April 3, 2014
Us Three by Mia Kerick
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
When Casey, Nate, and Zander work on a class project together, a new bond forms. High school becomes more complicated for them. Us Three by Mia Kerick, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
In his junior year at a public high school, sweet, bright Casey Minton’s biggest worry isn’t being gay. Keeping from being too badly bullied by his so-called friends, a group of girls called the Queen Bees, is more pressing. Nate De Marco has no friends, his tough home life having taken its toll on his reputation, but he’s determined to get through high school. Zander Zane’s story is different: he’s popular, a jock. Zander knows he’s gay, but fellow students don’t, and he’d like to keep it that way.
No one expects much when these three are grouped together for a class project, yet in the process the boys discover each other’s talents and traits, and a new bond forms. But what if Nate, Zander, and Casey fall in love—each with the other and all three together? Not only gay but also a threesome, for them high school becomes infinitely more complicated and maybe even dangerous. To survive and keep their love alive, they must find their individual strengths and courage and stand together, honest and united. If they can do that, they might prevail against the Queen Bees and a student body frightened into silence—and even against their own crippling fears.
Length: Novel (180p.) | Genre: Contemporary, M/M/M or More, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: April 3, 2014
March 25, 2014
Go ahead, admire. I don’t blame y’all at all.
What do I love about this cover by Leah Kaye Suttle? It’s the color.
This book is set in late summer and the autumn in east Texas which is the Not Green part of the year, partially because you’re dying from the heat (late September is hell on earth) and partially because high school football season steals the energy from the ground itself. True story. Why homecoming alone requires months of planning.
Now don’t get me wrong, the sweet cowboy chest with the six-pack? Uhn. But Leah Kaye outdid herself with giving me that sense of dried out and damned near melancholy that I was hunting for and I’m pleased as punch.
Much love, y’all!
February 20, 2014
The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick
A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title
Bryan was a bully, until one morning he wakes up a different person—helpful and kind. But Scott, Bryan’s former victim, is not convinced. The Red Sheet by Mia Kerick, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.
One October morning, high school junior Bryan Dennison wakes up a different person—helpful, generous, and chivalrous—a person whose new admirable qualities he doesn’t recognize. Stranger still is the urge to tie a red sheet around his neck like a cape.
Bryan soon realizes this compulsion to wear a red cape is accompanied by more unusual behavior. He can’t hold back from retrieving kittens from tall trees, helping little old ladies cross busy streets, and defending innocence anywhere he finds it.
Shockingly, at school, he realizes he used to be a bully. He’s attracted to the former victim of his bullying, Scott Beckett, though he has no memory of Scott from before “the change.” Where he’d been lazy in academics, overly aggressive in sports, and socially insecure, he’s a new person. And although he can recall behaving egotistically, he cannot remember his motivations.
Everyone, from his mother to his teachers to his “superjock” former pals, is shocked by his dramatic transformation. However, Scott Beckett is not impressed by Bryan’s newfound virtue. And convincing Scott he’s genuinely changed and improved, hopefully gaining Scott’s trust and maybe even his love, becomes Bryan’s obsession.
With a foreword by C. Kennedy
Length: Novel (190p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: February 20, 2014
February 14, 2014
I am sending my hunky waiters around to serve you all some drinks Please enjoy while I share an excerpt from my book – Holding on to Hope.
Leslie felt eyes on her, and she looked across their table. A pair of freakishly blue eyes stared in their direction. They belonged to a man, a bit older in age—probably in his fifties, she guessed—with long gray hair. His face was round and wrinkled, making him look very ugly. He wore a black trench coat over a white shirt and a striped tie. Leslie noticed the big rings on his finger and deduced that he must be some wealthy man. However, his stare was making him appear scary.
When he realized he was caught in the act, his lips curved into a cold smile.
She quickly looked away and tried to concentrate on what her boyfriend was saying. However, Leslie kept getting the weirdest feeling that nothing around her was safe anymore. The worrisome thoughts kept her occupied. An unmistakable panic was slowly settling in.
All because of an old man who was probably innocently looking at the college kids as they sat right across from him and reminiscing about his past!
Leslie shivered. “Guys,” her voice wavered. “I’ll be right back.”
Thankfully, none of the boys noticed the change in her tone, and she quickly made her way to the ladies room. Once she was in, the first thing she did was empty her bladder.
Somehow, the old man had freaked her out so much that she felt the need to pee. She couldn’t put her finger on what it was exactly that triggered such emotions in her. This had never happened to her before.
