Character Creations with Antonia Aquilante – Post + Giveaway

October 14, 2015

Hi, everyone! My name is Antonia Aquilante, and I’m excited to be here today to talk with you about my debut novel, The Prince’s Consort, releasing October 16th. The Prince’s Consort is a fantasy romance about a prince and the son of a glass merchant. Here’s the blurb:


Legends tell of large cats defending the principality of Tournai, but such creatures have been lost to time. 

Or have they?

Prince Philip inherited the throne at a young age, and since then, his life has centered around ruling his country and resisting those pressuring him to take a wife and conceive an heir—forcing him to hide his attraction to men. When kind-hearted Amory is offered to the prince in exchange for more time for Amory’s father to complete a commission, both Philip and Amory are horrified. But Philip agrees to keep Amory at the palace, where they gradually become friends, then lovers. For the first time in his life, Philip is free to share not only his heart, but the magical shape-shifting ability that runs in the royal bloodline.

Neither Amory nor Philip imagined falling in love, and they certainly don’t expect the lengths those who oppose their relationship will go to keep them apart—maybe even resorting to murder.


When I’m writing, the ideas for my stories often come in the form of characters first, and that’s what happened with The Prince’s Consort. I was actually writing a different story entirely, and Amory and Philip were meant to be minor characters who were only in a couple of scenes. They were much older in that story and had been together for a long time. The first scene I wrote with Amory in it just flowed – and I loved Amory immediately.

More about Amory and Philip’s characters kept coming to me, but I was writing a story about someone else. So I made notes about Amory and Philip and set them aside, telling myself I would write their story later, after I finished what I was working on. But even as I wrote that other story, Amory and Philip kept filtering in. I suddenly knew how they meet; I could see the scene in my head. I learned more and more about who they are – Amory’s quiet strength and huge capacity for love, Philip’s protectiveness and hidden vulnerability. And I really wanted to know how they got from that first meeting to the place I knew they’d be in the story I was writing at the time (living happily ever after, of course).

I repeated to myself – and them – over and over to be patient. Soon – I’d write their story soon.

And then I hit a wall in the story I was writing. Something wasn’t working, and I couldn’t quite place what. I beat my head against that wall for a long while, but I got no closer to the problem, and Amory and Philip were still demanding their story be told.

I’m the type of person who likes to finish a project before moving to the next. Every story I’ve written, I’ve finished before beginning another. Normally I just keep working at it, keep thinking and writing, and I get back on track. I didn’t this time. I did something I never do; I put the other project aside and turned to Amory and Philip’s story. I’m so happy I did. And not just because The Prince’s Consort has become my first published novel (even though I’m still giddy about that!), but because I loved figuring out who Amory and Philip are and the world they live in, and what happens to them on their road to happily ever after. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I did writing it.


For a chance to win a copy of The Prince’s Consort, tell me about a time when you did the opposite of what you would normally do and the situation turned out better than you expected. Or did it not turn out so well?


Bio: Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.





Love and Fear with L.J. LaBarthe – Post + Giveaway

October 2, 2015


Hello everyone, I’m L. J. LaBarthe and I’m here to talk about my new release, “A Candle in the Sun.”


This book is the final book in my series, “The Archangel Chronicles.” It’s a little bittersweet for me, because it is the last book and it’s the end of working with these characters who have occupied much of my time and my brain. I have loved every moment of working on this series and I hope that readers have enjoyed it as much as I have.


“A Candle in the Sun” was conceived along with the previous two books just prior to my moving house. I wrote the book while I was in the middle of packing boxes and let me tell you, there’s nothing more exhausting than packing all the things you own when you want to get back to a book! I had the first draft down when I moved, and then when I was in my new home, I discovered something horrifying, nay, terrifying and beyond any disaster I can describe.


I had no internet.


This was the case for about six weeks and it was because I live in a valley and our cable/fiber network here in Australia isn’t that great. My ISP had to put an antenna on the roof of the place, and of course they couldn’t do that while it was raining and wet. And what happened in the first six weeks of writing? If you guessed that it rained and wet, you are spot on. It was incredibly frustrating because I needed to check things, and I had edits to do and it was just one of those times you want to bang your head on the wall and scream. Thankfully, once the internet was connected, I could get back into things but not having the internet right there at my fingertips made me realize just how much I relied on it for research.




