#3: JD Ruskin’s Finding Matt Blog Party: Somewhere, Illinois

December 7, 2014

My debut novel, When One Door Opens, takes place in Chicago, Illinois. I’ve lived within a couple of hours of Chicago nearly my whole life. But I wouldn’t call myself an expert on the city. More like an enthusiastic suburbanite. My recent trip to Chicago was the inspiration for a Free Christmas short story with Caleb and Logan. The story will be posted on my website next weekend as a thank you to all the readers who took a chance on a newbie author. *coughs* It is definitely NWS.

WhenOneDoorOpens

Blurb: Logan Sellers’s parole officer has issued three commandments: stay sober, stay employed, and stay out of trouble. At first Logan thought those three simple rules would be easy to follow. But that was before he accepted a side job assisting his boss’s housebound agoraphobic nephew, Caleb.

Caleb is deceptively normal for a guy who hasn’t left his apartment in three years, and his friendly, caring personality tugs on heartstrings Logan didn’t know he had. But hitting on his boss’s nephew is asking to be unemployed. Logan has enough problems with booze on every corner and a supervisor trying to jump into his bed. He doesn’t need to work out how to free Caleb from the anxiety that keeps him in his apartment; he needs to keep his nose clean, attend his AA meetings, and make a fresh start—alone.

If only his heart would get with the program.

Length: Novel (210.) | Genre: Contemporary, 2014 EPIC’s eBook Awards, Award-Winning Books

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

 

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My new paranormal romance release Finding Matt also takes place in Illinois in the fiction town of Stanton. I’ve lived in small towns like Stanton since I graduated college, so I’m very familiar with small town life. Detective Paulo Silva has only recently moved to Stanton. He used to work with the Illinois State Police (ISP) in Springfield, IL. After a devastating case, he left ISP and came to The Stanton Police Department (SPD). Paulo also left behind his former friend/lover, Sergeant Devin Morris. Adjusting to the change hasn’t been easy for Paulo.

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Devin had mocked [Paulo] for picking a town with less than thirteen thousand residents, where he’d be the token minority in the police department. Even knowing the demographics, Paulo hadn’t been prepared for an all-white police station. He’d tried to explain that he was Brazilian, not Hispanic, to the few baffled people who asked him. They’d seemed equally baffled by the fact that he spoke Portuguese, not Spanish.

Paulo shook his head. He didn’t have time to ponder the disturbing lack of diversity and cultural awareness in Stanton. He rose and walked over to the printer station. After picking up the report, he headed for the chief’s office.

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The Matt Wilson missing child case requires that the SPD request help from Illinois State Police, bring Devin back into Paulo’s life. When Paulo learns that he’s been assigned the job of babysitting the psychic, he phones Devin.

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Paulo had his phone out of his pocket before he exited the chief’s office. Pulling up Devin’s number, he hit the Send button. Devin picked up after only one ring, like he’d been expecting the call.

In lieu of a greeting, Paulo asked, “What is your problema, babaca?”

“Oh, he must be pissed if the Portuguese is slipping out.”

Paulo could tell by his voice that Devin was smirking.

“I have ten active cases, Devin. I don’t have time to babysit a psychic. Get one of your troopers to hold his hand.”

“Get over yourself, Silva. Keeping the parents happy is important, especially in a case with this much media attention. Someone needs to be on babysitting duty and you’re the low man on the totem pole at the SPD. You chose to hide in the land of pig shit and windmills. Now deal with it.”

Paulo gritted his teeth. “I’m not hiding.”

“The hell you’re not. I’m one floor away, but you decided to bitch at me on the phone instead of in person.” Devin sighed and his voice softened. “Eventually, everybody gets a case that gets to them, baby. But you work through it instead of running away from the job and the people who care about you.”

“Maybe it was a mistake to transfer here, but staying in Springfield wasn’t an option.”

“You’re wasted in this town and you know it. You should be thanking me for taking you away from investigating cow tippings and bootleg liquor.” Devin snorted. “And from what I hear, you’re the perfect man for this job.”

“What are you talking about?”

“People in this town love to talk about their resident psychic. Especially since he’s shacked up with Stephen Miller, the gay son of the former mayor.” Devin could perform a soft interrogation better than anyone Paulo had ever seen. He used his bleached-blond hair, pretty-boy face, and toothpaste commercial smile to his full advantage, and people willingly spilled their guts. “Are you thinking Greenberg’s involved? Because the chief is his alibi.”

“Just because he didn’t do the snatch, doesn’t mean he isn’t involved. Hell, this could be some publicity stunt.”

Paulo wished that was the case, but his gut told him otherwise. “What’s your read on the parents? Would they be involved in something like that?”

“Mr. Wilson is trying hard to stay positive, but he’s tearing himself apart with guilt. If it’s a stunt, no way does he know about it. Mrs. Wilson might be a possibility. She’s a real cold fish, that one.” Devin sighed. “Odds are Greenberg’s either a con artist or a wackjob.”

“I still don’t understand what you want me to do. Do you want me to investigate Greenberg?”

