Excerpt and Contest

February 27, 2015

EvertheSameFS

Hey, y’all! I have a giveaway for a signed print copy of Ever the Same. Comment today on any of the posts and I’ll pick someone tomorrow morning (that gives all the folks a chance).

Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of the novel. Audie’s been called up to the school because his kindergarten has been in a fight…

***

Feeling like he was back in kindergarten, Audie went to the principal’s office.

“Mr. Barrack? Go on in. They’re waiting.” Miz Laws winked at him as he walked by, which relaxed him, because, Christ, this sucked. He went into the office, which was a mixture of colors and pictures of kids and that weird sternness that meant business. Dr. Shields stood and offered him a hand. Lord, he remembered when she was the drum major back when his Aunt Shirley was in the band.

There was a tiny little girl—and he meant teeny—sitting next to a dude who had hair like a girl, a dour-faced older lady, and his Grainger, who jumped up, one eye bruised. “Daddy! Daddy, I swear, I didn’t start it!”

“Hush, now. Let me talk to Dr. Shields.” He wanted to snatch Grainger up, but he knew better.

“Let’s all sit,” Dr. Shields said, and Audie fought the urge to point out he was the only grown-up standing.

Feeling chastised, he perched on the other side of Grainger.

They all sat there, staring, before Dr. Shields spoke up. “Now, we all seem to have a problem. Randi and Grainger have been in a half-dozen incidents in the last few weeks.”

“Really? Why didn’t I hear about this, buddy?” Half a dozen? Shit.

“You said not to be a tattletale, Daddy.”

Oh God. He damned near swallowed his tongue. They’d have to talk about information versus snitching.

“I didn’t start it. Not onced. I don’t hit girls, but Daddy! She hit me in the face! Hard!” There were tears there, threatening, and Grainger had that hell of a shiner.

“Now, Grainger, are you saying you didn’t push Randi?” the principal asked.

“She called me a doo-doo stupid-head!”

Did the wee girl not talk? She sat there, her chin set, her bright green eyes flashing fire. Her thin arms were crossed over her chest, and her feet swung in an angry rhythm.

“Name-calling can’t hurt you, buddy.” Was he the only adult with a brain here?

“No, but name-calling is completely inappropriate, Miranda.” That was the dad, just looking straight ahead. “You know better.”

“He’s mean! He told the girls I was smelly and not to play with me!”

Audie looked at the principal. “Am I the only one not up to speed?”

The older lady glanced over at him. “Beverly White. Pleased. My granddaughter has had some… transition issues. We’re sorry.”

“Mrs. White.” He nodded, then snuck another peek at the man sitting next to her.

The guy stared straight ahead, not looking at him at all. Crazy.

“Grainger is usually a good kid,” Audie offered. “I’m sorry about those uh, transition things.” Way to sound like a hick.

“Children, can you please wait on the green chairs while we talk?”

Grainger nodded, squeezing Audie’s fingers one more time. Audie nodded and smiled at his son, pretty convinced his boy hadn’t done anything really heinous.

The little gal stomped out, pure fire in her eyes. Oh, she was a hellion, he could tell.

“Are you going to tell me you’re going to move her again?” That was the dad, and the dude seemed about as pissed as his daughter. “She’s not the Antichrist. She’s a tiny little girl. She still sits in a car seat, for chrissake.”

“No, I think we can safely leave her where she is. I really felt that we all needed to chat, though. It’s clear that Audie here had no idea what was going on.”

“Yeah, no shit.” Audie glanced at the gran. “Pardon my French.”

“No worries.” She winked at him. “She’s not a bad girl. She’s had some terrible things in the last year.”

“And for some reason, she’s targeting Grainger. Has he spoken about Randi at all?” Dr. Shields was trying, he could tell.

“No, ma’am. He’s not said a word.” He snuck another look at the dad. This guy was a piece of work. “It’s not like him to pick on someone who’s having a hard time.”

“Of course it’s not. Randi’s the one that’s the vicious little bitch, right?”

Damn, Mr. Snooty could snap.

“Dixon!”

“What? She’s had a shit life for the last year. She lost one of her dads, she had to leave Austin and her friends and her school, and suddenly she’s the fucking bad guy?”

“Hey, I never said my boy was perfect,” Audie said, snarling a little himself. “He’s managed to get to six without trying to kill anyone, though, so this is new. Back off.”

“Enough. No one is saying either of these children are bad. Randi has a huge number of hurdles to overcome, and Grainger is a shy little boy with a tendency to follow the crowd. Neither of these children have mothers at home, and I was hoping we could brainstorm some ways to help Randi feel included with the others.”

This was ridiculous. It wasn’t his fucking job to make sure this asshole’s little brat felt like she didn’t need to punch his son anymore.

“That’s her teacher’s job, Shannon.” Audie was through with this shit. “I’ll tell my boy to stay away from her. Can we go now?”

“Yes. Yes, of course. Mr. White….”

“I’ll talk to her. If it happens again, I’ll… shit, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll make it up as I go along.” The guy stood, and his mom handed him a cane. A white cane.

Oh Jesus fucking Christ. Seriously? Seriously, Grainger picked the kid with a blind dad and a dead….

Wait.

Her other dad was dead. Jesus. This guy was blind, had lost his man, and his kid was a shit? That sucked hugely. “I can try to get Grainger to help. I promise.” He had no idea why that popped out, except this guy’s life had to suck, and because it had been a long time since Audie had met anyone who would openly admit to being queer like he was.

