, Analyzing Emory. I’ll be sharing some excerpts and a few other goodies throughout the day. Anyone who comments on any of my posts today will be entered to win an ebook copy of Analyzing Emory. Please include your email address in your comment so I know how to get in touch with you.
I’m working at the good ‘ol day job today (I mean, seriously, I don’t get a special book release vacation day?!), and though I have several posts all cued up and ready to go, it’ll probably be later in the day before I have the opportunity to reply to comments. So, thanks in advance for your patience!
I’m beyond excited to be part of the Dreamspinner family and to finally be able to share my book with you all today. I’d like to take a moment to thank L.C. Chase for creating such amazing cover art. It encapsulates all the feelings and elements I wanted in my book cover. I think it’s absolutely beautiful, so thank you so much L.C.!
First off, here’s what Analyzing Emory is about:
When a family friend offers him the job of resident psychologist at Chicago’s GLBT Center, Kyle Michelson jumps at the chance to reinvigorate his career, move on from his recent breakup, and get his life back on track. Kyle hopes returning to the familiar territory of his hometown will do him good, but meeting Emory Brenner at a club changes everything.
Anything but familiar, Emory leaves Kyle breathless from the start. There’s just one problem: Kyle wants more than a one-night stand, Emory doesn’t do relationships, and neither man can resist the other. Luckily for Emory, he never has to see Kyle again. Or so Emory thinks until he runs into him while volunteering at the GLBT Center.
Kyle makes Emory want things he never thought he could have and chips away at secrets Emory has kept locked away for years. On the surface, Emory’s recovered from his past: he has a job at a record store and a roof over his head. But putting his trust in another person, having a relationship, means opening himself to more pain—and that is a risk he can’t take.
Kyle cracked another egg into the mixing bowl and began to whisk vigorously. What the hell did he think he was doing? He shook his head and blew out a gust of air. He was making a delicious breakfast for his one-night stand, that’s what he was doing. It had been hard getting out of bed and leaving Emory still sleeping. Kyle had woken up with Emory still cradled in his arms and realized how much he missed waking up with someone. It also didn’t escape his notice how good if felt with Emory—specifically—in his arms. God, he looked like some sort of beautiful, dark angel while asleep.
Kyle rolled his eyes and scoffed at his own sappy notions. He considered himself a relatively romantic guy, but that was a pretty gooey thought even for him—especially since that thought was directed at someone he just met. Kyle was used to relationships, not random sex. Maybe that was why he had no idea how to do this. He still wasn’t quite sure what came over him last night when he decided to take Emory home. He hadn’t really expected anything when he walked through the doors of Spin, but as soon as he saw Emory he had felt an incredible magnetic pull. He couldn’t have said no. Not to him. Sure, Emory was perhaps the most beautiful man to ever grace Kyle’s sheets, but there was something else. Talk had been relatively limited, but something about Emory intrigued him. Those soulful eyes—he found himself aching to learn more about what was behind them.
As he cut up some veggies, Kyle couldn’t deny he wanted to get to know Emory better. But how did one go from a one-night stand to dating? Maybe he was even crazy for thinking it. He shrugged. Breakfast was as good a place to start as any.
Feelings aside, the sex had been—amazing just didn’t quite seem to cover it. It would be easy to become addicted to Emory’s perfect, lean body and pert ass. There were a few things about the evening that gave Kyle pause, though. Maybe it was all in his head, but Emory had seemed to shy away when things got too tender or intimate. When it felt like they were teetering on making love, Emory had looked almost panicked, quickly getting on his hands and knees and hurriedly prepping himself, effectively shifting things back to simple fucking. Maybe Kyle was reading too much into it. He wasn’t exactly an expert on casual sex. He refocused on dicing the tomatoes.
Kyle somehow managed not to slice his own finger off when Emory’s voice reached his ears. He stood a few steps inside the kitchen. He shuffled his feet and shoved his hands further into the pockets of his now-rumpled skintight jeans from the previous night. His face still had that doughy, flushed, post-sleep glow, and his black hair, now mostly devoid of product, curled ever so slightly below his ears and stood up in one or two odd places around the back of his head. It was all Kyle could do not to drag him back to the bedroom and do further ungodly things to him.
“Good morning. How’d you sleep?” Kyle managed to keep his suddenly raging libido in check and play the part of the good host.
Emory’s eyes widened. “Fine. Your bed’s really comfy.” He gave a small smile and his cheeks seemed to turn even rosier.
Kyle chuckled at that. “Yeah. I know firm mattresses are supposed to be better for your back. But I’ve always liked to sink right in and be surrounded by downy softness.” He smirked. “I can always go to a chiropractor if I have to, but I won’t give up my bed.”
