March 14, 2014
This is the cover that Paul Richmond and the fabulous art department at Dreamspinner came up with for Wrapped Up in Chains. It’s kind of funny because most people reading the blurb after seeing the cover will probably assume that the man on the cover is supposed to represent Chase, the sub in the story. In reality though, it’s really more representative of Devon, the Dom.
While Chase might have literally been kept in chains by his abuser, Devon is trapped in a different way. He loves the lifestyle he’s chosen to live but without someone to share it with, he’s lonely and feeling constrained. When he finally finds Chase and makes a real connection with him, the rules he’s chosen to live by make it hard for him to take what he wants and needs from the sub who’s so desperate to give it to him.
I think so many of us are like that. We get trapped by our way of thinking and even when the opportunity for change presents itself to us we find it hard to accept because we’re afraid. I think we all make our own chains and its up to us to find our way out of them.
When I saw this cover the first time, I knew it was the one I wanted. It jumped out at me and seemed to really embody what I saw in Chase and Devon. Of course, I still had to ask all my friends their opinion because I’m really terrible at making a decision of any kind without some kind of input and as my friends were the ones who helped me through writing it, it seemed only fair they help chose the cover!
You can get this at Dreamspinner here and in paperback here. And remember, only the first 20 copies of the paperback are autographed by yours truly. Btw, signing my first autographs was mind blowing!!!
February 19, 2014
Well that’s all folks!
Thank you so much for reading my posts. I am a new author and new to the art of blogging, and I have had a lot of fun writing these posts. I hope I will be back with another release party soon. Please follow my blog on the link below if you want to keep in touch with what I am up to.
The lovely Kim Fielding is generously having me guest blog on Sunday/Monday depending on time zone. http://kfieldingwrites.blogspot.co.uk/ Look out for more details on my blog link below – there might just be another giveaway!
I gave each of the lovely people who took part in the giveaway a number and in the interests of fair play I rolled a dice and the winner is… Andrea M! Congratulations! I will need your email address that is attached to the Dreamspinner Press account please and one will soon be winging its way over to you. It is getting on for midnight in the UK so I will bid you all goodnight, and hope to chat to you again.
For those of you unlucky this time, Broken is available at a discounted price today (19th) so why not take advantage and pop over to buy a copy! I hope you enjoy reading it!
February 19, 2014
I m enjoying blogging about Broken and thought I would give you a little tour behind the scenes of my writing.
The most important tool for my writing is my trusty Dell laptop. It’s a purpley colour and those of you who know me will not be surprised by that! LOL!. When I first began writing in earnest, I posted fan fiction stories online and was fortunate enough to win numerous awards. My beloved, and sadly late, auntie bought me the laptop as a present for winning the awards. I have done all my writing since then on it. The space bar actually has a depression where I use my left thumb to hit it! LOL!
I no longer write fan fiction, but have several stories that I am submitting to publishers and I am so grateful to Dreamspinner Press for accepting Out of Left Field and Broken for publication. I have several works-in-progress that will be heading Dreamspinner Press’s way in the future.
I can’t go any further without giving a very well deserved mention to the other consistent presence when I write – my little terrier. I even took my pen-name surname from him! Norman has been my constant companion for almost eleven years now and tonight it seems very strange not to have him by my side. He is currently in the veterinary hospital following surgery on his biliary system. Thankfully, he is doing well and should be back home with my by the weekend. He is crazy when out on a walk, but in the house, when I am writing he is either curled up beside me on the sofa, or at my feet, quiet as a mouse and as cuddly as a teddy bear.
Music is also very important to me and the soundtrack varies according to the mood of the story I am writing. The Script played a very big role in one yet to be published story, and Foo Fighters and Green Day often feature heavily. Broken was written with Frank Turner’s Tapedeck Heart playing in the background (check him out on youtube if you don’t know him – his lyrics are great). I love seeing bands/artists live and in 2010 travelled over to Irvine, California to see Green Day play. Was an amazing experience and I long to return to Laguna Beach/Hills area. My next ambition is to see Foo Fighters in the USA too!