***

Buy Ever the Same here – http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6096

Official blurb: Audie Barrack is in it up to his elbows with a sick calf when his son’s school calls. Seems Grainger has gotten into yet another fight. When he walks into the principal’s office, he’s shocked to find his son has been fighting with a little girl named Randi.

A little girl with one blind dad and one dad who recently passed away.

Goddammit.

Dixon has lost his sight, his career, and his husband. Thank God for his brothers, Momma and Daddy, and his little girl, or he would simply give up. The last thing he needs is for Randi to start trouble at school, especially trouble that puts him in contact with another dad who might expect him to be a functional human being.

Dixon is struggling to live as a blind man, Audie is terrified someone might see he has a closet to come out of, and everyone from the school to both men’s families is worried for the men and their children. Unless they get themselves together and commit to change, neither of them stands a chance.

Night Vision: Excerpt

February 18, 2015

My release party is almost over :(

Confession: I don’t like excerpts and I never read them! So I was reluctant to do an excerpt here. But… I guess some people like them? So for the people who do not care for excerpts, this is an alternative: the pinterest board for Night Vision, filled with inspiration photos, settings and characters and details from the story.

And for those who DO enjoy excerpts, this is from Chapter Nine:

 “YOU HAD a dream the other night.” Theron tried to sound causal and focused his attention on a lock of Alex’s hair, twisting the gold and bronze between his fingers. Alex’s head lay on the pillow, half-turned, almost exactly the way it had been a few nights ago when Theron had climbed the tree to check on him. Whatever that dream had been, it was powerful. And sexual. Theron’s curiosity burned.

“Please don’t tell me you were watching me again.” Alex searched his face and sighed, perhaps seeing some sign of guilt. “Theron, seriously, just come in next time. Why are you still sneaking around in my trees?”

“It is my way, Alex. I thought you understood that.”
“I guess. It’s still creepy, though.”
“Tell me the dream.”
Shame filled the room, and Alex squirmed in the bed, burying his face in the pillow. “I really don’t want to.”
Theron laughed, wrapping Alex in his arms and kissing his shoulder. “Come on, my little sexy dreamer. Tell me.”
“Ugh!” Alex groaned, but the emotions in the air contradicted his protest. He was embarrassed, but happy, even a little aroused. He snuggled into Theron, hiding his face. “You were in the shower. I sneaked in and leaned against the wall near the closet, where you couldn’t see me. I started jerking off and fantasizing about you. I heard you moaning, and I knew you could feel it. You knew I was there, and you called my name.”
Theron ran his hands over Alex’s back, encouraging him to continue.
“I moved so that I could see you. You stood under the shower, your hands on the wall, the water running over you. You were so hard. I wanted to make you come with my thoughts. I was sure I could do it. You looked so sexy, your muscles so tight, straining and wet, and it was easy for me. I stroked myself and thought about you, and I watched your cock. The water was hitting it, and you kept yourself under the spray, but I knew my thoughts were really bringing you off. I came, and a second later you did too, all over the shower wall, without even touching yourself.”
Theron moaned into the back of Alex’s head. “Did you come in your sleep? Or when you woke up?”

***

Buy Night Vision!  Amazon • Dreamspinner • AllRomance

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Thank you to Dreamspinner for being such a nice company to work with, and thank you for letting me takeover this blog! I’ve had a great time here today <3

Illusions – Excerpt – First Kiss

February 13, 2015

Hey Guys, It’s S.A. Ozment here again chatting about Illusions. Let’s look at another excerpt from the book.

*Disclaimer* The following excerpt contains adult language.

Illusions
S.A. Ozment

As Skylar neared the gazebo, he heard something behind him. Immediately thinking it was Emma following him, he said, “I swear to God, if that’s you, Emma, I may….”’
“May what?”
Skylar swung around at the sound of Aiden’s voice.
Smiling, he said, “May… nothing… never mind. There’s a fan who insists on following me around. I thought you were her.”
“Nope, not a fan. And definitely not a ‘her,’” Aiden teased.
“Hum… wonder if I could change that?” Skylar said with a smile.
“What? The fact that I’m not a fan or the fact I’m not a ‘her’?” Aiden asked.
“A fan,” laughed Skylar.
“Keep it up. You are definitely headed in the right direction,” Aiden said as he walked closer to Skylar.
Skylar, whose heart rate started skyrocketing, tried to make himself chill out as he asked, “Want to have a seat in the gazebo or do you have to get back?” He looked toward the house.
“No, I’m on break. I saw you walk off down the path and thought I’d take the chance to follow you.”
“I’m glad you did,” Skylar said with his heart in his throat. Okay, this crap needs to stop. Since when do I get nervous over a little flirting?
Aiden and Skylar walked over to the gazebo. They managed to stay a good distance from each other, as if they were afraid to touch in any way. Once inside the gazebo, Skylar went to stand against one of the beams, setting his drink down on the railing.
“It’s sure is beautiful out here tonight,” Skylar said as he looked up at the moon.
“It sure is,” Aiden whispered as he gazed at Skylar.
Noticing the tone change in Aiden’s voice, Skylar turned to see Aiden walking closer to him. Within a second Aiden was standing directly in front of him. The closeness was intoxicating as the ache inside him magnified and began settling in his groin. Skylar reached out to touch Aiden’s cheek. Very tenderly he began running his finger down the side of Aiden’s jawline. Both men held each other’s gazes and tried to steady their breathing.
Skylar continued to draw Aiden’s face with his fingers as if he wanted to memorize it forever. His finger reached Aiden’s lips and lingered there as the touch of his lips sent jolts through Skylar’s body. Aiden opened his mouth slightly to capture just the tip of his finger in his mouth.
Skylar gasped. He had a hard-on so rigid, he felt like it might burst out of his jeans. Groaning slightly, Skylar leaned down and replaced his finger with his mouth. Grabbing Aiden’s upper lip with his mouth, Skylar moved his lips around until he had completely covered Aiden’s mouth. Instantly, Aiden opened his mouth, and Skylar pushed his tongue inside.
Taking their time, the kiss was slow and deliberate. Skylar pulled Aiden closer to him as he worshipped his mouth with an intoxicating, slow movement that drove both of them crazy. Gasping and straining against each other, the kiss deepened. Aiden moaned as he pushed Skylar back against the pole, the kisses becoming more desperate.

