Release Day Party — Gerry’s Lion

April 24, 2015

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Greetings Everyone! Welcome to the Release Day Party for Gerry’s Lion!

This novel is my first full length novel with Dreamspinner Press and I’m so thrilled to be able to hold a copy of my work in my hands. Today we’re going to talk a little about the story, I’ll talk about some of my inspiration. In there somewhere I’ll give away some e-books, and I’ll be choosing the winners from folks who respond to my end of post questions in the comments. I love to chat, so feel free to ask me anything!

So first a little more of an in person intro from me:

Gerry’s Lion

Gerald Tanner lost the piece of his life he loved most, his husband Adam. When faced with the prospect of another Christmas with a family who thinks he’s better off now that Adam is gone, Gerry decides instead to revisit the memory of when they met, and boards a Christmas cruise on the Sunrise. He’s not expecting to meet Leo Ystrabov. He certainly never imagined the courageous young man would challenge him into feelings of desire and the possibility of a love that isn’t his precious Adam.

Leo Ystrabov doesn’t quite know how to handle the shattered heart Gerry presents so hesitantly. But the offer is precious, and Leo can’t resist. However, with two families none too eager to accept them and a lot of baggage on both sides, their relationship faces an uphill battle. Leo will have to find his courage to be the lion Gerry sees in him.

I know, sounds a little heavy. There’s a lot of angst in this story for some pretty obvious reasons. So, what attracts you to gay romances? Do your prefer a certain kind? I’m a sucker for a period piece. How about you?

Time To Desert the Desert

March 19, 2015

Well, that about wraps it up for me.The cookies are done and the verdict is…not so good. They spread despite chilling out in the fridge for awhile. Oh, well.

I saw an old travel poster and decided I couldn’t afford to start buying old travel posters, so I recreated it.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a little insight into Something To Die For. It’s available now on Dreamspinner Press, Amazon, and your favorite ebook retailer.

 

Don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a copy! I’m going to be hanging out, answering comments, and looking out for the winner of the giveaway. I’ll make one last post to announce the winner later on, so check back in a few hours or tomorrow to see if you’ve won.  If you are the winner, please comment on my blog and I’ll get back with you.

Please check out Something To Die For by me, Piper Doone. Out now.

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

 

Thank you.

Call For Backup!! And a Giveaway

March 19, 2015

Calling in for Backup…and a giveaway!

 

As much as this is Josh and Adam’s (and the desert’s) story, there are a number of important secondary characters in  Something To Die For.

 

And I want to talk about them so badly, but in the words of River Song on Doctor Who…spoilers.

 

I can say right off the bat we meet Josh’s husband, Sergio. Sergio is an amazing guy: patient, kind, playful, sexy, and gorgeous. And so not what he seems.

 

Josh and Sergio’s kids, as well as Josh’s mother and siblings, figure heavily in the story as anchors for his sanity. Or do they? Because there are others who show up and throw that idea on its head, leaving Josh to wonder just who is real and who isn’t.

 

Saying too much more would give it all away…so, in that spirit…let’s do a giveaway!

 

In the comments, tell me the most magical, inspirational place you’ve ever been to. The more unusual, the better! This isn’t your typical café in Paris or three weeks in the Alps kind of question. Mostly because I haven’t been on real vacation in over a decade. Well over a decade, actually.

 

If you have photos, show us! Tell everyone about the time you took a wrong turn in Kenosha and ended up almost getting eaten by a moose and you were taken in by a kindly old couple who housed you for a night and you learned to crochet and make maple syrup pie.

 

Winner receives a copy of Something To Die For!

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

Mysteries of the Desert

March 19, 2015

When I was promoting Playing Hard To Forget (looky…it’s on sale, too, for $5.24. Would you look at that), I talked about how the wolf has figured into my family history for a thousand years. On my father’s side, the history was bloody and my family became known as wolf-slayers in Scotland around the turn of the last millennium thanks to an ancestor who saved the King from an attacking wolf in the forest.

 

So when I began having dreams of being in the desert at night with an old man speaking to me in a language I understood at the time but never when awake, hidden among the bush as a wolf stood guard to protect me from the dangers outside the protective circle of the fire and plants, my mother became fascinated by them and was obsessed with finding its meaning. This was well before I learned of my father’s side’s history.

 

Many bottles of sunscreen later, I still don’t know what they meant. All I do know is that the desert was its own character in my dreams. There was danger outside the light of the fire and the desert had sent protection for me. The only thing anyone can agree on is that it was odd that I was dreaming of a wolf, an animal not seen in the desert for many, many years, and not a common coyote.

 

I’ve always held the desert in high regard since then.

I call this one “Agave Agave Everywhere…and not a drop (of Tequila) to drink)

But a few years ago, I saw something that left me, for lack a better term, completely freaked me out. And it was then that the seeds of Something To Die For were planted.