If I am not writing, walking Norman, or listening to music I will probably be found with my horses, Mabel and her 2013 foal Florence. Florence is super-special. Not only was she born on my birthday, but she is like a younger version of my dream horse, Mabel. I love them both to bits and Florence is already a Champion in the show ring. Her registered name is Dreamspinner!
Back to the writing. People often ask how I begin to write, do I map out each chapter all the way through etc etc. Well I have to say that when an idea pops into my head – often at very strange times – I usually have the beginning and end immediately and then almost ‘join the dots’ between the two.
In Broken I got the idea for Oliver’s injury from one I suffered when kicked on the knee by a horse when I was working on a stud farm which bred racehorses. Though nowhere near as bad as poor Oliver’s injury it did change me a little in that there are some things which I can no longer do or are difficult or painful to do. And so I began with him peeking out the window (see the excerpt) and knew that he had to be forced to face his fears. I won’t say more as I don’t want to end up posting spoilers.
Have you had to face your fears in any way? Maybe conquered a fear of flying to get to an important event, or something as silly as being brave enough to get the spider out of the bath tub? Let me know and in my final post I will choose the winner of the giveaway!
February 19, 2014
Hello again, Raine Norman here. This time I want to give a little mention to the first story that Dreamspinner Press published for me, Out of Left Field. This short story was published as part of last year’s Daily Dose Anthology – Make a Play.
Concierge Jake Wentworth rues the day he got involved with Mikey, his coworker and cheating ex-lover. Already in a foul mood, a rude guest further puts him off his game. Jake realizes there is more to Billy Smith than his first impression when they accidentally meet while jogging the next morning. When they hit it off over coffee and sightseeing, Jake worries his battered heart will be in for more pain, but Billy is determined to make something more of their relationship.
If you want to read more about how Jake and Billy get on, click on the link below. It is discounted today!
Jake and Billy’s attraction was love at first (or maybe second) sight, but in Broken, although Joel was attracted to Oliver he did have a long history of avoiding commitment, and it took a bit of a campaign from Oliver to finally get Joel to move in and settle down.
When reading I enjoy both instalove stories and ones where the characters have to work a little harder to be together. Though I must say that I love to write angsty scenes in my stories.
What do you prefer to read? Do you believe in love at first sight or can it only ever be lust at first sight?
February 19, 2014
In the early part of the novella, Oliver is upset when Joel says they should take a break. He vents his despair at the cost of some damage.
Have you ever broken something in a fit of temper, frustration or despair? Give your reply in comments and I will randomly select one lucky person to receive a free copy of Broken.
I will give you an instance when I broke something. I used to have a silly ornament called Egg Whip which was in the shape of an egg with a scrawny chicken’s head sticking out of it which was dressed to represent a jockey. I bought it as a joke as my now ex-husband had been a professional racehorse jockey in the past. Well, I was dusting one day and I noticed the peak of the cap was broken. My ex was really clumsy and I was cross he’d broken it without telling me that he had. When I asked him about it, he denied that he had done the deed. Pretty weak defense really as there was only the two of us in the house! Long story short, I got so cross at his denial that I snapped the head of the ornament and yelled that it was really broken now! LOL!
So, were you as daft as me by making a slightly damaged ornament only fit for the dustbin? Or have you got even funnier stories to tell? Tell your tales of destruction below for a chance to win a free copy of Broken! The winner will be chosen later tonight.
Edited to add – this giveaway is now closed but check out my blog as there may well be another chance to win when I guest blog at the weekend – full details will be put up there on Saturday!
February 19, 2014
Hello, it’s Raine again. Here is a little taster of the opening few paragraphs of Broken. I’ll be doing the giveaway in the next post!
OLIVER HATED himself for peeking through the window at Joel, but not enough to keep from doing it. He winced when he saw Joel flash his patented gazillion-watt smile at the pool guy. It was unreasonable for Oliver to expect those beautiful smiles to be only for him. Or was it? Surely a merely pleasant smile would do when dealing with the help?
Closing his eyes, he thought of all the advice—mostly unwanted—that he’d received when he’d announced Joel was going to move in with him.
“He’s a gold digger,” had been yelled at him by all and sundry, along with other less polite things.