The characters in the book rely on the internet as well—Max, the hacker character, provides a lot of information to lovers Gabriel and Michael and to their allies. Archangels they might be, but the two of them are not well versed in the ways of the internet, and their frustration was quite easy to relate to once I had no internet myself!


I’d always intended this book to be the end of this “chapter” if you will for the couples in the series. Michael and Gabriel are together, as are Raziel and Uriel, Adramelek and Lucifer, Baxter and Liam, and many others. They go through many ups and downs, some supernatural and paranormal, some not. Baxter has paranoias that Liam may not love him; Michael wonders why Gabriel stays with him when Michael thinks he himself is not that desirable; Adramelek can’t believe his luck that Lucifer wants him; Raziel fears that Uriel may get bored with him. And in between all of this is a conspiracy to destroy all non-Earth life—angels, demons, shifters, monsters—by a group of fearful, greedy humans.


Love and fear are two great motivators. The main characters are motivated by both—the love they have for each other in their romantic relationships, and for their nearest and dearest and the fear they have that they will be forever banished from the place that they’ve called home or treated as home for as long as they can remember. None of them want to give that up, and none of them want to lose the simple things that I think all of us want: freedom to live in peace, freedom to love and freedom to live without fear.


I’m doing a giveaway of “A Candle in the Sun.” To win a copy, leave a comment answering the following question: Name one of the couples listed above and what their relationship fears or worries are.


A lot of the action takes place in country Montana, which, the internet tells me, is absolutely beautiful. If you had to pick a place that was picturesque and good for a battle between the forces of good and evil, where would you choose?




There are a lot of characters in this book as in the preceding eight, but there is also a dramatis personae and I hope that I’ve done them all as much justice as they deserve. This series has been a labor of love for the last several years, now is time for me to move on. I’m making notes for a planned vampire detective quartet, and have a little book of many notes for other novels that I’m sure will end up being written. (I hope!)


Thanks for joining me today, and once again, please join in the conversation and giveaway.


Cheerio from Australia,


L. J. LaBarthe.

Check out A Candle in the Sun and the Archangel Chronicles!


All-American #Dreamer with Lex Chase

July 16, 2015

Hello Internet! It’s time to play ball as we celebrate this month’s #Dreamer Theme the American Dream!

Today, I’m joined by the red-blooded all American Dream Boy, aisa King Sevon Maraté. It’ll be our secret the gender-fluid king totally shirked his monarch duties to “research human culture” at a baseball game.

Of course, one must have appropriate human attire! Wearing elaborate gowns look terribly out of place.

With careful consideration (and prodding by this fan), Sevon elected to wear Red Sox attire in homage to a god called “The Bambino.” Come on now. Of course Babe Ruth is a god!

Sevon "blends" in.

Well… he kind of blends in right? Sevon, this is not a runway. You’re trying to be an ordinary guy at a baseball game. You’re just… um…way prettier than all the other guys. As much as I tried, Sevon couldn’t grasp the difference between being a “proper gentleman” and being a “dude-bro.”

Humans are delightful!

He’s clearly winning hearts and minds. Doesn’t look out of place at all.


Play ball! Sevon wondered if it was some kind of war game. Perhaps a spectacle? Does this Babe Ruth god require ritual sacrifice by beating in the skulls of his enemies with a bat?

You can see it’s going to be a very long day. *sigh*

Sevon's Friends

Sevon sought council with the players to further educate himself on the concept of “baseball.” They were more than willing to chat. More than willing, if you know what I mean. Sevon might have found himself a new suitor. Or three.

He does have that affect on gentlemen overcome by his beauty!

As the night wore on, and Sevon was certain no one was getting sacrificed to this Babe Ruth, he decided baseball was delightful! All aisa must learn how to play! Sevon will be ready and waiting in the outfield for the first pitch.


Thank you for joining Sevon and I on this little field trip. On behalf of the human hospitality, he’s offering a token of appreciation.

Sevon wants to know what is your favorite summer past time? Tell him all about it! The most educating comment will win a $10 USD Dreamspinner Gift Certificate!