 

I still have trouble processing what I saw into words, which, as a writer, really says something about me that using my words is difficult.

 

What I will say is that writing Something To Die For was a way for me to come to terms with what I saw that night. Giving it some humanity and a happy ending was something I needed to do, whether it got published or not.

 

I needed my desert to be the place it once was–my protection, my safe place. I didn’t want to think of it in the context of that horrid night and turning the story into something I could control from start to finish was a form of therapy for me.

 

In Something To Die For, just like in my dreams, the desert is a secret main character. Josh needs his desert to ground him. It is a part of him and helps him to get to where he needs to be.

 

But beyond all that, it’s a love story. The love story of Josh and Adam. And a love story from me to my desert.

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

(Cookie update—the dough is chilling in the fridge. I’ve eaten 4 spoonfuls now. Everything seems good from here. I must do further research, though)

The Music of the Desert

March 19, 2015

 

An easy way to get into the mood of Something To Die For is to load up everything Queens of the Stone Age and toad the wet sprocket ever did. If you want to get specific, listen to the entirety of QotSA’s Like Clockwork and toad’s High on A Riverbed (from Pale), Hope (From In Light Syrup) and Reincarnation Song (from Dulcinea) and you pretty much have my obsessive playlist that fueled the writing of this story. Throw in a little Civil Twilight’s Letters From the Sky, some One Eskimo’s Amazing*, and a few other random alternative rock and you’ve got a soundtrack of sorts.

*secret time: this song makes me tear up like WHOA. It was one of those “first songs I heard after a tragedy” type thing and it was a poignant song to hear at that moment and three years later I still have to lie and say there’s something in my eye. Damn it.

 

It’s no secret that I need music to be able to write. Playing Hard To Forget was a crazy combination of folk tales and 80s Dark Wave and Something To Die For was no different in its development.

 

Josh Tucker, named so for the Joshua Tree that only grows in the Mojave Desert, seems like he has the perfect life when we first meet him. He has a gorgeous husband and two amazing children. He has a great job and a nice home and he’s close with his mother and siblings, all of whom have a similarly great life.

 

But when is that ever anything like reality, right?

 

Cracks start to show very early on that things aren’t what they seem. The chaos that Josh descends into is very much the intense cacophony of a Queens of the Stone Age song. The flashes that come through the cracks are loud and confusing and makes him wonder just what is real and what isn’t. Queens’ songs are driving and percussion heavy. They’re fast and come at you from every direction. And in that chaos, in those cracks, there’s truth, and it may be shitty truth, but it’s there and it’s real.

My accomplishment of the YEAR was crawling down there to get this pic while I was wearing TIGHTS and a DRESS and I didn’t get a run.

Adam Davis is a mystery and one that is at the center of all the confusion. Is he telling the truth or is he a product of Josh’s decreasing sanity? That Josh (and by extension, us) doesn’t know if Adam is really there lends him an impish, supernatural quality. He appears and disappears at random and there’s no real way to prove what he’s saying is true. But he’s earnest and seems desperate for Josh to believe what he’s saying and there’s a sincerity in Adam’s tone that makes Josh think twice.

It’s weird to say I modelled these characters after bands’ styles, but, yeah, the impish earnest (for lack of a better term) of a toad the wet sprocket song is pretty much Adam (in the way that toad can be singing about the most depressing subject ever but still do it in a way that sounds almost upbeat and hopeful).

 

If you do YouTube any of the songs up there, and you like them, throw the artists some cash and buy their stuff.

Listen to the soundtrack here:

https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAcHqWJyh_nv8wGCd4-hdl4eEpQf-yROb

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

Two updates:

1) Just got a great review for Something To Die For:

The characters were very likable, the storyline kept me turning the pages till it was over, and it was something new and fresh to read. I really enjoyed it. 

It’s About The Book reviews–4.5 Stars

and 2) I now have my youngest kid doing the cookies because he’s bored and needs something to do. He took a year of culinary last year in 6th grade, so I think he can do them justice?

About Piper Doone: A Primer

March 19, 2015

Piper Doone only does biographies of herself in third person. She works in professional sports during the day and before that she worked for Disney.

She is a treasure trove of recessive genes. She’s red headed, hazel-eyed, left handed, she can’t roll her tongue into that little hot dog bun shape that everyone else can make, her second toe is longer than all her other toes, she has hitchhiker’s thumb (look it up), and when she clasps her hands together, it’s right thumb over left.

She like The Monkees over The Beatles and The Rolling Stones over both of them. She doesn’t think The Clash is any good and doesn’t know why people look at her funny when she says that. She’s way too into Canadian indie music for her own good

She has a  pretentious screenwriting degree but her favorite movies are The Mummy and The Parent Trap (the original, not that remake that doesn’t actually exist, damn it), and she can quote every line from The Fifth Element instead of, like, whatever people with screenwriting degrees are supposed to like (probably foreign? Something French?).