IllusionsFS

Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Novel
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Christy Caughie

Link: e-book  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6041

Link: paperback http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6042

BLURB

Ever since arriving in Hollywood, Skylar Murphy has been loving life. He’s starring in a hit television show and on the verge of grabbing the lead role in the most anticipated movie of the decade. Poised on the edge of superstardom, he doesn’t want or need any complications to distract him from that goal. Whether he’s sleeping with a woman or a man, his noncommittal, no-strings-attached love life suits him perfectly, and despite his rep for playing gay roles, the world still thinks he’s straight.

At the launch party for his new show, Skylar meets Aiden Moore, an openly gay firefighter by day and cater waiter to the stars by night. Skylar is immediately attracted to him, but Aiden rejects him. When an arsonist appears to have targeted Skylar, their paths keep crossing. Always up for a challenge, Skylar works to win Aiden over, and he agrees to a date. Soon enough they can’t stay away from each other. Despite hiding their relationship away from the ever-present paparazzi, they’re happy together until a jilted fan joins forces with the arsonist to sabotage their future.

Illusions Blog Post – Excerpt #2

February 13, 2015

I’m having a blast blogging over here at DSP! Thank you to anyone who joined me.

In the book, you’re introduced to Aiden’s best friend, Ryan, who is Skylar’s biggest fan. After Skylar, Ryan’s my favorite character. He is star-struck and he doesn’t care who knows it. He’s a loyal and funny friend and I just loved writing for him.

I wanted to share an excerpt with Ryan. This is a very short piece but I hope you can see the comedy in Ryan’s voice here. Ryan has found out that Aiden and Skylar are having a first date. Being the loyal friend that he is -and to meet Skylar- he shows up at Aiden’s house to help him prepare for his big date.

Excerpt number two: Illusions.

Curious, Aiden pulled the bag over to him. As he looked in the bag, he was immediately sorry he had bothered to open it. Inside were colorful condoms, lube, and something that resembled handcuffs. “You know, this isn’t a casting call for Fifty Shades of Grey,” he said in frustration. “It’s coffee.”
“Yeah, yeah… first coffee, a couple of goofy stares into one another’s eyes, then you’re signing consensual letters regarding bondage and having fan fiction written about your sex life.” Rolling his eyes, Ryan continued, “Really, darling, you should have watched Royal Life. Just so you know, that boy can be a smokin’ hot love machine.”
“When are you going to remember he’s an actor, not the prince from Royal Life?”
Ryan shook his head in disbelief. Exasperated, he corrected Aiden, “Uhhhhh… first off, he is not the prince; he’s the best friend of the prince. And secondly, yes, he’s a great actor, but I’ll bet my next three paychecks that he rocked that man’s world from a real-life experience.”

About Illusions

Illusions_bookmarkH_DSP

Genre: M/M Romance, Mystery/Suspense
Length: Novel
Release Date: February 13, 2015
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Art: Christy Caughie

Link: e-book  http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6041

Link: paperback http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6042

BLURB

Ever since arriving in Hollywood, Skylar Murphy has been loving life. He’s starring in a hit television show and on the verge of grabbing the lead role in the most anticipated movie of the decade. Poised on the edge of superstardom, he doesn’t want or need any complications to distract him from that goal. Whether he’s sleeping with a woman or a man, his noncommittal, no-strings-attached love life suits him perfectly, and despite his rep for playing gay roles, the world still thinks he’s straight.

At the launch party for his new show, Skylar meets Aiden Moore, an openly gay firefighter by day and cater waiter to the stars by night. Skylar is immediately attracted to him, but Aiden rejects him. When an arsonist appears to have targeted Skylar, their paths keep crossing. Always up for a challenge, Skylar works to win Aiden over, and he agrees to a date. Soon enough they can’t stay away from each other. Despite hiding their relationship away from the ever-present paparazzi, they’re happy together until a jilted fan joins forces with the arsonist to sabotage their future.

Valentine’s Day sequel – why?

February 12, 2015

(A few SPOILER ALERTS for those who haven’t read “Healing Minds” – proceed at your own risk)

 

I chose Valentine’s Day for these two because it’s one of the romance-mushiest holidays out there, and I liked the pairing of the holiday with Xavier’s badass image. He had a rough past, what with being a (SPOILER ALERT) criminal, and being trained by a para-military wolf pack in Australia. Josh does feel like a romantic to me, despite his inexperience with it, and I wanted him to flip back and forth whether to attempt to celebrate the holiday or not.