Till then, follow Sevon’s journey in Chasing Sunrise as he struggles to break free from lies and betrayal to rise through the chaos of war.

Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase

Buy at DSP!

Join me next month as we’re going on a cruise. Bon voyage!

Special Thanks to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos and Pensacola Maritime Park.

Photography and Styling: Lex Chase | Sevon Cosplay: Mae Wynn Talley

Immutable Release Party – Fantasy

July 8, 2015

Immutable is my first full on fantasy story. The rest have been sci-fi. So why suddenly a fantasy story? Why a shifter not an alien? (Hmm, plot bunny…)

I didn’t used to read a lot of fantasy except for the books of the late Sir Terry Pratchett. Yet I love Terry Pratchett – you can see my tribute to him here. But I also didn’t used to read a lot of romance and now I write it. I’m one of the people who came to m/m romance via the fanfic route rather than the mainstream romance route. So the past really is no guide to the future.

I am a long time sci-fi fan, but in many cases more for sci-fi movies and TV shows than books. Though my all time favourite books remains The Hitchhiker’s guide to the Galaxy. I’m a fan of the optimistic vision of Star Trek, but even more when it’s tempered with uncomfortable reality – like in the Deep Space Nine series. I also love some grittier military sci-fi, like Aliens. So it’s a strange thing that I’ve even had the idea to write a fantasy/paranormal romantic story.

But my tastes are changing. Lately I’ve been reading a lot more fantasy, whether it’s classical high fantasy, like George R R Martin, or m/m urban fantasy like Psycop or SPECTR. And everything in-between. In fact several of my current favourite authors write at least some fantasy.

That’s not the only genre I’m reading more of. Crime is another, and I combined crime and sci-fi, along with romance of course, in my recent release Mapping the Shadows {link}

We change. At least in part because of the books we read and movies and TV we watch. Using the Goodreads site the past few years shows me the gradual change in my reading habits. We should always be open to getting into a new genre and never dismiss it out of hand because it’s not the kind of thing we usually read.

It’s not only reading. I’m working on moving out of my comfort zone, and expanding what I write. I’ve got an F/F sci-fi story published and a couple of short contemporaries. I’ve got a longer F/F contemporary drafted waiting for editing. I’ve got plans for a m/m near-future murder mystery story to write later this year. But I don’t think purely contemporary is for me. I always want an extra genre element to it – be it crime, fantasy or a zombie apocalypse. But the great thing is to explore and not assume there’s only one genre to read or to write.


Question – how have your reading habits changed over the years? If one of those changes was starting to read m/m fiction, how did you come to the genre?

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Immutable Release Party – Shifters

July 8, 2015

Immutable is my first ever shifter story. I’m not going to tell you what kind of shifter is involved, because spoliers! But I’ll tell you that it’s not a werewolf. Not that I have anything against werewolves. I love me a werewolf, be it Sergeant Angua in Pratchett’s Discworld books, or Oz in Buffy: The Vampire Slayer, or Scott McCall in Teen Wolf. But there are lots of different shifters besides werewoves around these days. Still lots of the classic wolves of course, but also plenty of big cats, and everything else from sloths to octopi.

Legends of humans that turn into wolves and other creatures are ancient, but continue to appeal today. Like many tropes that originate in horror stories, they are symbolic of our fears. Like vampires are symbolic of fears about sex and sexuality, and zombies are symbols of fears about contamination and disease. Shifters can symbolise the fear of the animal side of human nature and what happens if it is unleashed. They’re good for themes of identity too. Which am I, human or animal, or something else?

Attitudes to them are different though. They used to be scary, but shifters have followed the vampires into the romance genre. Maybe it’s because our attitude to animals has changed. People used to be more afraid of them or consider them dangerous pests. Now we tend to admire animals like wolves and big cats. At least those of us who don’t live near them and don’t have to deal with them eating our livestock or pets. So a shapeshifter can be romantic and sexy, though with that extra frisson of danger. The current, dare I say it, obsession, with Alpha Males in the romance genre may be a factor too. Make a character a wolf part of the time and the whole Alpha Male thing can be taken to literal extremes.