“I need you to put on those ass-hugging jeans I know you’ve got stashed in your apartment, and take the guy around town to let him soak up his supposed psychic vibes. If people see Greenberg walking around with a uniform, word will spread quickly. If tongues are wagging about their newest detective hanging out with a gay man, then they won’t be wondering if the police have resorted to hiring a psychic to save Matt Wilson.”

“Are you seriously fucking asking me to pretend I’m on a date with this guy?”

“Who said anything about a date?” Devin said, feigning innocence. “Though I hear there’s a great Chinese place on Main Street.”

“Keep it up, babaca, and you will get your face-to-face meeting with me when I smash your teeth in.”

Devin snickered. “I love you too, Silva,” he said, before ending the call.

Sighing, Paulo pressed the End button on the phone.

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FINDING MATT by JD Ruskin
Length: Novel (230p.) | Genre: Other Paranormal, Mystery/Suspense
Dreamspinner: Buy as eBook | Buy as Paperback |Amazon |All Romance E-books

 

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

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

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

Post #3 Question: Have you read When One Door Opens? Are you interested in a follow up free short story?

How to Contact JD Ruskin

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

Get to Know Skylar M. Cates

December 2, 2014

How did you come up with the title for The Guy series?

That’s a funny story. I had a title for the series all planned out. Book one was to be titled Better than Candy, and the series titled the “Better Than” series. Well, right after I submitted book one, my fellow DSP author Lane Hayes came out with a book called Better Than Good.  Yikes!  I had to find something else and fast. Since book one was set in the fictitious town of Glamour, I decided to call it The Guy from GlamourThe Guy series was born from that decision. I think it all worked out for the best!

Do you have a favorite couple that you’ve written?

No, but I do get obsessed with whatever couple I’m focused on most recently. My new series, for example, has the first book releasing in February, and I fell hard for this couple. I never intended to write Cole and Ian’s story at all. It came rushing out like a locomotive. Their story involves sudden tragedy. It gave me all kinds of strong feels to write, and I hope readers will embrace it. It’s called Here for You and will be out in February. What I love about the story is that it’s also a story of friendship. It revolves around five roommates in South Florida and the strong bond they all have for each other. Today it is my favorite, but tomorrow I’ll have a totally different answer.

The truth is I fall in love with different aspects of each MC.

My two December releases have four guys to love. Evan, from The Holiday Hoax, is self-deprecating and sweet— a combination I love—while JD is lonely and shy.   Henry from The Last Guy Breathing has gone through the awful dating scene and needs some love. Locke is flawed yet deeply protective, which is another combination I fall for in a character.

What are some of your favorite books, music and movies?

My kids are watching School of Rock this week, and I adore this movie.  I love many of Robin Williams’s films, especially The World According to Garp. And let’s see… Since it is the holiday season, I would pick A Christmas Story and It’s a Wonderful Life as two favorite holiday flicks.

As for music, I like classic and current rock. Some of my favorites would be The Killers, Aerosmith, and Train.   I enjoy putting on a fun dance band too like the B52s or The Black Eyed Peas. I love dancing, but I do most of my dancing in my living room these days.

Books would be impossible to name only a few favorites. Sorry!  I seriously fall in love with a new book every other month.

Can you briefly share what your writing process is?

Get butt into chair and write, lol. I write as much as possible, but I don’t write daily. My kids, my messy house, and my other responsibilities often steal the time away. I’d love to be one of those Type A writers who charts their progress and counts their daily words, but it never seems to happen for me. As long as I see the novel developing, though, I’m satisfied to follow my own haphazard process.  Once the first draft is complete, I’ll go through several more versions with tough self-edits and beta readers before submitting it. I’m tough on myself and it is hard to let the WIP go.

Cake or pie? Coffee or tea? Chocolate or peanut butter?

Pie  ( I love all kinds)

Coffee (I can never drink enough)

Both (Why pick between chocolate and peanut butter? Reese’s is fine with me)

Happy holidays!

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Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe. Visit Skylar on her website.

The House on F Street by Christopher Hawthorne Moss

December 2, 2014

When I woke that morning, I was alone in the bed.  This was not unusual as Rufus often got up early to take his “customary constitutional on Constitution”, but I was sorry anyway.  Last night had been lovely, sweet and passionate at the same time.  After nights like that I always wanted to wake up in his arms.

I heard the door to my bedchamber open slowly and twisted my head to see if it was he.  “Oh, it’s you, Annie.”  Out of kindness to the girl, I hoped she did not hear the disappointment in my voice.

“A good mornin’ to you, Senator,” she replied in her brogue.  Annie is our maid of all work and came straight to Washington from somewhere near Limerick.  “I am here to open your curtains and to see if you’ll be after comin’ down for breakfast or want to have a tray brought up.”

I sat up in bed and made sure my nightshirt wasn’t a scandal.  “Is the Senator at home?” I asked her hopefully.

“Himself is not, sir,” she answered, grasping the heavy curtains and thrusting them apart with a clatter of the curtain rings.  “Senator King went out quite early this morning.”