 

Since this is a direct sequel to “Healing Minds,” I don’t have much furthering of the overall plot of my series, i.e. the conflict between the Knights and the Agency, introducing new characters (though a new character does make a brief appearance at the end—watch for him, he returns later in the series!), new couples, etc. I also decided early on that it would be fun to make all the sequels center around holidays. I started the trend with “Celtic Warrior and Wolf Spirit,” the sequel to “Psychic Moon.”

 

However, there will be a few books that return to earlier couples, but I don’t consider them sequels because they further the overall plot. To name a couple: Derek and Brian from “Psychic Moon,” and (everyone’s favorite) Poe and Nordik from “Master’s Blood.”

 

But back to “Hearts and Minds.”

And another excerpt!

 

 

Josh jerked back to the present. He realized he was standing in the reception area of the counseling wing, and Misty—their efficient secretary, a petite woman with long red-orange hair, bright green eyes, and a narrow, pointy face—was holding out a file folder. They weren’t able to pay their clinic employees yet, but that never stopped people from applying for positions and volunteering their time. They had a chef, two other counselors with degrees in psychology, and an elderly elk shifter who acted as custodian.

Where would they be without these generous Haven citizens?

There was a bunch of red and pink construction paper on Misty’s desk, and she seemed to be cutting them up into hearts of different sizes.

“What’s with the hearts?” Josh asked.

Misty tilted her head slightly and gave him a look that clearly said he was a dummy. “Valentine’s Day is coming up, duh.”

Josh blinked, flipped through the calendar in his head, and said, “Oh, right.”

Misty shook her head and rolled her eyes. “I’m making these for the class my brother’s in. They’re having a little party.”

“They’re looking good.”

“Yes, they are,” Misty said proudly. “But just wait till you see the necklace I had specially made for my girlfriend. She’s going to flip.”

Josh chuckled even as something occurred to him. “Is V-Day the reason you’ve been using pink and red highlighters and pens, lately?”

Misty sighed loudly and rolled her eyes again. “Wow, Josh. You’re Mr. Observant.”

“Hey, I have been a little busy, you know.”

“What? And I haven’t? You think this enterprise of yours runs itself?”

Temper sparked in her eyes, and Josh barely resisted a wince. Then he said, in all seriousness, “No, Misty. We all know how invaluable you are.”

“Damn right, I am.” Misty smiled cannily, her eyes now twinkling with humor as she continued to hold out Allen’s folder. He took it.

“Thanks. Is Allen’s mother with him?”

“Yes.” Her smile warmed, softened. “She’s so sweet and devoted. I really think he has a fair chance at full recovery with such support on his side.”

“I think so, too.” Josh promptly forgot about Valentine’s Day and its implications as he walked into the small counseling room. Allen sat on the couch, hunched over, his hands clasped in front of him. His mother sat right next to him, her hand on his. Allen’s cane was set against the couch, and his left leg was tucked under his right. It was understandable that he was still self-conscious about his severed left foot, but that was one of the things they were working on. He needed to accept what had happened to him and move past it. But, as Allen had only been with them for about a week, Josh knew it was a slow process and might take years. Allen and his mother were bear shifters, and he’d proven nonviolent, but Josh had seen flashes of rage in his eyes when they attempted to discuss his abuse. Josh had Xavier on speed dial if Allen proved too much to handle.

 

 

What is your favorite holiday to celebrate with your significant other?

 

Got anything you wish to ask me about my series? Ask away! I shall answer!

 

-M.D.

First excerpt plus more!

February 12, 2015

And I’m back! M.D. Grimm here promoting “Hearts and Minds,” my Valentine’s Day themed sequel to “Healing Minds” in my The Shifters series. http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6031

 

Josh and Xavier have been working so hard they haven’t really had time for a “honeymoon.” I really like these guys—they are so motivated and duty-oriented. In my humble opinion, they are probably one of the best couples I’ve penned. While I love every single one of my characters and enjoy all the couples, Josh and Xavier probably had the most evolution. The first draft of “Healing Minds” was utter crap, to be honest. I didn’t know where I was heading or what I was trying to say. My beta at the time agreed with me. But then I rewrote it from page one and all the puzzle pieces were finally assembled. I heard their voices, I sensed their struggles, and when I finally got them together, I was over the moon.

 

And now we have “Hearts and Minds” which is centered around Valentine’s Day, but the book is truly about compromise and working together as a team. Because of their busyness, Xavier and Josh haven’t really had much time alone together, to indulge in one another (sad, right?). That has led to a few unsaid conflicts that arise in this story. They both have strong personalities, have been trained in combat (though Xavier’s was far more intense), and both believe they are right all the time (and that never ends well).

 

So for those of you who love Xavier and Josh as much as I do, consider this story a Valentine’s Day present from me to you. J

 

And here’s an excerpt!

 

 

Xavier had to walk around to the back of the house to find Josh, who was standing with a blueprint, shouting at the workers on the roof. There seemed to be a disagreement happening, and Xavier found it incredibly cute how Josh’s face was becoming as red as his hair and his blue eyes were bright with frustration. He was bundled against the low 40s temperature, and Xavier found it hard to think of anything but keeping Josh nice and warm under their blankets.

Xavier walked over to catch Josh say, “…where you guys are sitting is where the new addition is going to go. I keep telling you that. That’s what the blueprint says.”