So shifters are fun to read about and maybe I’ll write more in the future. The nearest I’ve come to a shifter before this is a shapeshifting ship’s doctor in my Red Dragon series, who cycles between male, female and alien form. Zhe gets an extra uniform allowance.


Question – what’s the oddest shapeshifter you’ve seen? Mine would be the sloths, in a story by Charlie Cochrane in the Lashings of Sauce anthology. Being a sloth part of the time might not be as sexy as being a wolf or panther, but there’d be less racing over moonlit hills persued by hunters and more just hanging out and chilling. Sounds good to me!

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Immutable Release Party – Dream states

July 8, 2015

I mentioned earlier that the idea for Immutable came to me while snoozing in bed one morning last summer. Not quite asleep, not quite awake, I let it play out to its conclusion in my head. I say it arrived fully formed, but really, it was my mind telling itself the story, and being in a half asleep state, sliding quite easily to what happens next. The unconscious mind is stronger when you’re not fully awake, and the unconscious mind is much cleverer than the conscious mind. It knows all the things your conscious mind can’t hold the whole time. Trusting the unconscious—“the boys in the basement” as Stephen King calls it in On Writing—is important for a writer. When a writer is working on a story, then even when they aren’t consciously thinking about it, the unconscious mind is busy. When it’s got something worked out it shoves it up into the conscious mind and the writer says “this idea just came out of nowhere.”

It’s also the place where characters pick up their tendency to misbehave. Many writers find they can’t make a character do what the writer planned in a convincing manner while writing. The character seems to have a mind of their own. But really it’s the unconscious mind, which already knows the character best and knows what they would and wouldn’t do. Best to do as it tells you.

But back to dreaming and semi-dreaming states. I have had the germs of ideas from actual dreams before, but dreams are usually too wacky to write just as they happened and produce a coherent story with. My novel Higher Ground started as a dream, of climbing to higher ground, while water rose behind me. There were various other bits to it. But that only gave me a basic concept to start from. It took plenty of work to create characters and plot from that. Half-asleep daydreams on the other hand will be more coherent stories, but without the inhibiting powers of the wide awake mind which is too quick to jump in and say “stop that, it’s far too silly.” Creative snoozing is very useful to writers! (Yes, it’s one of the few jobs when napping can count as work.) It allows in odder ideas than the wide awake brain would have countenanced.

In Immutable Callum is in a kind of dream state himself. He’s in a thrall or trance part of the time and it lets him accept things he would otherwise have questioned. But this state is a fragile one, for the writer too. One car alarm going off outside and waking you up fully, and it’s popped like a soap bubble. The same for Callum (without the car alarm.) Once reality hits, his bubble is burst and his dream is over.


Question – ever had a great idea come to you in a dream or half asleep state? Did you act on it? Write it if you’re a writer? Did it make sense in the light of day?

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Immutable Release Party Excerpt and Giveaway

July 8, 2015

Immutable isn’t just my first none HEA story, and my first non-anthology story with Dreamspinner Press, it’s a first in lots of ways. It’s my first ever fantasy story. I’ve done a zombie novel before now, called Patient Z, but they were very much science fiction zombies. It’s my first shifter story. It’s my first set in a historical fantasy setting. It’s not quite my first story in First Person point of view, but it’s the first of those longer than a short story that I’ve sold. So because of all of those firsts I’m just dying to see what people make of it.

Here’s an excerpt from chapter 1, to see what you make of it! Keep going and at the end there’ll be a chance to enter to win a copy.

Chapter 1

The wind was cold that morning I found him. I remember. I’d come down to the beach when the sky was barely light. Fine rain misted my hair and clothes as I scrambled down the cliff path onto the sand.

I carried a basket on my back and began filling it with driftwood as I walked. Driftwood burns with a strange blue flame, but there were so few trees on the island it was the only type of wood we ever had to burn. Those who could afford it bought coal shipped over from the mainland. Me, I pick up the sea coal that washes ashore from the coal seams exposed under the water. I always pounced on a piece of that when I saw it, as if it were a diamond. Winter wasn’t far away. Ma wouldn’t make it through the winter if I didn’t keep the cottage warm enough.

I threw those thoughts off and continued along the beach, shoving driftwood in the basket, watching among the seaweed and pebbles for the precious sea coal. With my gaze glued to the sand, I didn’t spot the body until I was close enough to see instantly that it was a man. He lay on the wet sand, pale, almost gray in the morning light.