I sighed.  It was a special day, you see.  It was St. Valentine’s Day, and I so wanted to spend it with, well, my paramours is a word I have heard it called.  I am sure the wags in Congress have unkinder terms than that.  I had hoped to breakfast with Rufus on this special day of all days.  I knew he had not forgotten, as he had made reference to the occasion when we lay together in my bed last evening.

“I shall take my meal in here then.  Will you be a dear and hand me my dressing gown?”

A neat and prim little woman, no older than 25, Annie was a country girl and seemingly blessedly ignorant of the ways of the world.  I once overheard her speaking with the boy who delivers produce talking in low tones.  He appeared to have been telling her how my old friend Andrew Jackson called me “Miss Nancy” and my dear Rufus “Aunt Fancy”.  She must have expressed some confusion as I saw him lean to her and whisper something in her ear.  She drew back with a look of horror on her face and exclaimed, “Jack, no!  Senator Buchanan is a very respectable statesman, so he is.  He and Senator. King are just housemates.  I never heard such a shameful thing in all me days,” she went on.  “I am thinkin’ you have a filthy mind, Jack Hamilton.”

I was loath to believe that she was that innocent, I must tell you.  But then so young and just off the boat, who knows?  I saw to it she got a stern talking to by our cook, Mabel, who impressed upon the girl the importance of not sharing tales with the likes of delivery boys.

I had breakfasted and dressed and decided to go into my study and read up on two bills that my party would bring to a vote in the afternoon.  I took my seat by the small fireplace to read when I happened to look up at the mantelpiece.  I sat and stared for a moment, sensing something missing.  I realized with a start that the empty place on the wall was where my painting of Mr. Jackson, Old Hickory, should be. It was a gift from him.   “My stars!” I exclaimed.  I shot up from my chair and flew to the door.  When I was in the hall I shouted, “Annie!  Come here this instant!”

In a moment the girl was standing before me, her eyes wide and her hands twisting anxiously in her apron.  “Whatever be amiss, sir?” she asked.

“That!” I said, pointing to the bare spot on the wall.

She peered in the direction I indicated.  “Sir?”

“See for yourself!” I accused.

She crept past me, crossing the room to peer closely at the wall.  She carefully looked all around, her nose no more than a few inches from pressing against the wallpaper.  She reached up a pale finger and touched a spot.  She finally turned to me with a perplexed expression.  “I be that sorry, Senator, but I’m not findin’ anything amiss.”

Making an impatient harrumph, I stated, “That is just what I mean, girl.  You don’t see anything amiss… because what should be there is missing.”

She turned back and looked, then threw up her hands and said, “Saints preserve us!  Why this is where that picture of that disagreeable looking old gentleman should be.  What happened to it?”

“That ‘disagreeable old gentleman, as you describe him, my dear, is the seventh President of these United States, Mr. Andrew Jackson!  The painting was a gift to me from that august personage.  And how should I know where it’s gone?  I called you in here to have you tell me that.”

Her look of chagrin quickly shifted to hurt feelings.  With her fists on her narrow hips she muttered something in what I assume was Irish and then, in what passes for English through her lips, she said, “Senator, you cannot be suggestin’ that I should take the old thing, now, would you?”

I realized she was right, that I had not taken care to be clear that all I wanted to know was if she had removed the portrait.  “I beg your pardon, Annie.  I was intemperate.  I merely wanted to know if the picture had been removed for some reason.”

Giving me such a look of “Are you simple?” she shook her head.  “Well I am that certain that it has, Senator.  By whom and why I cannot tell.”

Now I was annoyed that she should take such an insolent approach to my obvious wish to learn where my treasured portrait of Old Hickory had been removed to.  Impatiently I demanded, “Then go ask cook what she knows.”

Annie put her proud shoulders back and an imperious nose in the air and whisked out of the study.  “Aye, sir, that I shall.”

I followed her to prevent her from sharing her less flattering thoughts about me with the cook.  When I arrived at the kitchen just behind her I heard her ask, in a manner of utmost asperity, where the portrait of Mr. Jackson that was hung on the Senator’s study wall above the mantelpiece might be.

The cook looked up at me then and bobbed a respectful curtsy.  “Senator Buchanan, I cannot say.”  She turned towards the scullery door and called out, “Jack, come in here.”

From the scullery emerged the tousled headed befreckled face of the young scamp, Jack Hamilton.  “Ma’am?” he squeaked.  He had a partly consumed piece of cake in his grubby hand.

I took over the questioning.  “Young man, a very valuable picture is missing from my study.  Do you know anything about that?”

The boy looked from me to Mabel and then to Annie, the look on his face bespeaking a readiness to make up a story turned into genuine puzzlement.  “Why, no, sir.  I never even seen it.”

Annie said smugly, “It’s a paintin’ of the seventh president of these United States, it is!”

The boy looked back at me, wide eyed.  I headed off whatever he was going to say.  “Never mind, boy.  I shall no doubt have to summon a policeman to look into the matter.  Would be so kind as to find one and send him to this house?”