“If you put it here, the plumbing’s going to be a disaster,” countered an older man, who Xavier knew to be a fellow wolf shifter. He looked as exasperated as Josh. “That blueprint is wrong, or ya ain’t looking at it right, boy.”

Josh scowled.

“Let me see.” Xavier snatched the blueprint from Josh.

“Xavier—”

Clearing his throat, Xavier saw the problem and turned the blueprint right-side up. He handed it back to Josh and tried not to laugh, but it was a hard struggle. Josh looked down at the paper, his face reddening further. He grumbled something before sucking in a large breath and looking back up at the roof workers.

“Carry on, boys, we found out the problem.”

The workers glanced at each other. The older wolf shifter shook his head and mumbled something Xavier thought sounded like “Pups.”

Xavier turned his attention to Josh. “Morning, love.”

Josh rolled up the blueprint and gave him a smile. “Morning. Guess I still need a few lessons in ‘Building Remodeling 101.’”

Xavier chuckled. Then he cupped Josh’s face and kissed him soundly. Josh attempted to pull back for a split second before he melted against Xavier. Making a growly purr deep in his throat, Xavier wrapped his arms around Josh. He deepened the kiss, his tongue taking possession of Josh’s mouth, one hand curling around the back of Josh’s head. In response, Josh gripped his shoulders, a sweet moan coming from him.

Xavier reluctantly pulled back a moment later and was happy to see that Josh’s eyes were slightly blurry. He didn’t care that they were getting looks and snickers. He craved this man like a drug. Everything between them still felt fresh and new.

“Now it is a very good morning,” Xavier said.

Josh grinned. “Definitely.”

Xavier shifted his mouth close to Josh’s ear. “But it would have been a great morning if you’d stayed in bed.”

“I… well, there’s so much to do. I had to get an early start—”

Xavier kept his arms tightly around Josh’s waist, knowing a ramble about to start when he heard it. His redhead had a tendency to talk and talk… and talk. “You’ve been getting an early start for a couple of weeks now. There will always be so much to do. I need my mate.”

Josh sighed and pulled back slightly. Their eyes met. Xavier enjoyed the look of him, and he had a special adoration for the freckles that spread across his nose and cheeks. Xavier happened to know they covered Josh’s entire body.

“Sorry, X. You need your sleep. I don’t want to disturb you in the morning.”

Xavier raised an eyebrow. It was sweet how naïve Josh was sometimes.

“Josh, I always want you. Wake me up whenever. I’ll just sleep after.”

Josh let out a short laugh, his bright blue eyes sparkling. “Okay, got that.”

He pulled away, and Xavier let him. If he kept holding Josh, he might be tempted to drag him into the house and take him on the floor. His wolf didn’t think that was a bad idea.

Josh lifted the blueprint again. He tilted it one way and then the other, then covered one eye, then just sighed and shook his head. “I give up. I’m no good at this.” He shoved the print into Xavier’s hands. “Could you monitor them for me? I have a patient in ten minutes.”

“You need to stop booking them so early in the morning.”

Josh shrugged, smiling. “I have to book them whenever I can or else I’d never see them. We have to make ourselves available, remember?”

“Yeah, but we also need some time for just us, right?”

“Of course!” Josh jumped up and kissed Xavier quickly. Then he was gone, striding away. “I’ll see you later!”

It was incredibly annoying that Josh seemed so fucking immune to the lust bubbling inside Xavier. Kissing and blowjobs had been the extent of their lovemaking for too long, and Xavier was itching for more. He really wanted to be inside Josh again. More than anything, he wanted intimacy; he wanted time alone with his mate, no interruptions, no pressures, no duties.

Grumbling, he looked at the print and attempted to keep his mind busy by bossing around the workers.

 

 

Who is your favorite couple in “The Shifters” series? I refuse to have a favorite couple because that feels like I’m playing favorites with my children. I love all of them and am mighty proud with how each one turned out.

 

I shall be back!

 

-M.D. Grimm

Sweet Fire release party – Sarah and Shannen Brady Part 1

January 3, 2015

  SweetFire_headerbanner

             shannen and sarah

 Good Morning. It’s finally here!!! (pause while I do a really silly happy dance…….. OK, I’m back. Sorry.)  We’re so stoked about the release of Sweet Fire.  That’s partly because it’s our first Dreamspinner book and partly because we both just love these characters so much.  I’m thrilled to finally get to share them.

Don’t get confused if you hear me say “I” or “We” interchangeably.  We are a mother/daughter team and we write paranormal romance, both m/m and m/f, together.  I’m Sarah, the mom part of the team.  Shannen will be chiming in off and on throughout the day and we’ll try to make it clear who’s talking. There will be lots of opportunities later today to fill you in on the details of how and why a family would do something so weird as to write steamy romance together but I want to get to the really good stuff first.  Let’s have a look at the book.

SweetFire Cover

Love this beautiful Christy Caughie cover, yeah? That night scene is Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington.

Between Homeland Security’s Gifted Agenda and the bigotry of a fearful populace, having paranormal Gifts is a dangerous thing. Pyrokinetic Aaron Flores knows firsthand how difficult it can be to control his power. Still, he runs his bakery and never gives up on finding his Happily Ever After. When Aaron’s cousin asks him to check on her former EMT partner, Aaron’s chance has finally arrived. He’s determined not to let anything stop him from catching (and keeping) his man.