Emory gave a brief smile, and then his eyes flitted toward the door. “Um, well, I better get going. It, um, it was nice to meet you, Kyle.” He ran a hand through his hair and tucked it behind his ear as he began moving hastily in the direction of the front door.
Kyle was frozen for a minute as he processed what was happening. The knife still in his hand clattered against the cutting board, and Kyle followed a swiftly retreating Emory.
“Wait a minute.” Kyle caught up to Emory and gently grabbed his arm before he could reach for the door handle. “Stay for breakfast.”
Emory’s mouth opened and closed, and for a moment he resembled a guppy. “I can’t. But thanks.”
“Do you really have somewhere you have to be?” Kyle gently pushed.
“Well, um, no, I just….” Emory got that panicked look on his face again, and Kyle let go of his arm.
“Don’t worry about it. If you’d rather not, that’s fine. I just¼ I thought it would be nice.” Kyle tried to give him a sincere smile without looking too disappointed.
“It’s not that I don’t want to.” Emory looked surprised at his own words. “I just, I don’t want you to go to any extra trouble. I mean, I certainly didn’t expect….” He trailed off, clearly not knowing how to proceed.
Kyle took a deep breath. He didn’t know how to do one-night stands, and it seemed Emory was a master of them but had no idea what to do the morning after. What a pair they made.
“It’s no trouble. I promise. We both have to eat, don’t we?” One side of his mouth quirked up. “Besides, I’d like you to stay. Really.”
Emory considered this, his lips still parted, his tongue darting out to moisten them. Then he slowly nodded.
“Great!” Kyle beamed and took the liberty of placing his hand on the center of Emory’s back, leading him back to the kitchen.
There were bar stools on the far side of the large granite-topped island that held the range top, and Kyle deposited Emory next to one of them. He had already set the table, but it would be easier for them to talk while he finished up breakfast with Emory sitting closer.
“Are eggs okay?” Kyle peered over his shoulder as he shoved the remaining veggies back in the crisper drawer in the refrigerator. “If not, I can make pancakes instead. I also have bagels, cereal, toast¼.”
Emory’s expression was one of bemusement and bewilderment as he perched himself on the nearest stool. “Eggs are just fine.”
“What do you want in your omelet, then? I have tomato, onion, green pepper, and mushrooms. There’s ham and bacon. And either feta or cheddar cheese.” Kyle looked at the little chopped piles, making sure he hadn’t missed any of the choices before looking up again at Emory.
He found his morning companion laughing softly. “You’ve got to be kidding.”
“What?” Kyle looked down at the chopped food and back up at Emory.
“I thought you were a psychologist. Do you also moonlight as a brunch chef on occasion?”
Kyle blushed and ducked his head. Maybe he had gone a little overboard. But he loved to cook, and he hadn’t had anyone to cook for in a while.
“I just like to cook. And”—he shrugged—“I’m a big fan of brunch.”
He grinned at the man sitting at his kitchen counter. It was nice to see Emory’s impish smile and wit return. The shock of having “breakfast included” must be wearing off.
“So, what’ll it be?” Kyle wiggled his eyebrows.
“Um,” Emory chuckled. “Tomatoes, mushrooms, feta cheese, and just a little bacon on the side, please.”
“You got it.” Kyle poured some of the beaten egg mixture into the already-buttered skillet. “There’s coffee made and mugs are in the cabinet right above the pot, so help yourself.”
“Cool.” Emory gave him an appreciative smile and slid off his stool in a quest for caffeine.
A few moments later Kyle plated two perfectly formed omelets, added a side of bacon to Emory’s, and carried them over to the table. He placed the coffee pot on a trivet between the two place settings and scanned the table for anything he had missed.
“Wow. This looks so good.” Emory sat down at the table and immediately picked up a piece of bacon with his fingers and took a bite.
Kyle found he was terribly pleased Emory was so appreciative of his efforts in the kitchen. He smiled and sat down himself.
“Do you want juice? I have orange or cranberry.”
Emory swallowed his mouthful of bacon, and Kyle was briefly mesmerized by his bobbing Adam’s apple. “No, thanks. I’m good with just coffee.”
“Okay.” Confident that Emory had everything he needed, Kyle took off his hostess hat and dug into his omelet.
Kyle was amazed how hungry he was this morning. He guessed his impromptu workout the previous evening accounted for it. Images from the previous night quickly flooded his brain, and he swiftly lifted his coffee mug and took a large sip to hide the sudden arousal he worried was written all over his face. He surreptitiously watched Emory eat out of the corner of his eye. Kyle would kill to know what was going through the beautiful man’s head this morning.