She splashed some cold water on her face, fixed her makeup once again, and exhaled, feeling a lot better than before. Hoping that the old man was gone, she slowly stepped out.
Her heart felt lighter when she saw his seat was empty, and the smile then came easy to her. At that moment, she even wanted to laugh at herself for having a stupid panic attack.
After all, he was a harmless old man.
She found her boyfriend standing by the counter, buying another coffee for himself. She walked over to him. “I thought you promised me that you’d cut down on your caffeine consumption for a day.” Leslie narrowed her eyes. He looked at her like a deer caught in the headlights and smiled very cutely.
“I told you too much coffee isn’t good for my Patty-pie’s health.”
“I promise this is the last one,” he said and leaned down to kiss her. He obviously wasn’t going to keep his promise. But she let it slip. Pushing the matter wasn’t going to help. Leslie believed that Patrick needed to decide to stop on his own.
However, she couldn’t help but worry too.
When he broke the kiss, she shook her head, giggling slightly, and looked in the direction of their booth. “Where’s Brad?”
Patrick turned to look. “I don’t know. He was sitting right there before you came back out.” They trailed back in the direction of their booth. “Maybe he went to the restroom.”
“Couldn’t have happened.” Leslie shook her head. “Or else I would have seen him when I came out.”
“I don’t understand.” Patrick gazed at her. “He was right here a minute ago, talking to the old dude, and I went to get….”
“Old dude?” Leslie’s heart skipped a beat. “Who?”
“I don’t know who he was, but I guess he was sitting in this booth.” He pointed to the space where the scary old man had once been. “He came over to Brad and was like, ‘Can I talk to you in private?’ So I just left the booth for them to talk.”
“Pat!” Her blood was running cold by then. “How could you leave him alone with a stranger?”
“Baby, overreact much?” Patrick looked around, and Leslie realized that everyone was looking in their direction. “Brad is not a little child.”
“Hey, what’s the matter?” Ian’s voice interrupted them, and Pat tightened his jaw.
Leslie tried to calm herself down before replying. “Brad is… I don’t know… he went somewhere. It’s probably nothing, but Pat says he was talking to this old man before and….”
“Shit, no!” Ian yelled. “Old man? What did he look like?”
There was panic in his eyes, and his voice and fright suddenly found a home in Leslie’s system. “Freakishly blue eyes, wrinkled face, Rings on his fingers.”
“Long gray hair?” Ian asked anxiously.
“Yes!” Leslie was certain something pretty awful had happened to Brad, and she couldn’t stop cursing herself for lack of better judgment. “Ian, do you know something?”
His lip quivered. “I do.” He stepped closer and looked between the two of them. “Brad is in big trouble right now, and there’s only one person who can get him out of it.”
February 14, 2014
I am Sid Love – the author of newly released DSP Book titled – “Holding on to Hope” and today I am here to celebrate this special moment of my life. After all, my dream of becoming a published author has finally come true!
What am I planning on doing here?
To spend some time with you guys and have a blast!
Let’s start, why don’t we have some music on, eh? Here’s my pick of song – “Applause” by Lady Gaga! I have bribed the DJ and he will be taking requests from all of you, so don’t be shy and let us know what song you think would set the party mood.
And since, it’s Valentine’s Day, it definitely calls for a double celebration. I love this day so much because I believe in it strongly So does my main character Bradley Parker and that belief strengthens when he meets his Mr. Right on the Valentine’s Day -
Bradley Parker has waited twenty years for Mr. Right, and on Valentine’s Day, he finally finds him. It’s love at first sight, and Brad even loses his virginity to the man of his dreams. But when he wakes up the next morning unable to remember anything—even what the man looked like—his best friend, Leslie, is convinced he imagined the whole thing. Brad knows he didn’t make up the best night of his life, but he has no idea of the danger he’s putting himself in as he struggles to recall the details of his perfect man. His search may lead him to parts of New York City he never dreamed existed and a war being waged in the shadows.
If you wish to ask me anything about me or the book or anything in general, please feel free to post your question in the comments below. I will try and make sure that it is answered.
Also, I will be giving away an e-copy of my book. Every commenter to my posts gets entered into the contest automatically so don’t forget to leave a comment!
January 13, 2014
This will be my last post.