So what if Joel’s attitude to life was more focused on having a good time than toiling to earn big bucks like Oliver did? It didn’t matter at all, not in Oliver’s eyes anyway. He’d fallen in love—hook, line, and sinker—when he’d first laid eyes on Joel with his scruffy blond hair and surfer’s fit body, but Joel had taken more convincing than Oliver’s so-called friends could have predicted. A free spirit, settling down hadn’t sat easy with Joel, and it had taken a serious campaign from Oliver to convince him. Now, just over four years on, the attraction Oliver felt for Joel was as strong as ever, and he couldn’t help but worry when Joel was so free with those glorious smiles.
He limped away from the window as soon as he noticed Joel turn back toward the house. Easing himself down on the sofa, Oliver stretched out his left leg and suppressed a moan. Almost ten months since the accident, and his leg was healed up as much as it ever would be. His knee would never be the same. Whatever had possessed him to think he could challenge Joel off-piste on their last ski trip?
Joel was a demon on a pair of skis, but, God, Oliver had loved watching the way his supple body swayed from side to side as he chopped up plumes of powder snow. He’d happily floundered in Joel’s wake, until the last day of their vacation. A couple of glasses of mulled wine to warm him up had been enough to convince Oliver that he was invincible. With gay abandon—no pun intended—he’d thrown himself down the slope determined, for once, to beat Joel to the après-ski hospitality at the hotel. He’d set off like lightning, glancing over his shoulder and laughing as Joel pulled down his goggles and gave chase. All too soon Joel drew alongside, his blond hair fluttering below his woolen hat.
“Hey, you’re not doing so bad for a suit!” Joel had called out with a grin, as he gave an almighty push with his ski poles and sped off leaving Oliver covered with a cloud of fine snow.
Oliver had tried to give pursuit, but as he banked for a sharp turn, he lost control and somersaulted head over heels like a cartoon character before coming to a halt in a crumpled heap. The pain of his shattered leg had been so great he hadn’t even been able to find the breath to scream in agony or yell for help.
Fortunately, Joel had glanced back, seen the tumble, and somehow managed to get back up to where Oliver lay. Joel’s face confirmed to Oliver what he’d already known; the injury was bad. To cut a long story short, a helicopter ride, Oliver thankfully stoned out of his mind with painkillers by then, was followed with four months in the hospital and then another three in a rehab center having intensive physiotherapy. Now here he was, still limping badly due to his knee, and his days of running, let alone skiing, well and truly over.
Oliver forced a bright smile on his face when Joel burst into the room.
“Pool’s all cleaned up. Fancy a swim, Ollie?”
“I… uh… I don’t thi—”
“No excuses! The docs said you need to keep exercising to get that leg good and strong.”
“I know what they said!” Oliver squeezed his eyes shut and tried to moderate his tone, but every time Joel mentioned his injury, a stab of fear ripped through him. How long would Joel stay around now that their life would be dramatically more sedate?
“Hey, don’t be angry.” Joel knelt in front of Oliver and placed a hand on both his knees; Joel’s thumb unconsciously rubbed over the scars on Oliver’s left leg through the sweatpants.
Oliver opened his eyes when a soft kiss was placed on his damaged knee. “I’m not angry, it’s just….” He met Joel’s deep-blue eyes and for roughly the millionth time since the accident, he wondered what would keep this gorgeous blond with him now.
To read more click on the link below, or buy copy now at a discounted price. Coming soon is the giveaway post so you might get lucky and win a copy. I will also be talking about my other work and my faithful writing companion.
February 19, 2014
One of the most exciting things about getting a story published in its own right, rather than as part of an anthology, is that the story got its own book cover. I filled out a questionnaire about my likes and dislikes of book covers to help the team at Dreamspinner Press decide who to get to do the artwork. I really do have to say that many of the examples I liked were by Brooke Albrecht, and so I was delighted to be informed that this talented artist would be doing the cover.
You’ve seen a little hint of the cover art on the headers on these posts, but I thought it was about time that I shared the whole thing. It is so beautiful I am really hoping that it gets nominated for awards as it so deserves to be.
The model is simply beautiful and the background really sets the scene. I really couldn’t believe my luck in getting such beautiful artwork and can’t thank Brooke enough!
I know we shouldn’t ‘judge a book by its cover’ but have any of you ever bought a book based purely on its cover, and if so did it live up to expectations? Please take the time to let me know in comments and stay tuned as a giveaway is coming up later and also an excerpt!