I ran, hoping—praying—not to find him dead. He was naked, but that didn’t surprise me. The sea can strip a body bare. I dropped the basket off my shoulders as I fell to my knees beside him. It toppled, spilling out its load.

The man lay facedown, his legs still in the surf, the waves breaking over them and ebbing as if trying to pull him back into the sea. He had skin as pale as ivory—not the skin of a sailor or fisherman exposed to the sun on deck all day. His exposed back was smooth and unmarked, without the tattoos or scars from the lash sailors often had. Hair as black as anthracite lay across his shoulders, a few strands of seaweed caught in it.

I laid a hand on him, fearing I’d find him cold and dead. But he was warm. I turned him onto his back. Nobody I knew. My island, Sula Skerry, was so small I knew the face and name of everyone who lived here. This face I’d never seen. This face… I’d never seen a face like it. Not even in schoolbooks about the legends of changelings and fair folk. For he was fair, God forgive me. I’d never seen a man so fair.

He lay against my arm, eyes closed, thick black lashes brushing cheeks marred only with wet sand. I touched his chest to feel if he still breathed. He did. I left my hand there, on that warm skin, as pale as the rest of him, one dark nipple under my palm.


I gasped at the sound of a voice and stared down at his face. He’d opened his large and dark eyes. So dark I couldn’t say they were any color at all, like I can say mine are blue. They weren’t merely dark brown; they were black. He’d spoken, and his mouth, his well-shaped lips, moved again. “I’m cold.”

The wind on his wet, naked skin must have been sucking the heat from him. I had to get him somewhere warm. I pulled off my jacket and wrapped it around him. But his long legs were still naked, and his…. I tried hard not to look at his member, for that’s a sin.

“Can you stand?” I asked him, grateful we understood each other. Sailors had been washed ashore here before, who spoke languages none among the islanders understood. I helped him up, but he sagged against me and I had to catch him in my arms to keep him from falling. I’d never get him up the cliff path to the cottage in this state. If I ran for help, he’d be dead of cold before I got back. I had a better idea.

“Hold on to me.” I hauled him toward the cliff face, a hundred feet or so along the beach, dragging my basket behind me. Good thing I’d been coming down here since I was a boy, when Ma was the one collecting the driftwood, and I’d followed behind her, barefoot, searching for shells or stones with holes in them—those were lucky—and always the precious sea coals.

With him lolling against my side and leaning heavily on me, I reached the mouth of a small cave. I’d first found it when I was eight years old. I’d hidden in it, listening to Ma calling me. “Callum! Callum!” A game to me, frightening to her the first time, fear in her voice that I didn’t understand. The cave seemed huge then, like a cavern. Fifteen years later I had to stoop over as I went into it, and I could reach the back in only a few steps.

It lay well above the high tide mark and only the worst storms ever reached into it, so there was little on the floor but dry sand. Some lichen grew on the walls. Nothing else lived here since it got sunshine only at dawn, as the sun rose over to the east and lit this cave low in the cliff for little more than an hour.

I lowered the man to the floor of the cave and he lay there shivering, despite having my jacket wrapped around him. What should I do? Go to the cottage and fetch him some clothes? Go to the village and fetch the constable or the doctor? I felt a strange reluctance to bring anyone else. I wanted him to myself.

“What’s your name?” I asked him.

“Breen,” he said, voice shaking as he spoke. “B… Breen.”

Breen? Where was that from? For all he spoke our language, he had a foreign look to him, with that coal black hair. Some of the shipwrecked sailors who washed up on the island before had skin browner than the most tanned and leathered of the shepherds and fishermen. This man had skin as pale as a highborn lady who’d never ventured out without a shady hat or parasol.

A fire. Yes. I could make a fire for him to warm himself by. I emptied my basket and built a fire at the mouth of the cave. Dried seaweed served for kindling, and I made a spark with the flint I had in my pocket. I blew softly on it until it caught and flames licked up. The wood ignited and the fire began to crackle. I hauled Breen closer to the mouth of the cave. A little smoke came in, but the wind was blowing from the north, down the beach, not from the sea, so most of the smoke blew away from us.