I’ve taken their junior year in high school, revamped it, and added 66% more (yes, I’ve done the math). This book is called Private Display of Affection and written under the pen name Winter Sandberg. Yes, components of Spark are in it but the sexual bits are toned down. If you have a gay or bisexual son or nephew or friend, this might be a book for them. I address issues in PDA that men having sex with men will never get in a traditional sex ed class. I did that so teens might have a place to go for answers. You may enjoy it even more than them, because you get a better glimpse at what’s happening in Kevin’s head in this book, unlike in Spark, where he was often left out of the equation because of how the story was structured.
And It is my hope that I can write Hugo and Kevin’s senior year in high school as well. So far, it is much more Kevin’s story than it is Hugo’s in the planning stage, but that makes sense after Hugo’s tumultuous junior year.
One thing I tend to do is keep storyboards alive on Pinterest. I try to do this for each and every story, so if you want to follow me, feel free, or if you want to follow individual stories, peek around. I play on Facebook, Tumblr, Pinterst, Google+, and other places too. I love connecting with new people, but I may be a bit shy at first. I also try to keep Winter Sandberg separate from Posy Roberts for the most part, but keeping up with the various sites does get exhausting.
So for my very last question of the night, what changed between the time you were 16 and the time you were an adult in your romantic relationships? I got a lot more practical or “realistic, ” if you will. How about you? I still expect magical kisses and moments that sweep me off my feet, but not nearly as often as I did at 16 years-old.
January 13, 2014
Have you ever started out writing a story and ended up incorporating a ton of symbolism you never knew you’d truly add until later? Maybe that only works for writers or film makers. But, yeah. The North Star. That wasn’t the title of this trilogy in the beginning. In fact, there was no fancy title tying the books together. And then after North Star was chosen, I felt I had to completely retitle each books.
Yes, I’m a total dork. Let’s just get that out of the way. I live in Minnesota, North Star is set in Minnesota, and… dun, dun, dun, the nickname of Minnesota is the North Star state. It’s all over the place here. We used to have the Minnesota North Stars who were then sold and became the Dallas Stars. That’s hockey in case you didn’t know. Don’t feel bad. All I knew growing up next door in North Dakota was the Vikings (cuz they could never be counted on to win) and the Twins (for occasionally pulling it out of the bag – 1987 and 1991!).
I will now share my working titles because they are so lame. Spark was logically The Lake. Fusion was called The City. Flare was called Grounded or Suburbia, depending on what part of the process I was in. After all, I wrote all three rough drafts very quickly so being creative with the titles wasn’t really on my list of priorities. There were very few edits along the way because I wanted to get my thoughts down as fast as I could. Then I spent ages—a year—editing before I submitted all of these stories.
The North Star became very important after Kevin gave Hugo a gift in high school with an engraving on it. There’s a quote right on the front cover of Spark that shows how important those word were, even if not immediately recognized.
So you’ll always know your way.
Sometimes our characters surprise us, and Kevin certainly shocked me. I knew he was thoughtful when he gave his gift of a keychain to Hugo, but I had no idea how important this would become for years and years. And that wasn’t it. There was more with these guys. They were comfortable with each other in a way that they never felt with anybody else, even lovers or best friends they had over the years. Hugo almost felt this close with his best friend Summer, but not quite. Kevin always had something over him, even if we can never define it. And I’m totally okay without defining it.
Have you ever had that? Have you had some symbol (words, pictures, stars) that had meant more to you than you can share with most people? I think of jewelry I shared with boyfriends in high school. With my husband, I think of little notes he wrote to me, poems, haiku he wrote for me. You don’t have to share exactly what those symbols are if you’d rather not, but how did they transcend typical communication so you truly knew things were different this time?
Also, for those of you who are caught up until book 3, Flare, do you think the first two working titles worked? Why? What should new readers know before delving in?
January 13, 2014
So, how do you fit the real world into romance? Or why would you even want to? In Flare, I wanted to.
I started reading romance novels written for teens in the 1980s. I think they went under the monicker Wildfire Romances. OMG, I found a link to the spines of some. LOL! They were set in modern times, and the story almost always ended after boy and girl got together. And then I quit reading romance altogether for years. When I started again, my tastes quickly morphed.
I’ve obviously moved past boy and girl meeting and falling in love, and shifted to men going crazy for each other. But I also love a romance to go beyond the “Yes, I want to be with you” and the “I love you” moments.
I like to go deeper.
I like to see how those couples will survive outside the bubble of initial romance and lust, because that is the true test! Getting past “I love you” is hard, but it is nothing compared to dealing with real life or a chronic illness or a secret you’re positive will change everything.