He had gone pale, making me wonder if I had been hasty in exonerating him from guilt, but with one look at Mabel, he stuffed the rest of the cake in his mouth, said something no one could have understood, took his soft cap from a back pocket, and exiting quickly, pulled it onto his head.

It was clear when no officer of the law arrived at my front door within a half hour that Jack had not made the effort.  I called for Annie to fetch my coat, gloves and hat.  I shall go to the Senate for the rest of the day.  If I see a policeman on the way, I will enlist his assistance.”

In the foyer, she helped me on with my coat.  I asked, “Is Senator King expected to take his supper at home, do you know?”

“I do not, sir.  The Senator left so early this morn that I did not see to speak to him”

I went out the door onto F Street where carts and horses clattered by and natty young gentleman strode with purpose on some business.  I had no eye for them at the moment, intent as I was on getting to the Hill.

I did let myself become distracted from time to time as I made my way to Constitution Avenue and the Capitol for I was anxious to spy Rufus along the way so I could inform him of the missing portrait.  I was not far from my own destination when I caught sight of him, head to head with a most attractive and elegant young man, laughing and sharing a pleasant moment together.  I was about to call to him when I saw him put his arm about the younger man’s shoulders.  I quite simply froze.  I did not call out.

Rufus is an extremely handsome and well turned out fellow.  I on the other hand am plain and what some would call dumpy.  I should lie if I did not say it had puzzled me these several years that a man as fine-looking as my Rufus should want to be with me, to live with me, to be my one and only.  The result of this uncertainty has been a sort of vigilance where my love’s attention might turn, if that attention is to another quite good looking fellow.  I am quite sure some day I shall lose Rufus to such a one.  I shall be the pathetic abandoned lover, pitiful in all men’s eyes.

I sighed and turned to walk quickly away.

Seeing a policeman as I approached the Capitol, I waylaid the man and described my loss, the portrait of Old Hickory and not, of course, the future loss of my dearest one, nor of my heart and present peace of mind.  He promised to go to my house straight away to look into the matter.

I spent a dispirited day, I can tell you, feeling as if everything I cared for was slipping through my fingers.  Rufus was not at luncheon in the Senate dining hall, and as a result I was quite unapproachable and some of my colleagues made some quite common remarks that should not be spoken of in the presence of the fairer sex.  Fortunately there were none about in the Senate.

As I wended my way home to our house on F Street , I lacked an appetite for my supper.  I fully expected to find my portrait still gone, no news from the policeman, and no Rufus awaiting me with a glass of whiskey and a cigar.

Annie, it seemed, was no more cheerful with me.  With no syllable of her lilting speech, she took my hat, gloves and coat.  When I asked if the Senator was at home, she gave me a tight-lipped shake of the head and left me standing there quite alone.  I proceeded into the parlor with the newspaper which I had taken from the hall table and found my own whiskey and cigar, feeling most misused.

I had despaired of companionship at supper when I heard the front door open and close.  I heard Rufus’s voice, shushing Annie as he divested himself of his coat and the rest.    My heart beat faster waiting for my love to come into the parlor, then it fell when I heard his footsteps pass the door and head up the staircase.  I sat for a while trying to decide what to do.  Why had he shushed Annie?  Was there someone with him?  Someone he took up to his rooms?

I had had enough.  I threw down the paper I was reading and stormed out of the parlor and up the stairs.  I went to Rufus’s bedchamber door and without announcing myself, I reached for the doorknob.  I was surprised when it turned and the door opened.  I had half expected it locked, to prevent discovery of whatever indiscretion my Rufus was involved in.

“Jamie, dear!” he called, obviously startled.  He spun to face me, and I could not help but stare, admiring him, his slender but manly form, his fine features, his dapper apparel.  I found myself thinking, whatever you have done to break my heart, dear boy, I shall forgive you.  What I said aloud however was “What are you hiding, Rufus?”

The look he gave me then shook me to the core.  He looked embarrassed, sheepish, and guilty.  I thought, Here it is.  The death of the idyll. 

I had to sit down.  I stumbled to a chair and planted my backside heavily.

“Oh Jamie, I wanted it to be a surprise.  I was going to give it to you at supper.”

I looked up sharply at Rufus.  “You what?”  I gazed into his eyes to see them twinkling, so full of love and happiness.

He slowly turned and lifted a package wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine.  “Since you caught me with it, I suppose I shall just give it to you now.”  He came towards me, and I stood to face him.  He held the package out to me.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, dearest Jamie,” said in that soft warm voice of his with its Alabama drawl.  “I love you.”

I must have looked like a trout, standing, holding the package and staring into his eyes open-mouthed.  “I-I love you too, my darling Rufus,” I managed to get out.  “What is it?”

“Open it.  Here, I’ll cut the string with my pocket knife.”  He proceeded to match his actions to his words.  The twine felt to the floor and, meticulous as he always is, he crouched to pick it up and tuck it in his pocket.

I turned over the package and unfolded the brown paper with which it was wrapped.  I could see at once that I was looking at the back of a frame.  The wire for hanging it was attached.  I turned the gift over as Rufus carefully refolded the paper and set it aside to reuse.  He is as frugal as he is meticulous.  Well, except for fashions.  Those he spends what he must on.