February 19, 2014
Hi, Raine Norman here again. My novella, Broken, is about relationship problems brought about by a physical injury to one of couple. This leads to Oliver’s self-esteem taking a plunge in the face of his ‘surfer-dude’ partner, Joel’s, physical fitness and outgoing personality.
These traits in Joel are what attracted Oliver to him in the first instance, but now he misreads all the signs and Joel, too, fails to realize how his normal behavior is now causing Oliver to have doubts about his commitment to their relationship until its almost too late.
I think the old adage ‘you need to love yourself before someone else can love you’ has a little truth in it. Negativity can cause many problems. Have any of you had a loss of confidence in yourself lead to relationship troubles? I’d love to hear your stories in comments.
I was employed riding racehorses out at exercise when I was in myearly twenties. Falling off is an occupational hazard in that line of work – put simply, if you ride enough horses you will end up on the ground at some point! Obviously a bad fall can shake your confidence, but weirdly for me, the horse that led me to losing my nerve (losing my bottle in horse-racing jargon) only gave me a couple of easy falls where I landed on my feet beside him.
The trouble was the damn thing had got it down to an art form and with a wriggle and a toss of his head could give you an unscheduled dismount at any time and in any pace! (I only ever fell off in walk thankfully). But riding him everyday made me more and more nervous and eventually I changed occupations! My partner, however, still worked within the industry and I hated that he still had all the confidence in the world when sat on a flighty racehorse or on our own horses.
This brought friction to our relationship and, strangely, when I regained my confidence on our own horses, my partner couldn’t handle the fact that I was competing in the show ring again and not him! The hobby we both shared and loved became my hobby alone, and over time this meant we spent less free time together and I am sure played a part in our separation.
It seems silly when I write it down, but when something that brings a couple together, be it a job, or hobby, like skiing in Oliver and Joel’s case , or horse riding in mine, is no longer possible or fun to share then it does put strain on a relationship.
What do you think?
Check out Broken at the Dreamspinner Press website and when I come back I will have a copy to giveaway to one lucky reader! Excerpts and more chat to follow! :)
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 18, 2013
I’m Brita Addams and today it is my pleasure to welcome you to my Tarnished Souls Blog Tour. This is release day for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent, and throughout the day, I’ll post articles on the different aspects of creating my novella. Please grab a cup of coffee, sit back, and enjoy.
This novella is the second book in the Tarnished series. A character in it appeared in the first book, Tarnished Gold, though his part was small. The next book in the series, the second Tarnished Souls, will be the story of McGregor and Grayson Adler, who appear in the novella released today. That book will also wrap up Frankie and Gent’s story.
But that is getting ahead of ourselves.
Please enjoy these articles. They, I hope, will give you a behind the computer look at the creation of Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent.
This post talks about writing Sympathetic Gangsters. The second in this series is Gangster Slang, Damon Suede Style, posted at noon, and the third is about the interesting mindset of Mobster Loyalty. I’ll post that one at 6 pm.
One random commenter will win an ebook copy of Tarnished Gold or For Men Like Us. Another commenter will win a swag pack, with signed bookmarks, and a couple other goodies. Winners chosen on November 27.
Frankie and Gent, the main characters in my new novella, Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent, started their lives in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. From the start, they were sure of who they were, if not what life had in store for them. As they came into adolescence, Frankie started a gang, Gent joined, and together, they impressed the boss of the New York crime syndicate. Sal Sebastiani groomed both young men, to fulfill what they each came to believe was their destiny.
As with many men in the post-Depression era, employment opportunities were limited. Young boys run numbers—carry the betting slips for an illegal lottery back to the headquarters. From there they graduate to muscle positions, become hit men like Gent, or in Frankie’s case, groomed to take a high position in the New York syndicate.
I grew up watching old movies, and my favorites were those that had gangsters at their heart. I loved them. I’ve read biographies of Bugsy Siegel, Mickey Cohen, and Al Capone, and have watched countless movies about these men, and others, in more recent years. My love for the gangster genre hasn’t abated.