Breen sat up after a few minutes warming by the fire, pressed close against my shoulder. I didn’t know if the touch warmed him, but it sent a flush through me. Heat pooled low in my belly. I tried to ignore it. Mustn’t think on it. I could have left him then, gone up to fetch him some clothes from the cottage. He was out of the wind and had the fire and my jacket. He wouldn’t freeze in the time it took me to get there and back. But I didn’t want to go. I had a strange fear that if I let him out of my sight for even a minute he’d disappear.

“What’s your name?” he asked me suddenly, rousing me from a daydream, my mind full of… sin.

“Callum. Are you a sailor, Breen? Were you wrecked?”

“Wrecked?” He asked it as if he didn’t know what the word meant. He had an accent, not local, not even like the men who sometimes came from the mainland.

“Were you on a ship? Did it sink?”

“No. No ship.”

No ship? So how’d he come here? For he’d surely come out of the sea.

“A fishing boat?”

“It doesn’t matter,” he said. “I am here for you, Callum.”

“What?” I turned to him, thinking I’d misheard, or he’d misspoke, not knowing our language so well after all. His eyes were huge and so beautiful. Looking into them felt like falling into a tarn, or looking up into the night sky, at the velvet blackness.

“I have heard you call me,” he said, voice low, a dark, throbbing edge to it. He reached for me, his long fingers touching my face. Shock made me want to pull away. But the thrill down my spine at his touch—fingers still cold despite the fire—kept me riveted. I could no more stop him than I could fly. He leaned close. I thought he was speaking. His lips formed words, or perhaps my name, but my ears were full of the crashing of the waves and the crackle of the fire. His lips touched my mouth.

I closed my eyes. A kiss. He was kissing me. I’d never… not with a man, not a kiss. Some… fumbling with other lads, and a kiss with a lass or two, because they expected it, and because other people expected it, and it kept them from talking about me. But this… nothing had ever felt like this. His mouth slanted across mine, lips soft, but something hard behind them. No, not hard. Strong. His skin was smooth where mine was rough. I hadn’t shaved before coming to the beach.

His tongue—hot, wet—touched my lips. It should have been disgusting. Sin should feel disgusting, make me want to stop him, push him away, drag him out and toss him back in the sea that brought him. But instead it thrilled me. I wanted his tongue inside my mouth, and I opened my lips to him. It pressed in and found mine. Oh, God, to feel that for the first time. Like his tongue was a flint and mine was kindling. A spark and then flame.


If you’d like to read more check out the buy link below, or enter the contest to win an ebook copy. Comment and tell us about a memorable reading first. Maybe the first time you tried a genre you thought wasn’t your thing—and loved it. Or your first M/M book. Did it change your reading habits forever?

Answer by Friday 10th, 18:00 BST (that’s UK time) and you’re in with a chance to win.

Contest now closed. Thanks for entering and congratulations to the winner JJ.

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Immutable Release Party with Becky Black

July 8, 2015

Becky Black here. Afternoon, all, or evening, or morning wherever you are and welcome to my few hours hosting the blog for my release day party.

My Bittersweet Dreams novella Immutable is out today.


Every night, in the tiny cottage he shares with his dying mother, lonely young shepherd Callum dreams of having a lover by his side. A man to share his bed and his life. One day, as he gathers driftwood on the beach, he finds Breen, a beautiful, naked stranger. Breen makes love to him, leaving Callum certain he’s only a fantasy. But the stunning Breen is there again the next day—fulfilling Callum’s every wish. Then Callum’s hopes are shattered when he learns of Breen’s true nature. Panic and desperation drive Callum to commit a terrible betrayal to try to keep Breen from leaving him.

A Bittersweet Dreams title: It’s an unfortunate truth: love doesn’t always conquer all. Regardless of its strength, sometimes fate intervenes, tragedy strikes, or forces conspire against it. These stories of romance do not offer a traditional happy ending, but the strong and enduring love will still touch your heart and maybe move you to tears.