He looked at me expectantly as I gazed back, then I lowered my eyes and was confused.  What I held in my hands was my portrait of Andrew Jackson.  The portrait that Jackson himself gave me.  I stammered, “W-why, Rufus, it’s wonderful.”

“What a silly man you can be, Jamie.  Look at it.  There is something different.  That is your gift.”

I looked again, perplexed.  Then I realized what the difference was.  “It’s the frame. It’s new.”

Rufus gave me one of those patient indulgent looks he often gives me when I am being obtuse.  “Yes, but you don’t see it, do you.  The wood.  It’s hickory!  Old hickory!”

My Rufus was the one who had removed my treasured portrait of Old Hickory and had a new frame made of old hickory wood.  I was speechless with wonder and gratitude.

Rufus went on chattily.  “I was on Constitution today as I was going to pick this up at the woodworker.  I ran into Simon Beauregard.  Do you remember him?  That very tiresome fellow from Tuscaloosa.  I was so excited about seeing the new frame I could not get away from him fast enough.  He is a pretty man, to be sure, but all I could do was pretend to laugh at his jokes and get away as soon as I could manage.”

He reached to take the portrait away from me and set it down on a table.  He walked the short distance to the door and bolted it.  He came back, took me in his arms, and pressed his sweet lips to my own thin ones.  I relaxed into his embrace.

“I do so love you, Jamie,” he said softly when we ended the kiss.  “These past years have been such golden ones.  Promise you will never leave me for some younger, more handsome man.”

I could only lean back in for another of his delicious kisses.

“Take me to bed, Jamie,” he sighed against my lips.

“But what about supper?” I reminded him.

“It can wait.”  His hands were already at my cravat loosening it as he applied the firm but gentle pressure to my chest to guide me through the door and into his bedchamber.

_______________
Author’s note:  Was President James Buchanan gay?  He and William Rufus King lived together for many years and their colleagues in the Senate called them “Mr. and Mrs. Buchanan”.  Their nieces burned all their letters.  Let’s just say we don’t really know if he was, but then again we don’t really know that he wasn’t.

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Christopher Hawthorne Moss wrote his first short story when he was seven and has spent some of the happiest hours of his life fully involved with his colorful, passionate, and often humorous, characters. Moss spent some time away from fiction, writing content for websites before his first book came out under the name Nan Hawthorne in 1991. He has since become a novelist and is a prolific and popular blogger; he is the historical fiction editor for the GLBT Bookshelf, where you can find his short stories and thoughtful and expert book reviews. Moss is transgender, having been born with a female body but a male heart and mind. He lives full time as a gay man in the Pacific Northwest with his partner of over thirty years and their doted upon cats. He owns Shield-wall Productions. Moss welcomes comment from readers via email and can be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Harmony Ink New Release – November 13, 2014

November 14, 2014

Always Leaving by Gene Gant

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

As Ravi and Jason work through clues to Jason’s missing past, Ravi’s father’s prejudice threatens to tear them apart. Always Leaving by Gene Gant, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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When Jason Barrett wakes up, he remembers only one thing: his name. Frightened and driven by paranoia, Jason keeps moving, going from town to town working odd jobs and making no friends. When he stumbles onto an emergency in New Hanover and saves a fellow teenage boy, it offers him the first connection he’s felt in a while.

All Ravi Mittal learns about his knight-in-shining armor is his name. Jason. But New Hanover is a small town and it is easy to reconnect. To return Jason’s kindness, Ravi wants to help solve the riddle of Jason’s missing past. As they work through clues, Jason begins to feel settled. He finds a place he belongs with Ravi—maybe something more.

But Ravi’s father’s deep-seated prejudice against the African American teen threatens to tear Jason and Ravi apart… if the mystery chasing Jason doesn’t do it first.

Length: Novel (180p.) | Genre: Mystery, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: November 13, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-589-3) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-587-9)

Harmony Ink New Release: November 6, 2014

November 7, 2014

Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Vocal Growth: Book Two) by Sam Kadence

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Together Dane and Bas face Dane’s eating disorder and depression, along with bullying from Bas’s family. Unicorns and Rainbow Poop (Vocal Growth: Book Two) by Sam Kadence, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

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Vocal Growth: Book Two

Ex-boyband member Dane Karlson is struggling to overcome an eating disorder and a body dismorphic disorder. His fall through a glass table puts him in rehab and on the road to recovery. Then a friend dies. When depression causes him to lose ground, he calls for the only person he trusts—former bandmate Tommy. But Tommy doesn’t know how to help. He begs his friend Sebastian “Bas” Axelrod to aid them through the emotional struggle.

Bas, an openly gay high school student who’s recently lost his grandmother, is trying to survive his last few months of school before escaping to Stanford. Having just lost the only person in his family to care for him, he is victim to the cruelty of the others. His younger brother bullies him, and his parents are suing him for his gran’s inheritance. When Tommy calls, Bas can’t help but run to his side.

Together Dane and Bas find a middle ground, supporting each other through the lows, dancing together during the highs. They build friendships and plan for the prom and graduation, thinking positively as long as they are together.