As a writer, we want our readers to like our character. If they don’t, they won’t buy our stories. Damon and I talked a lot about sympathetic vs. reality. Gangsters are not nice people. They harm people, they live with a set of rules foreign to our own. Hell, they make their own rules.
In Tarnished Souls, I don’t varnish who Frankie and Gent are. They aren’t romantic and full of what Damon Suede calls schmoopiness. When they have sex, it is more “the gun to the head” type of sex, born out of a physical need and proximity.
When Damon pointed out that TS wasn’t a romance, I struggled with that. I’d never written anything outside the romance genre. However, the reality stared me in the face. Though Frankie and Gent have a past, that ended five years before TS starts, Tarnished Souls is a story of survival, of scratching an itch, or loyalty. When Gent appears in Frankie’s life, they are suspicious of each other. Even with their prior feelings, Frankie did, in essence, desert Gent.
How do you write a sympathetic gangster? The simple answer, very carefully. I deconstructed the mobster image, and uncovered the men beneath the Fedoras and the pinstriped suits. Inside each of us is that child who needs what we all need—a touch, a kind word, a reminder of our humanity.
With that in mind, I allowed Frankie and Gent to be who they were, and only at times does the mask slip ever so slightly, and only with each other. After all, being a true gangster is all about keeping up appearances.
With Damon’s help, Frankie and Gent became the gangsters I wanted them to be. They are tough, unapologetic, rough with each other and everyone around them. They are misogynistic, charming when they need to be, and ruthless when the situation calls for it.
The reader will have to take them as they are. I hope everyone will understand these guys are antiheroes, and as such, don’t always meet everyone’s criteria as heroes, but they are men, very much like every other hero.
Sometimes they aren’t nice, but in their world, nice gets you killed.
Come back for the next post – Gangster Slang – Damon Suede style. I’ll post it at noon.
Meanwhile, check out my blog, where I’ve posted a long excerpt from Tarnished Souls.
Here’s the blurb for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent:
Hollywood’s Golden Age is not all glitz and glamour. Mob boss Frankie Monetti controls the unions and the studios, which makes him and the syndicate very rich. But after five years, Frankie runs afoul of the law and those who put him in power.
Primo hit man, and Frankie’s lifelong friend, Arvin “Gent” Vitali, goes west with orders to clean up the mess and then bring Frankie back to New York to answer for his double cross. But as the noose closes tighter around Frankie’s neck, Gent questions where his loyalty truly lies. Is business just business or is freedom worth the risk?
Schedule for Tarnished Souls: Frankie and Gent Blog Tour
November 14 –The Rainbow Studio
November 18 – Dreamspinner Press Blog
November 18 –Brita Addams
November 19 –Sid Love
November 20 –Joyfully Jay
November 21 –You Gotta Read
November 25 –Jacob Flores
November 26 –The Novel Approach
December 3 - J.P. Barnaby
December 4 - Lynley Wayne
December 5 –Michael Ruptured
About Brita Addams:
Born in a small town in Upstate New York, Brita Addams has made her home in the sultry south for many years. In the Frog Capital of the World, Brita shares her home with her real-life hero—her husband, and a fat cat named Stormee. All their children are grown.
Given her love of history, Brita writes both het and gay historical romance. Many of her historicals, as well as few contemporaries, have appeared on category bestseller lists at various online retailers.
Tarnished Gold, the first in her Tarnished series for Dreamspinner, received honorable mention, and is a finalist in the 2013 Rainbow Awards, historical romance category.
Brita and her husband love to travel. They’ve taken no less than twenty-five cruises and countless long car trips, as well as completed a Civil War battlefield tour, and visits to many sites involved in the American Revolutionary War. Their 2013 anniversary tour of England, Scotland, and Wales gave Brita fodder for many new tales.
On a trip to Hollywood, California, Brita stood in the footprints of some of her favorite actors—Clark Gable, Henry Fonda, Tyrone Power, and many others, at Grauman’s Chinese Theater, and has even kissed Mickey Rooney.
A bit of trivia—Brita pronounces her name, Bree-ta, and not Brit-a, like the famous water filter. Brita Addams is a mash-up of her real middle name and her husband’s middle name, with an additional d and s.
Readers can find Brita Addams at any of the following places:
Monthly column at The Novel Approach