I’m pretty new to Dreamspinner, with only a couple of anthology stories with this publisher before this one. But I knew the Bittersweet Dreams line was the right home for this story, because it doesn’t come with a happy ending. And there was no way to get one in there, wrack my brains as I might. The story arrived fully formed in my brain just under a year ago. I remember the exact date in fact, 29th of July. I was snoozing in bed early in the morning on the last day of a visit to family, and this story began to play out in my half-asleep mind. Later on the train home I wrote up a long summary of the idea and a few days later I started writing the draft.

This was quite unusual for me. Normally I get a story idea, write some notes, then let it simmer away for a while until I decide to add it to the plans or not. This one didn’t work that way. It wasn’t on the plan, but I started writing it anyway, thinking it would only take a couple of weeks to write the draft, since it’s fairly short. Of course I kept trying to figure out how to give it a classical Romance happy ending, knowing that it would severely limit its market without one. But the story lived up to its title. It was Immutable. The plot ended up pretty much exactly as it had come to me that first day.

There’s plenty of sex in it, so maybe I could have sold it as erotica, but that didn’t feel right for it either. The story is about a romance, just one that doesn’t get to even a HFN, never mind a HEA. It’s still a hopeful story in the end, I think. Callum, the lead character, makes a big mistake and pays the price, but he learns from it and he’s going to move on and do better in the future.

So as I’d thought in the first place, Bittersweet Dreams was the best home for it and I was delighted when, after I’d edited and polished it, Dreamspinner Press accepted it. And today, 11 months and a week after I got the first idea, it’s out.

What about you, readers? Do you get an idea – for a story or any other project – and dive right in? Or do you ponder it and consider the idea from all angles and scheme about it for a while before you decide whether to go ahead or not?

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Series plan and another excerpt!

March 27, 2015

Find “The Serpent and the Angel” here!


Remember, while this might be Book 8 of my series, it is also book 2 of my Part 2 of the series. I have 5 parts planned and while the entire series should be seen as a cohesive whole, to make my life easier, I split the books into parts to make sure I stayed on track and told the story that needed to be told.


It’s certainly a struggle to balance the romance with furthering the overall plot, but I welcome the challenge. I feel that with every book I grow stronger in my writing skills (and research skills), and I really enjoying seeing my series unfold and reveal itself. Every single book offers me at least one surprising moment.


That is the struggle with these later books since the dominoes need to start falling as the series unfolds. Part one (Psychic Moon through Master’s Blood) was more of the introduction to my universe, and the characters and the groups I will be dealing with for the rest of the series. Now the rest of the parts will be focused on the various romances (of course) but also the workings of the villain Arcas and his allies. But the core of the series is still love and how each couple tries to save the day and prevent Arcas from reaching his goals.


Another excerpt!



The snake slowly slid out of the small hole it had been coiled in. Flicking its tongue, sensing no danger, it slithered and scraped over rocks and boulders, easily finding a path out of the rubble. It was hungry, but it didn’t smell any prey, which caused it to focus on finding an exit out of the tunnel. For some reason it didn’t want to hide and wait for prey, it wanted to find open air. Always going with instinct, the snake never questioned or doubted its senses. The long serpent easily made its way down the open tunnel, seeming to glide over the uneven ground and disjointed tracks. It wound around the mine carts, past the fallen pickaxes, constantly flicking its tongue.

It began to feel cool air over its scales and hesitated. Slithering to the side of the tunnel, the snake eyed the opening, flicking its tongue, again sensing no danger. It moved slower now, wary of the open air, the lack of protection. But something inside it urged it out, into the open; something seemed to push it forward. Keeping close to the side of the tunnel, it peeked out of the opening, into the dark. The moon was high, the stars shining, but the snake paid it no mind. All it saw was the wide expanse of land, and all it thought about was food and shelter.

But even as it was about to move across the darkened land, it sensed movement just outside the tunnel. Coiling into itself, the snake lifted its tail and lowered its face. Sound followed the movement, and the cause of that sound formed a shadow across the land. The snake flicked its tongue out, tasting the air, oddly familiar with the scent upon it. It wasn’t prey. It wasn’t predator. What was it?

A creature walked into sight. Again, there was an odd sense of familiarity. The known scent grew stronger as the creature seemed to notice the snake. The snake coiled tighter, muscles trembling. Its rattle shook louder.

“Never seen a rattlesnake as big as you before,” the creature said.