Some of this comes from my personal experiences. I deal with chronic illness that has transformed me from the very energetic 18 year-old my husband met in college into someone who needed to temper herself and slow way down or I’d be bed bound for days. And then our baby was born. She was beautiful and sweet, but the poor child couldn’t swallow her own saliva without choking/aspirating, and she needed multiple operations to resolve all of her birth defects, not to mention the years of using a feeding tube before she could eat like the rest of us.
So how does a couple survive difficulties like these? Hugo and Kevin lived through the challenges they faced in Fusion. When I named book 2, I was thinking of cold fusion, even if it is still a hypothetical. But how do you survive beyond a bonding crisis like they experienced? How do you still live and love each other without the intensity of emotions you felt during the crisis? Sometimes you can cope better than you can in everyday life. When things become mundane, how do keep interested? And what do you do to keep life from getting stale?
This is what Flare is about and why the cover is green! Haha. It’s about finding life after death. Of course, Hugo and Kevin’s lives are much more interesting than my own ever could be.
That is reality for most of us at one point in our lives or another. Is it grief from the loss of a parent or partner? Is it being laid off or fired from a job? Or substance abuse to cope with? Or is it a medical crisis?
I think this is truly where the meat, the heart is in relationships. This is where it is enriching to watch and read about people growing and becoming more than they were at the beginning, especially when life is crisis free. “I love you” is easy now, but “I like you” or “I’m disappointed in you” might be harder. And how do you move past that so you can continue to grow, not just individually but as a couple?
That is what I really want to explore when I write romance. I want to explore the iceberg underneath.
What sort of depth do you enjoy in romance stories? When is too much, too much?
Have you ever related so much to a character that it’s scary?
January 13, 2014
To say Kevin, Hugo, and the kids had a bad six months in book two of North Star, Fusion, is an understatement. In Flare, they are coming out of that funk and trying to live again. Hugo has started to take more work because Kevin hired a nanny, Rowan, and insisted Hugo take more jobs… better jobs. That brings about a whole new set of stressors, and Summer wants to help give the guys a break while sharing the great outdoors with the kids.
Here’s an excerpt from Chapter Ten of Flare.
SUMMER AND Russell had insisted on taking the kids camping up north in the Iron Range. Rowan begged to go along too once she heard where they were headed. They’d be spending a week in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area, portaging from one body of water to another, cooking over an open flame, and camping in the wilderness. Kevin had been more than pleased they hadn’t asked him to join them—at thirty-six years old, sleeping on the ground rather than in a bed was not what it had been at sixteen. He also made sure Rowan knew what she was truly getting into before she agreed. Apparently her time in Montana had toughened her up to roughing it, and she was looking forward to a week in the forest.
“There’s been enough crazy, in a bad way,” Summer had said as a way to convince Kevin to agree to their plans. “Now Brooke and Finn need crazy in a good way. They need to see all the beauty that’s out there for them to explore.”
“Says the nature girl who’s gonna wear makeup every day she’s camping.” Hugo teased her despite all the time Kevin had heard him refer to Summer as his Earth Mama.
“Shut it, Cherrie. You love makeup just as much as I do,” she retorted, and Kevin couldn’t help but laugh at the good-natured banter between best friends. It was even funnier when Hugo shrugged, clearly giving the points to Summer on that argument, and then he watched Hugo pull out his pomegranate-raspberry lip balm and dramatically spread it over his lips, then smack them in Summer’s direction. Hugo could be a sassy little tease when he wanted, and apparently right then, he wanted to be. Kevin pulled his head back into the original conversation about camping, pushing out his desire to lick and suck at Hugo’s glistening lips.
“But you’ll be out in the middle of nowhere without cell phone coverage,” Kevin said, airing his fear of not being able to get in contact if something went wrong like a nightmare or injury.
“That’s part of the beauty, Kevin. Kids nowadays are too connected. Getting them away from electricity will be good for ’em. How else will they learn about how hard life is without power? And we’ll take care of everything else. Seriously,” Summer said with such conviction as she held out a complicated compass in her palm as if the antiquated tool should somehow remove all doubt. Kevin relented because he trusted her. Summer was a teacher, after all, taking care of twenty-odd kids on a daily basis. And there were Rowan and Russell as well.
Of course, Kevin had also gone to REI and spent far too much money on camping gear for his kids, demanding the best of everything. Hugo had laughed, reminding him about the time in high school when they had literally slept outside on one of their fishing trips because Kevin had forgotten the tent in his garage beside his dad’s car.