Length: Novel (260p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: November 6, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-418-6) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-418-6)

Let’s Talk THIRDS with Charlie Cochet

November 5, 2014

Dreamspinner: So, Dex? Where did you get the inspiration for this 80′s-music-singing, high-octane cop with the mouth of a sailor who can’t hold his liquor?

Ah, Dex. Dex popped into my head in all his Cheesy-doodle-crunching, power-ballad-singing glory. It’s kind of scary how many traits Dex and I share. The 80s quirk was easy for me because like Dex, I’m a child of the 80s. I love the music, the movies, the cartoons, and toys. The clothes maybe not so much, but I definitely enjoy looking back at the fashion horrors. The coffee obsession is something we also share. Brain function is difficult without my cup of java in the morning. All that frothy goodness. Mmm….

I’m also big fan of John McClane from the Die Hard movies. This every day cop with amazing wit who always found himself embroiled in some kind of trouble that ends up with him beat up or almost getting blown up. That whole kind of “every man” trait that John McClane has is something I wanted for Dex. He’s not this invincible action hero who knows three kinds of martial arts and can walk away from an explosion without a scratch on him. I wanted Dex to be fun but complex. He’s the kind of guy you’d love to have as a friend. He’s a genuinely nice guy, loyal, always wants to do the right thing, loves his family, and knows when to be serious. Trouble has a way of finding him. He might be on an elite team, but he’s just a regular guy. Just weirder.

Dreamspinner: Are we only going to get three books in the THIRDS series?

There are quite a few books planned for the THIRDS series. At the moment, I have 8 books planned. It’s a continuous timeline, though book 5 will be from Ash & Cael’s point of views, and Book 6 from Calvin & Hobbs’s point of views, Book 7 & 8 will return to Dex and Sloane. I also have a book planned in the THIRDS world with agent Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn. After that, we’ll have to see. You never know which characters will demand to have their stories told. I have a few couples that might get their own novellas.

Dreamspinner: What scene in any of the THIRDS books do you still laugh about?

I admit that I still laugh at a good deal of Dex’s antics. It’s hard to pick just one. The training scene in Blood & Thunder is a top favorite. Sloane is in his jaguar form and he takes off after another agent who screams “like a pre-teen at a Bieber concert”. That scene still makes me chuckle. Also the scene with his ex at Bar Dekatria with the goats and Waking Dead secrets coming to light.

Dreamspinner: Who was the most difficult character to write in the THIRDS series?

All the characters in the THIRDS are challenging in some way, but I think Dex is still my most complex character because there’s the image he portrays of this happy go-lucky guy who’s always smiling and joking, but inside he’s very sharp and perceptive. He feels things deeply. Plus there’s his humor. Humor is incredibly difficult to write because it either happens or it doesn’t. You can’t force humor. Dex’s one-liners and snappy comebacks have to come during that moment. There are just so many layers to him, so many instances where he’s doing one thing but thinking or feeling something completely different.

Dreamspinner: Coffee or tea? Ebook or print? Vanilla or chocolate? Rap or country music?

Coffee. Sentences and words don’t happen without coffee. I love both eBook and print. For research, I prefer print books. Chocolate for sure. I do enjoy vanilla, but chocolate is right up there just below coffee. I’m not big on rap or country. I’m more into 80s music. ;)

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Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From historical to fantasy, contemporary to science fiction, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too! Currently residing in South Florida, Charlie looks forward to migrating to a land where the weather includes seasons other than hot, hotter, and, boy, it’s hot! When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

“If This Were a Movie” Free Read by Kate McMurray

November 5, 2014

Kyle’s life flashed before his eyes as the huge bear of a dog galloped toward him with alarming speed. The beast was all brown fur and teeth and slobber, and it was barreling toward Kyle so quickly, he couldn’t manage to move his feet.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god….”

Kyle didn’t understand at first that the breathless invocation of a deity was coming not from him but from the lips of the man running at top speed behind the dog.

Was this a stampede?

Then Kyle was on his back, the heavy weight of this bear on top of him, with a face full of tongue.

Dirt flew as the guy chasing the dog caught up and skittered to a stop.

“Tiny, no. No, Tiny. Get off the nice man.”

The dog seemed immovable.

Kyle gathered his faculties enough to swat at the dog’s tongue with his hands, not connecting as the dog lifted his head away but otherwise settled on top of Kyle’s body as if Kyle were a large velvet pillow and this giant dog were a dainty princess. Kyle sighed and let his head fall back to the grass. He looked up.

Well, hello. The owner of the bear was a tall, dark-haired, slightly scruffy guy with a gym-sculpted body. His muscles flexed as he tugged on the dog’s leash, though the dog seemed determined not to go anywhere.

“Come on, Tiny,” the guy said.

If the weight of the dog hadn’t been crushing his lungs, Kyle might have found the fact that this freakishly large dog was named Tiny funny enough to laugh about, but as it was, Kyle worried his sternum was about to cave in.