Her preferred gym entertainment is reruns of Law and Order: SVU.  And new episodes of SVU. And, if I may take the opportunity here in public, that new detective, Carisi, is a-ok in my book. And by a-ok, I mean he’s really cute.  I hope this gets indexed by Google. Hey, here’s my blog…stop by. Wink wink. Also, here’s my Twitter. And I’m on Facebook….

She loves Cuban food. Like, a lot. A lot a lot.

She has a costume closet and never goes out in public without being in some kind of character, complete with name and backstory— Serena, the alcoholic trophy wife who had to give up her career as a ballerina when she married a rich investment banker, but never gave up the dream; Mallory, the poor art student who dropped out of school to run away to Coober Pedy to marry an opal mine owner; Mitzy, the Palm Beach wannabe heiress who dresses from head to toe in Lilly Pulitzer because that’s how she thinks all Palm Beachers dress; Christy-Sue, the southern university football coach’s wife who’s as sweet as pie in the streets and trash in the streets…. Because she lives in Miami and Miami, believe it or not, can be so boooorrriinnngg and why not have a little fun, right?

She is an archer and named her bow Janosz Bow-ha, after Peter McNichol’s character from Ghostbusters 2,  Janosz Poha.

She raises and breeds hedgehogs so she can give them stupid names like HedgeHäagen-Dazs, Quilliam Shakespeare, Quilliam Shatner, Peter Quill, Se-Quill (the second quilling),  and Josh Hedge-homme.

She is a photographer and is never without her camera. She uses a Pentax ME Super SLR  and a Pentax k-30 because her mom’s old lenses from the 70s fit both and HAVE YOU PRICED LENSES LATELY OH MY GOD.

Yucca of some sort…I’m a photographer not a gardener

 

She has run out of things to say now….

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

The Living Desert

March 19, 2015

When I was promoting my last book, Playing Hard To Forget, I talked a bit about my weird experiences in the desert. Something To Die For was born out of some of those experiences.

I, being of red hair and see-through skin, really don’t belong in hot, sunny climates, but I keep finding myself in them. My skin keeps saying, “Move to Seattle. Save on sunscreen. Buy a pine tree farm,” but fate keeps flicking me off and throwing me to the hottest places on the whole of Earth.

It takes a special type of person to survive in extreme climates. My stupid body is stupidly efficient in temperatures above 90 and even more so when there’s the oppressive humidity of a tropical rainforest climate added to it, like where I live now.  I have the horrible feeling that even if I managed to outrun my destiny and move to a place unlike the desert or the tropics, where everything tries to kill you all at once, I would probably be dead of hypothermia within six minutes of any temperature under 50.

So, maybe there’s a reason I keep finding myself living amongst the palm trees, yucca, and agave I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with. I mean, it’s not all bad, I guess. Extreme climates tend to harbour extremely weird subcultures of people and I guess I have to count myself among their numbers. Beach bums, desert rats, island bums, we can’t do things the way the rest of the world does things and that’s okay.

And our stories are amazing.

 

Something To Die For takes place in the Mojave Desert. Things exist there that don’t exist anywhere else, like Joshua Trees and Palm Springs’ obsession with midcentury modern architecture.

But beyond that, the desert is alive. It’s its own character with a personality and motivations. As a child I used to frequently dream about being there at night. The desert protected me. The plants hid me from danger and the coyotes (and, unrealistically for modern times, the gray wolf, which is no longer roaming the deserts and hasn’t since well before I was born) stood guard.

Today I will be talking about some of the experiences and stories that led to Something To Die For, as well as other inspirations from music and pictures and I will be doing a giveaway as well.

 

 

 

I like painting the desert. I also like torturing myself with those 50 cent bottles of acrylic paint from the craft store instead of oils or whatever I’m supposed to use that probably costs a lot more.

I hope you’ll join me for the story behind the story.

 

Something To Die For

(a brief update on the Southern Living Best Chocolate Chip Cookies EVER recipe experiment mentioned in my first post: it’s 3/4 butter and 1/4 shortening. Is that the secret to making it the best? Stay tuned)

Something To Die For Release Party!

March 19, 2015

Okay, boys and girls! Sit down and strap yourselves in ‘cuz we gon’ have a release party!

The Dreamspinner Press people were so kind to let me, Piper Doone, steal the blog today to talk about Something To Die For, out March 18.

I mean, sure, I had to sneak past three security guards, four locked doors, and barricade the door behind me, but the point is that they haven’t broken that door down yet, so until that happens, this baby is all mine!

 

Stay tuned for behind the scenes insights, music, inspirations, a giveaway, and possibly even an honest review of the new cookie recipe I’m trying out in between posts (I picked up an old Southern Living cookbook that promises they are the best cookies ever. We’ll see).