The snake didn’t understand. But Tobias did. It felt as though he surged upward, as if he was rising out of water toward the surface, straining for air. He saw through his snake’s eyes, smelled Angel’s scent. The snake fought, of course it fought, but Tobias knew he’d win. The snake wasn’t stronger than he was. It had never been stronger.

The snake shuddered as if in pain, and the rattle stopped moving.

Angel knelt in front of the snake, at a safe distance from a potential strike. Tobias stared into Angel’s face, using it as an anchor. He knew that face. He liked that face. When he’d changed, he’d been too scared, nearly panicked with the thought of death, that he hadn’t fully prepared himself mentally for the change. This caused his snake to take over fully, for him to lose who he was, his memories, his purpose, his personality. But now he fought, and he knew he would win. But he couldn’t allow Angel to see him change back. He couldn’t even allow himself to consider the outcome of that travesty.

Tobias took full control of his snake and struck out at Angel, never intending to bite, but trying to scare Angel away. Angel jerked back in shock with a yelp. Then Tobias turned and shot down the tunnel, into the dark. But even as he did, and as Angel’s scent faded, his snake began to fight back. Tobias held onto Angel’s face, his voice, his scent, and kept control. But he couldn’t hold the snake’s form as he kept remembering what it was like to be a human. He could only move past the first corner of the mine before the air shimmered. His skin rippled violently, and he fell to the ground, a human once more.

Gasping, shaking, Tobias’s skin flashed hot then cold. He was going to be ill; he knew he was, just like the first time. He curled into himself, his throat dry, his lungs heavy. He must have made enough noise to draw attention, because he suddenly heard someone running down the tunnel. It wasn’t long before Angel ran around the corner and skidded to a stop. They stared at each other for a long, humming moment before Angel dropped to his knees and yanked off his own coat, wrapping it around Tobias.

Then, to Tobias’s great shock, Angel pulled him into his arms and hugged him hard.

“Oh, thank the spirits. I knew it, I knew you had survived.” Angel’s voice was thick with tears as he rocked them both, his arms in an unbreakable hold.

Tobias didn’t know what to say. He still felt ill and was becoming more so by the minute. But right then, he closed his eyes and allowed himself to indulge for a moment. He took a deep breath, coughed, but still relished the scent of his deputy. Angel was so warm, the kind of warmth Tobias’s skin had never exuded. He curled into his deputy, remembering acutely the reunion with his parents so many years ago. It had been so different from this. He’d been slapped by his mother, yelled at by his father. His arm had been grabbed, and he’d been dragged to their carriage and berated the entire way home. There’d been no tears, no words of relief or joy.

He didn’t know what to make of Angel’s obvious affection or how to handle it.

Angel suddenly pulled back, and their eyes met again. Tobias’s eyes had adjusted to the darkness, and he could see his deputy’s face well enough to see something in his eyes that sent a spike of fear down Tobias’s spine.

“It was you,” Angel whispered. “You were the rattlesnake.”



Want to learn more? My website is here:


Do you like long series (20+ books) or would you rather a short one (under 10?) or do you prefer trilogies?


-M.D. Grimm


March 27, 2015

Hi there! Still promoting my story “The Serpent and the Angel” book 8 of my Shifters series.


As I stated in my first post, “The Serpent and the Angel” continues the story of the scrolls and their guardians. But I also wanted to mention that it also furthers the story of the main villain of my series: in present days, he’s known as Arcas, but he’s had many names over many centuries. Some of my readers might have guessed it already and that’s great, I really don’t want it to be a secret, but I also wanted a little intrigue and mystery surrounding my villain.


There’s a reason I spent some time describing Arcas’s sapphire blue eyes and his beauty. Lady Anne Blackthorn (Hunted Guardian) had sapphire blue eyes and was a great beauty. Another character will appear in “The Serpent and the Angel” that has the same eyes and similar beauty. Try and spot him! (yes, it’s a man).


My villain is just as important as my heroes, perhaps even more so. He works behind the scenes as well as occasionally stepping to the front. He has a goal/plan and nothing will stop him from executing it. ;) I really love to hate that guy.


What are your thoughts on villains? Do you love to hate them? Just plain hate them? Or would you rather see more of them in a story?