“They’ll survive without GPS and platinum sporks. I promise,” Hugo teased as they waved good-bye to the kids while Russell drove away.
Kevin and Hugo, on the other hand, were spending their second to last week of summer at the lake floating on the water, water-skiing, and trying to make the most of their time together. Lulu lazed about, sunning herself on the dock and then moving to the shady part of the deck, even getting in the water and swimming about to cool herself off.
It had been a trying few months with all the legal bullshit and the time Hugo had spent away from home. Despite his concerns over his kids being in the wilderness, they were with three responsible adults, and he honestly needed to have some time to relax.
As soon as it was dark out, Hugo had stripped, unsurprisingly, and jumped off the end of the dock.
“Always skinny-dipping, aren’t you?” Kevin joked.
“Always following me in, aren’t you?” Hugo looking up at Kevin who was still standing on the dock fully clothed. It was so dark out, just a sliver of the moon and tiny pinpricks of stars dotting the sky. Kevin could barely see Hugo from the nipples down because he was treading water. His pale body floating atop the dark surface was another story altogether, and moments after that thought flew through Kevin’s mind, he was dropping his clothes to the wooden dock.
Kevin jumped in the cool water and swam close to Hugo, then wrapped his arms and legs around his torso so Hugo was forced to tread water for both of them. Hugo drifted closer to shore and was soon planting both feet on the lake bed rather than struggling against the water. He held on to Kevin’s ass, holding him up, pulling him in tighter.
“I am always following you, you know that?” Kevin said.
“I’ve noticed, but why?” Hugo gave him a sly, sweet smile.
“Something about you always knowing where you’re going or some such nonsense.” Kevin smirked as he tugged on Hugo’s North Star pendant.
Nature is a huge part of North Star, and Hugo and Kevin find many ways to relax outdoors: fishing, swimming, ice skating, water skiing, hiking, boating, to name a few. I’ve been many places to relax, and water is one of the best tools to help me feel calm.
Where was the most serene place that helped you truly shed the worries of your world? What was it about that place that made it so relaxing? Or is there a locale you want to visit that you think will be “your spot”?
January 13, 2014
Friendship is at the heart of the North Star Trilogy and especially Flare. Hugo and Kevin have been friends—great friends—since they were in high school, even if there were years where they didn’t interact. When they meet again as adults in the book Spark, that friendship blossoms as if they were never apart. So does their love affair. But Hugo and Kevin both have very different experiences when it comes to friendships with other people.
Hugo makes friends very easily. He’s quite social, even if he does appreciate his alone time as well. He’s lived in his community of Uptown, Minneapolis socializing with many of the same people for years and his best friend is Summer, who is very outgoing. He also knows people around town by name and asks pertinent questions when he sees them. This makes him feel like he’s part of his community, which is important to him.
Kevin has a very different experience, in part because of how his father would pick and choose his friends when he was a kid. Kevin wasn’t ever given opportunities to make friends on his own because his dad always stuck his nose in Kevin’s business and dictated who was the most beneficial friend. In college and later in life, Kevin found it was easier to make friends though other people, like his wife, Erin or through the country club or even his job. He never truly trusted his own instincts because of the emotionally abusive things his father ended up doing to him, causing Kevin to doubt many decisions.
Yet, in Flare, Hugo and Kevin need to put down roots and make a stable home for Kevin’s kids, Brooke and Finn. That means nurturing or making new friendships for both men, but they run into the problems in Flare because of their differences.
It’s always been my suspicion that Kevin could more easily be friends with Hugo because he was his lover too. Somehow his dad’s “programming” didn’t get to those parts of his thinking, and he’s more able to let go and open up with Hugo than anyone else. He’s also more able to trust his own instincts with the more intense relationship of a boyfriend or girlfriend.
Friendships are amazing, but of course, we can’t have rich friendships with everyone. What does it take for you to go deeper with a friend? Do you find it scary when you go deeper? I sure do. I emailed a friend a very long note the other day, and five minutes after I hit Send, I wanted the email back. But I’m very glad my friend read it in the end. It made us just a little bit closer, but it was a risk.
I’ve also lost friends I’ve been very close to, and that’s never fun, even if I’m glad I had those people in my life for the short time they were there. I grew from knowing them or from what we endured together. What makes it worth loving and losing for you?
I’m also an ambivert like Hugo, which mostly manifests itself in me being terrified to meet people and leery to share the “real me” with them. What’s the hardest part about meeting new people for you?