“I’m so sorry about this,” the guy said. “He’s not usually like this. I don’t know what’s gotten into—”

Just as quickly as Kyle had been flattened into a pancake on the grass, Tiny the Bear lost interest, stood up and walked away.

Kyle pulled in a deep breath.

“Uh, you need help?”

Kyle looked up and saw the cute guy who owned the bear reaching down with his hand. Kyle briefly indulged in a fantasy wherein the sun shown directly behind this man’s head like a halo, and the clouds parted, and the angels sang. None of those things actually happened, but the man was quite lovely. Kyle reached up and allowed himself to be helped to his feet.

“So, um…” Kyle tried, struck speechless by the handsome man. Who smiled. Lord, he had a gorgeous smile.

“I’m Chris,” the guy said. “And this is Tiny, but you probably got that already.”

“The most logical name for a bear on a leash is Tiny.”

Chris smiled. “That’s what I thought. He’s a chow, actually. Aren’t you, boy?” Chris reached over and scratched Tiny between the ears. “And I think he likes you.”

“I guess.” Kyle looked at the dog, feeling puzzled, not understanding what just happened.

“So. Do you live around here?” asked Chris.

“Yeah, I was just cutting through the park to get home from work. You?”

“Yep, Tiny and I just moved here. A few blocks west.”

Kyle was at a loss for what to say. He was still rattled from getting knocked over by a dog, but Chris was so handsome that Kyle wasn’t ready to let him go just yet. Chris pet his dog and smiled and had that nice line of stubble on his chin and the slightly disheveled hair, and he really looked yummy. Kyle tried not to stare.

“I really am sorry,” Chris said. “I’ve never seen him do that before.”

“I seem to be okay.” Kyle dusted off his butt and the back of his thighs. He tugged on his shirt to get any residual dirt and grass to fall off. He smiled at Chris. Who smiled back.

Their eyes met for a moment.

“You know,” Kyle said after he let the moment pay out. “If this were a cheesy romantic comedy, this would be the scene in which the couple meets cute. Sure, there will be a big misunderstanding or something that will separate the pair down the line, but they’ll end up together in the end. The dog knew all along that they were meant to be, after all.”

Chris laughed, which was good. Kyle didn’t know if he was gay—he suspected, based on how snug Chris’s tee-shirt was, but that was hardly an accurate indicator of anything—but he’d made the joke without thinking. He blamed getting jumped by a dog.

A dog who sat obediently at Chris’s feet now and waved his tail while his mouth hung open. Kyle didn’t think dogs smiled, but this one seemed to be.

“But with dudes,” Chris said.

“Huh?”

“If we starred in a romantic comedy in which my dog orchestrated the meet cute, which I’m pretty sure is what just happened, it would be a romantic comedy with two dudes.”

“Who cares?” asked Kyle, still feeling dazed.

“Well, I don’t. You’re cute. You want to go get a cup of coffee with me?”

Years later, when poor Tiny had arthritis, Kyle spent a good ten minutes trying to get a little pouch affixed to the dog’s collar.

“Hold still, boy. I just need you to…”

“Babe?” called Chris, rapping on the door. “Are you ditching me?”

“No. Still trying to get this…”

Tiny huffed out a breath and sank to the floor, pushing his paws out in front of him. Of course. Kyle finished the task and stood up.

He opened the door to a concerned-looking Chris.

“Not sure we’re supposed to see each other,” Kyle said.

“Don’t care. What are you doing?”

“Getting the ring bear fixed up.”

Tiny trotted over and whuffed at Chris.

“Ring bearer?”

“Nope, bear. I was right the first time.”

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Kate McMurray is an award-winning romance author and fan. When she’s not writing, she works as a nonfiction editor, dabbles in various crafts, and is maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She is active in RWA and has served as president of Rainbow Romance Writers and on the board of RWANYC. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Harmony Ink New Release: October 30, 2014

October 30, 2014

Guardians (The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two) by A.M. Burns

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Bigfoot Thom Woodman feels like he’s being forced to choose between the human and Oh Mah worlds, and life with or without his mate, Ben. Guardians (The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two) by A.M. Burns, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

GuardiansFS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Woodmen Chronicles: Book Two

Thom Woodman is a bigfoot, although he prefers to be called an Oh Mah. When it comes time for the Oh Mah biannual gathering, he’s excited to go with Ben Steele, the human he bonded with.

To Thom’s surprise, he is offered a place among the Guardians, the leaders of the Oh Mah. But since he grew up half in the human world, he can’t make a decision before he finds out more about these Guardians.

When an Oh Mah is killed by a human, the growing antihuman sentiment runs rampant through the gathering. Thom’s family swears to help protect Ben, but when some of the Guardians join the anti-human faction, they aren’t sure they can live up to their promise. Even when Ben is kidnapped, Thom doesn’t know what to say when the Guardians demand his answer. Thom feels like he’s not only being forced to choose between the Oh Mah and the human world, but also between a life with or without Ben.