Ramón Del Rio spent three days at the tender mercies of HOMSEC agents when his former partner was taken. He wants nothing to do with a Gifted guy, but Aaron is nothing if not persistent. He’s a pastry chef after all, and the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach. The physical passion they share is the icing on the cake. Just when Ramón decides that having Gifts might not be a deal breaker, someone close to Aaron decides his fire needs to be put out—permanently. Ramón will have to face his fears to save them both.

Click here to check it out on the Dreamspinner site.

Die-hard Kindlers can get it on Amazon here.

 

Excerpt:

“I hear we had company this afternoon.”

Sophia’s voice was amused, and Victoria hid her face behind her napkin with a giggle as Ramón glared at her. He was going to have to tread carefully here. There was no way he was going to discuss Alex’s escape from Homeland Security in front of the girls. He held his sister’s eyes for a long moment. Her sculpted eyebrows rose, but she nodded. He’d still have to fill her in, but it would wait until the girls weren’t around. Too bad Victoria didn’t share her mother’s discretion.

“He was super cute, mama, with fancy hair, and he had sparkles on the pockets of his jeans, just like mine.”

Sophia’s eyebrows rose again. “Really? A cute gay guy comes to visit you, and you didn’t even invite him in? That’s not very good manners at all, brother.”

Both girls laughed hysterically to hear Uncle Ramón getting “told” by Mama, and six-year-old Adelina’s singing was gleeful.

“Un-cle’s in trou-ble.”

“That’s enough of that, Adel. Eat your dinner.” Ramón kept his voice calm. She was being rude, and singing at the table was against Sophia’s rules, but it wasn’t that much of an offense. Most of his aggravation was with himself and the flush of heat that ran through his body at the thought of this afternoon’s visitor.

“We just had to talk about a few things, that’s all. I don’t imagine he’ll be back.” Too bad, though. It’s a damn shame an ass that fine should turn out to be on a Gifted guy. Ramón turned his attention back to his food, but the girls weren’t finished with him yet.

I think he should come back and you should go out with him. You need a boyfriend.”

Jesus, Victoria. Ramón choked and tried not to spray iced tea across the kitchen table while Sophia cracked up. He never made any secret of the fact that he was gay, but he didn’t rub anyone’s nose in it either. He certainly never brought men around the girls. Victoria eyed him smugly across the table, but Adelina only looked confused.

“Why would you need a boyfriend, Uncle Ramón, instead of a girlfriend?”

Oh, jeez. Here we go. Adel was so cute sitting there with her thick black curls, her mouth covered in enchilada sauce and her perfect eyebrows wrinkled in confusion. Ramón sucked in a breath, stalling for time while his mind raced in circles, trying to figure out just how much to say. Thank heaven, Sophia rescued him.

“Adelina, Uncle Ramón doesn’t like women in that way. He’d rather have a boyfriend.”

Now Victoria choked and snorted milk out of her nose. For a minute he was able to occupy himself mopping up and patting her on the back, but eventually he had to look at Adelina. Sophia’s littlest sat there with her messy little mouth pursed thoughtfully for a long moment. Then her expression cleared.

“I don’t blame you, Uncle Ramón. I’d rather have a boyfriend too. Tommy Adkins says he wants to be my boyfriend, and he gave me one of his cookies at snack time yesterday. Can I watch my princess movie now?”

That’s it? That’s all there is to it? Ramón shared an incredulous smile with his sister. Still grinning, Sophia shrugged and got up to start the movie. I guess that’s all there is when you’re six.

Too bad things got more complicated once you grew up. Ramón got up and started cleaning the table, and he couldn’t help but think how long it had been since he’d had a boyfriend. Since his run-in with HOMSEC, he hadn’t even been to his usual club for dancing or a quick hookup. The image of his hot visitor popped into his head in spite of his best efforts to keep it out. The guy smells like sugar and works in a bakery. I bet he’d give a good “cookie.”

 

 

 

We’ll be giving away some yummy goodies today.  Come back and see us a little later for a chance to win and to get the recipe for Sweet Nothings’ Sweet Shoppe’s signature chocolate cream puffs (or How to Win Your Man – Lesson 1.)  Yum!

 

Inspirational Quote About Music…Plus An Excerpt And Giveaway!

December 26, 2014

It all started with Peter Murphy.

Now, wait a hot second, Piper. You said it started with Doctor Who.

Just go with it.

Playing Hard To Forget all started with Peter Murphy.

I adore 80s music. I really do. But, like most people my age, my knowledge of 80s music came from two places: vague memories from early childhood and VH1’s I Love the 80s. There were large gaps in my education of 80s New Wave. A few years ago I was driving around when an awesome sounding song came on my satellite radio. Indigo Eyes. I’d never heard it before but it immediately struck a chord with me (get it? Chord? Music? Ok moving on). I’d been struggling with the characterization of my two mains in Playing Hard To Forget. They weren’t as easy to create as the characters around them. They needed a depth I hadn’t found yet, but as soon as I heard Indigo Eyes, my Ethan had a new layer almost immediately. I ran home and downloaded the song and played it over and over as I story boarded Ethan’s journey.

And about the same time I had my “Don’t Forget Me” revelation, I was dragged by a dear friend into that terrible, awful 5th circle of hell conveniently located in every suburban mall in America: Hot Topic. It was there I heard the voice of the goddess Siouxsie Sioux singing a cover of Bob Dylan’s This Wheel’s On Fire. And suddenly everything became so clear. “If your memory serves you well.” It was life-changing. Why the fates decided to pause the System of a Down long enough to play some good music that day, I’ll never know.