Something To Die For

Josh Tucker lives a blessed life—great job, great family, perfect husband, and two wonderful children—but a mysterious man named Adam who haunts his dreams and soon his waking life threatens everything when he stirs doubt as to whether any of it is real. Adam makes Josh question the world he’s taken for granted—as well as the origins of Adam himself.

Even if Adam’s claims are true, Josh has nothing to live for beyond his fabricated life—except the possibility of a real man out there somewhere who can love him. Josh is left with an impossible choice: stay in his delusion where he’s assured some happiness or take a great leap of faith for a chance to make a life with Adam.

Release Party MOMENT OF TRUTH (Book 2 of the Moments In Time series) – part one

March 5, 2015

 

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Hi everyone! I’m Karen Stivali and I’ll be here for the next few hours to talk about my brand new release MOMENT OF TRUTH!

 

I’m super excited about this release because MOMENT OF TRUTH is the second book in my Moments In Time series. I have absolutely loved every minute that I spent writing about Collin and Tanner, the two college students who experience all the ups and downs of first love together over the course of the three books in this series.  The first book in this series, MOMENT OF IMPACT (on sale this week for 99 cents!), is a coming of age/coming out story that shows how Tanner and Collin, college roommates, discover that they think of each other as a lot more than friends. Here’s the blurb:

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Outside Collin Fitzpatrick’s dorm room is a dangerous place. Beyond his door the students of his small, conservative college think he’s straight, as does his Catholic family who’d disown him if they learned the truth. Inside, he’s safe with his incredibly sexy roommate Tanner D’Amico. Their room makes a perfect place to hide away and fall in love. The moment they cross the line from roommates to lovers, Collin becomes caught between their heavenly passionate encounters and the hellish reality that someone might find out and destroy everything. Tanner’s not used to being so confined, and wants to show the world how much he loves Collin. But Collin’s not sure he’s ready for the impact stepping outside will make.

 

 

MOMENT OF TRUTH takes place a few months later, when Collin and Tanner decide to spend the summer together in the much more liberal and accepting environment of Fire Island.

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Collin expected to spend another summer fixing cars and working at the college pizzeria. Instead, he’s living in a beach house on Fire Island, waiting tables at a hip seaside restaurant and, for the first time since he and Tanner got together, they can publicly be known as boyfriends. Being “out” takes some getting used to, but with the help of new and old friends, Collin is happier than he ever imagined. And more in love. But newfound freedom brings unexpected challenges, and when friends get flirty, old insecurities arise. Moments of doubt and jealousy threaten their happiness, and Collin and Tanner must confront the truth or risk losing it all.

 

 

This is definitely a series that’s best read in order because each book is a complete story that takes place at very different times in their relationship. There are no cliffhanger endings (I can’t stand them as a reader, so I’d never write one—I promise!), just an opportunity to watch their relationship evolve as these two young men are confronted by a variety of life’s trials.

I don’t usually title my books until I’m well into writing the story. At some point while I’m writing I’ll think of something that just “fits” and that’s never been more the case than in the series. While writing the first book it occured to me how many specific moments there were in the story where Collin, the point-of-view character, had his life completely change. You know the kind of moments I mean. The ones where you look back on a memory and you realize that there was a specific second where something happened that altered everything that happened after it. Collin has several moments like that in book one, several experiences where the IMPACT of that one MOMENT changes everything. Hence the title MOMENT OF IMPACT.

When I decided to write more of Collin and Tanner’s story, I focused on what the defining moments would be in each phase of their relationship and that’s how the other titles were born. I loved finding the different pieces of their lives that would be so life-altering and would change them as individuals and as a couple. There are several MOMENTS OF TRUTH in book two as this couple grows and matures.

So now it’s time for my question to you. What were some of the most defining moments in time in your life? The realization you were in love with someone? The decision of where to go to college? A mean thing you said and couldn’t take back? A good choice? A bad one? A freak accident? Tell me one of your most memorable moments in the comments below and I’ll choose a random winner (at the end of the day) to win an e-copy of MOMENT OF IMPACT (and if you already have that, then it’ll be your choice of my other titles).

Drawing to a close and contest winners — (A Wounded Promise)

March 4, 2015

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I’m so sad. The end of our time is here already. We’ve talked fanfic and survivorship and father/son relationships. But it’s time for me to draw this event to a close, because it’s going to snow (again) and I’m going to have to shovel in the morning.

The winner of the copy of The King’s Mate is: JJ

and

The winner of the copy of A Wounded Promise is: H.B.

If the winners can email me at ashavandoyon@gmail.com and let me know what email they use for their account at the Dreamspinner Press store, I’ll get those books added to your shelf.

Thanks again for spending the evening chatting with me!

You can get A Wounded Promise from Dreamspinner Press at: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6121