Length: Novel (214p.) | Genre: Fantasy: Urban Fantasy, Fantasy: High Fantasy, Paranormal: Other, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 30, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-389-9) | Buy as a Paperback (ISBN: 978-1-63216-389-9)

Harmony Ink New Release: October 23, 2014

October 24, 2014

Wild Summer by Suki Fleet

A Harmony Ink Press Young Adult Title

Christopher saved Summer’s life, but Summer pushed him away. For either to be happy, they must find each other and right past wrongs. Wild Summer by Suki Fleet, a Harmony Ink Press Young Adult title available from Dreamspinner Press.

WildSummerFS

A novella from the Love Story Universe

At fifteen, Christopher falls in love with a boy whose life he saves. But things go wrong and four years later, he wishes he’d acted differently. His conscience begins to haunt him, and he knows he must find Summer again.

At seventeen, Summer pushes away the boy who saved him. Four years later, he is stuck in an abusive, damaging relationship. When he sees Christopher again, it’s a sign he can’t go on living like he is, but he can’t begin to see a way out.

For either boy to stand a chance at happiness, they must find each other and obliterate the wrongs of their shared past.

Length: Novella (138p.) | Genre: Contemporary, Young Adult, Gay | Release Date: October 23, 2014

Buy as an eBook (ISBN: 978-1-63216-496-4)

Chris T. Kat Author Interview

September 28, 2014

DSP: So… mermen?
That was exactly my thought when I read my first merman story a few years ago. That was a time when I still wrote fan fiction, and any story that held fantasy or fairy-tale elements drew my attention. So, I read that story and was intrigued. To be honest, I’ve wanted to write a story about merfolk since I was a child. While I liked the classic mermaids with their long, flowing hair and graceful appearances, the discovery of mermen was the icing on the cake.

When I wrote Tidal Change, my newest release with Dreamspinner Press, I had a blast. I love to swim, and we usually spend our summer vacation at the sea, so that was the perfect time for me to write Marty and Rick’s story. It must’ve been one of the fastest stories I’ve ever written because I got it done in about two weeks. What can I say? The weather was great, I could sit at the beach and watch the waves and the occasional seal, and Marty and Rick demanded their story be told.

DSP: What was your inspiration for your history teacher lead?
I’m a teacher myself. I’m a Special Ed teacher, but I studied history as a subject, so I felt comfortable with Rick being a history teacher. He’s not based on me, just his profession, because for once I wanted to write about a profession I know firsthand. There might be more teachers in my next books…
Often history teachers are portrayed as old, boring, and dry people. While Rick is older than Marty, he’s not boring, and his lessons at school aren’t sleep-inducing either. Rick is laid-back, ready to settle down, and he wants Marty to become his partner, even though Marty plays hot and cold for a long time. Marty has his reasons, though, what with him being a merman.

DSP: What are some of your favorite books?
That’s a tough question. I read in pretty much every genre, but of course I have my favorite authors and books. I’m a big fan of Josh Lanyon’s and Megan Derr’s books. One of my favorite authors, who publishes with Dreamspinner Press, is Lynn Gala and I adore her books Gathering Storm and Mountain Prey. Another DSP author I discovered recently is Liv Olteano. I first read her recent release A Tooth for a Fang, then got her other two books and LOVED them. Oh, and Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series has become one of my favorite series. I could go on and on but that would probably go beyond the scope of this interview. ;-)

DSP: What made you decide to start writing gay romance?
I started out as a fan fiction writer. For a while, I was very content to read anything I could find, until I got stuck in one fandom and desperately searched for a certain kind of story. After searching all available archives and not finding what I sought, I decided to try my hand at writing. I’ve never looked back since then. I can’t exactly pinpoint why I enjoy writing gay romance so much, I just know that it’s my favorite genre. Several people—including my husband—pushed me into the direction of writing original fiction, and the same supportive people pestered me until I submitted my first story to Dreamspinner Press. As the saying goes, the rest is history.

DSP: Where can your reader-fans interact with you and why do you like that social media outlet?
The easiest way for readers to interact with me is probably on Twitter and Facebook. I also have a blog, and I post free fiction there every Wednesday, so that’s a good place to meet me as well.
I like Twitter and Facebook, though I’d say it’s easier for me to interact on Twitter. On Facebook, I always fear I’m missing out on stuff, and sometimes I’m just overwhelmed with all the posts there, so that I just click like instead of leaving a comment. On Twitter, I like to respond and simply have nice conversations with like-minded people. It’s like an instant messenger for me, and since I tend to get chatty, that’s a great tool for me, especially since most people live in the States and therefore are in a different time zone. Twitter simply allows me to have quick conversations, ask questions, see how someone is doing, without having to write a long e-mail (which I like, but don’t always have the time for).
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Chris T. Kat lives in the middle of Europe, where she shares a house with her husband of many years and their two children. She stumbled upon the M/M genre by luck and was swiftly drawn into it. She divides her time between work, her family—which includes chasing after escaping horses and lugging around huge instruments such as a harp—and writing. She enjoys a variety of genres, such as mystery/suspense, paranormal, and romance. If there’s any spare time, she happily reads for hours, listens to audiobooks, or does cross stitch.

Visit her blog, find her on Facebook, or add her on Twitter.