The third song with a large hand in the plot comes to us from Canada (Now, if you know me well, you know Canada is important in our family. I birthed two French-Canadian children, made with my French-Canadian husband whose Canadian roots go back over 400 years. Our last name is Canadian, forged in the fires of a Tim Horton’s hot oil fryer. He is part Scottish, but, for the most part, I’ve broken the Scottish bloodline. Go me). It’s by an indie band called Folly and the Hunter–Moth in the Porchlight.  The song is incredible. And it’s Ethan and Liam…and Fiona, Ethan’s sister. Hearing it for the first time was, like, boom, cancel my meetings for the rest of the day. I have to go home and write.

Other songs had a hand in the creation of Playing Hard To Forget. I’m posting the list here and a link to a YouTube playlist. If any song here appeals to you, I heartily encourage you to check out the band and support them by buying tons of their music.

Indigo Eyes–Peter Murphy

Wolves–Big Wreck

Dangerous–Big Data

No One Knows–Queens of the Stone Age

Club Foot–Kasabian

Rather Be–The Verve

The Passenger–Siouxsie and the Banshees

Never Let Me Down Again–Depeche Mode

High on a Riverbed–Toad the Wet Sprocket

The Sweetest Drop–Peter Murphy

Never Tear Us Apart–INXS

Born To Ruin–The Wildlife

Space and Time–The Verve

Sick, Sick, Sick–Queens of the Stone Age

Under the Milky Way–The Church

Skin on Skin–Queens of the Stone Age

Burn the Witch–Queens of the Stone Age

Hope–Toad the Wet Sprocket

This Wheel’s on Fire–Siouxsie and the Banshees

Moth in the Porchlight–Folly and the Hunter

Here’s the whole unofficial soundtrack in a YouTube playlist

 

And now it’s time for an excerpt!

 

The distant snap of a twig from about ten yards back confirmed his suspicions, but he stayed on his own target and squeezed off the last shot of the round and it effectively left him unarmed. He stood and turned toward the sound, but the dense pine and oak did not afford him the best view. He bent back down to lock the safety and left the edge of the clearing to venture deeper into the forest.

He did not have to walk far before he heard it—the smooth, snarky tone and now familiar voice-over of his new and very explicit fantasies. “Looking for me?”

Ethan whipped around to find Liam leaning against a tree as if he owned the goddamned forest. He put on his best nonchalant face, which of course was going to fool absolutely no one.

“I thought it might be a bear.” Immediate and total regret washed over him. Stupid answers were beneath him. He was twenty years old, damn it.

Liam moved like a cheetah, and he was inches away from Ethan in the span of a breath. “Now, now. Ethan. Ignoring the fact that I can hear your heart and smell your hormones, why would you go after a bear unarmed?”

“I—I wasn’t looking for you, I….” Stammering was also beneath him. How could he let this guy—this wolf—do this to him?

Liam looked amused. “Come on, Ethan. You think I haven’t seen you all week? Walking twice a day through the field where we met? Taking wild detours through the forests? You’ve been looking for me all week. And here I am. And you left your weapon behind. I’m flattered, Ethan, really.”

“You’ve been following me?” His chest was tight, but it was not from embarrassment as much as it was anticipation.

“Yes.” No lies. No stammering around the truth. Liam was unapologetic.

“All this week? Everywhere?” Ethan blushed at the thought of what Liam might have seen in that week.

Liam snorted. “Now, Ethan. I do have a life.” He leaned in close to Ethan’s ear, and Ethan silently blamed the heat coming off Liam reacting with his cold sweat for the long shiver.

“But I’ve followed you enough. Tell me, are you thinking of me when you’re alone in your bedroom? God, I hope so, because that face you make when you come, I’d really like to see that face when you’re under me. I’d like to make you come myself instead of watching you think of me from a distance.” He backed up and blinked slowly, and watched Ethan for a reaction.

Ethan tried to shake the fog of confusion and arousal and opened his mouth to speak, but not before he heard Fiona in the distance yelling for him.

Shit.

Liam rolled his eyes and sighed. “I guess that’s my cue, isn’t it, Ethan? Can’t have daddy and little sister knowing about our little secret, can we?”

He turned to leave, but stopped short. “Still, it isn’t fair leaving you this way.” Liam smirked and raised an eyebrow as he surveyed Ethan. “No, you need something new to think about tonight.”

And before Ethan knew what was happening, Liam’s lips were on his. It was hot—literally and figuratively—and Liam’s lips were soft and tasted of the same earthy tang Liam smelled of on the day they’d met. Ethan relaxed into it faster than he liked and he let Liam’s tongue explore his own. He didn’t need Liam to tell him his heart was racing. He could feel it kick against his rib cage, and it served to spur Liam on.

Liam’s hands wrapped around the back of Ethan’s neck and he lifted his jaw slightly so Liam could kiss his way down to a spot Ethan’s shirt barely hid. Liam didn’t bite hard enough to break the skin, but there was certainly going to be a mark, more so because Ethan jerked up into it and he did not even care about how weak it made him seem or the noise that escaped when he felt sharp teeth.

Liam came away smiling and admired his masterpiece: red and purple and, in a few minutes from then, in dire need of a quick explanation from Ethan if he couldn’t find a way to cover it up. While Ethan adjusted his shirt as best he could, Liam disappeared beyond the tree line.

I know, right? I’m simply dying to find out what happens next!

Playing Hard To Forget–in Paperback or ebook on Dreamspinner or in ebook at Amazon.

You can find me on Facebook or on Twitter.

PlayingHardtoForget_FBprofile_OptizimedForFeed

Music is such a gigantic part of my life. My next story with Dreamspinner, due out in March 2015, also has a soundtrack with similar revelatory moments behind each song. I was struggling with a plotline for a potential number three the other day when I heard Le Pyromane by Karkwa and my brain went crazy with ideas.

My favorite song ever–my favorite song always–is Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve. I cannot imagine a more perfect song existing. What is your all-time, hands-down favorite song of all time? My favorite wins a paperback edition of Playing Hard To Forget!

#5: JD Ruskin’s Finding Matt Blog Party: Thanks!

December 7, 2014

JDRuskin

Thank you for joining me today as I fumbled through my first blog release party. I hope I’ve piqued your interest in Finding Matt. Once last time, here’s the cover and blurb.

Finding Matt

 

Blurb: When six-year-old Matt Wilson and his Shih Tzu, Pixie, step out of the Stanton Community Hospital and disappear, his desperate parents convince Jaron Greenberg, a local pet psychic, to aid the police in the search. Jaron specializes in finding lost kitties and fixing problem pooches. He isn’t prepared for a case with so much at stake. And as soon as he starts, the abilities he’s had since childhood begin changing and growing in unexpected ways.

Paulo Silva is a veteran detective new to the small town of Stanton. As the low man on the totem pole at Stanton PD, he isn’t happy when the chief assigns him to babysit the pet psychic instead of actively working the missing child case. As Jaron uncovers clues, Paulo starts to wonder if he might be the real thing. Or maybe it’s just his testosterone reacting to what he’s sure is mutual attraction.

Length: Novel (230p.) | Genre: Other Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For those of you that have read When One Door Opens, be sure to visit my website next weekend. I will be posting a free Christmas short story featuring Caleb and Logan. It will not be work safe!

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

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

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

Post #5 Question: Did I forget anything? Is there anything else you want to know about me or my novels?

Check back at 7:00 P.M. CST to see the winners of the giveaway. 

How to Contact JD Ruskin

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

#4: JD Ruskin’s Finding Matt Blog Party: Ripped From the Headlines

December 7, 2014

missing

I’m an avid reader of newspaper and magazine articles. Both of my novels, When One Door Opens, and Finding Matt, were originally conceived after reading newspaper articles.

When One Door Opens focuses on Caleb Klass, a housebound agoraphobic. I read an article about a woman who died in a fire in Chicago because she refused to leave the building. The woman was agoraphobic. I remember being so shocked and saddened by this article. Imagine a fear so great that it can override your instinct for self-preservation. I’d never considered agoraphobia could be life threatening. The article also made me think about my own experiences with panic attacks. I’ve been fortunate enough to have only two in my life, but they left a strong impression. There is actually a reference to the original article hidden in the novel.

The inspiration for Finding Matt is based on a real life kidnapping case that happened in my small town. The details for the case are completely different, but reading the articles helped me to understand how a small town handles these types of cases. Unfortunately, the case that compelled Paulo to leave the ISP is actually based on a real case. Reality can sometimes be far more horrifying than fiction.

On a happier note, Jaron’s Newfoundland dog, Bear, is based on a very sweet Newfie that meet.

Bear

 

In this excerpt from chapter 4, Paulo takes Jaron to the site of the kidnapping, a small park.

_____________

[Jaron] walked in a slanted line toward the road that separated the park from the hospital parking lot. After a couple of minutes, he stopped. Paulo didn’t need to look around to know they were at the edge of the hospital parking lot’s surveillance video. The very spot Matt disappeared. How the hell had Jaron found the location? His department hadn’t sent the video to the media, opting to send screenshots of Matt exiting the hospital instead since his visibility was better. Jaron must have connections in the hospital. Could someone in security have talked to him? It was doubtful Jaron had seen the footage. Officers had arrived at the hospital thirty minutes after Matt left his father’s side, and secured the footage immediately.

Paulo’s line of thinking derailed when Jaron stumbled. Arms flailing, Jaron would have fallen if Paulo hadn’t grabbed him.

“Are you all right?”

Jaron didn’t answer right away. His eyes were focused on something in the distance. Up close, Paulo could see a ring of gold around Jaron’s irises. The morning sun made his long, thick lashes look like white feathers.

Jaron blinked rapidly. “I’m okay… thanks.”

Paulo unhooked his arms from around Jaron’s waist and took a step back.

Jaron stepped on the road, causing Paulo to grab him again and yank him backward. A station wagon came within inches of clipping Jaron. “Jesus, watch where you’re going!”

Jaron looked chagrined. “Sorry, I don’t normally do this without Bear.”

Paulo stared at him. “The dog is in charge of making sure you don’t end up roadkill?”

Jaron patted him on the arm. “I’m sure you’ll do just as good a job.”

Paulo wasn’t sure whether to be offended by the comparison or not. Since Jaron seemed to take better care of his dog than himself, Paulo settled on feeling flattered that Jaron was trusting him.

_____________

 Finding Matt

Length: Novel (230p.) | Genre: Other Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense

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

 

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

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

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

Post #4 Question: What inspires you? 

How to Contact JD Ruskin

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