Illusions – Excerpt – First Kiss

February 13, 2015

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

*Disclaimer* The following excerpt contains adult language.

Illusions
S.A. Ozment

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

IllusionsFS

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

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

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

BLURB

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

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

Illusions – What’s In A Name

February 13, 2015

Hi, it’s S.A. again chatting about my book being released today.

Illusions is my first published book, so I’m really new at guest blogging. I looked around at the other DSP author’s blogs to get ideas and I found a few that I thought were interesting.  One that I really liked was “How did you arrive at the title for the book“. To me, that was one of the hardest things to do because you want to look at the book as a whole and think of something that incorporates all the different characters and scenes into a single name. If you’re lucky that name or title will help tell something about the story to potential readers.

What is an Illusion? Webster’s describes it as something that looks or seems different from what it is : something that is false or not real but that seems to be true or real.

When I was trying to find a name for the new book, I thought about all the characters. Most were living in some state of illusion. Right out of the gate, we have Skylar waking up with a massive hangover to find that a fan has managed to sneak by all of his reserves and end up in his bed.  Skylar doesn’t remember her or their night, but quickly realizes that Emma (the fan) thinks she is in love with him and is convinced that Skylar will fall in love with her – once he meets her.

Ryan, who is Aiden’s best friend, is another huge fan of Skylar’s.  He’s completely starstruck and is convinced that Skylar is the character that he portrays on television. Needless to say, Ryan sometimes has a hard time separating the actor from the character.

Kelly, the 80′s “It” girl feels like she can pay for plastic surgery and keep the illusion that she still “Twenty-something” going on forever. And then we have the arsonist, whose entire agenda is based on an illusion.  Now, that I think about it, Aiden may be the only one with his feet planted firmly on the ground. But even he buys into the illusion of Skylar and Sophie at some point.

Then we have Skylar who has an illusion regarding the entire world. He feels he can do what he wants, when he wants and no one get’s hurt. That’s an illusion because it’s not possible to treat people any way you like and expect no one to be hurt. One might even argue that the fact that Skylar says he will never fall in love, never need anyone, is also an illusion. But is it really an illusion if it could be true?

However to me, Hollywood is the biggest illusion of them all. The entire entertainment business is build on illusions. When it comes to celebrities, normally the general public sees what Hollywood wants you to see. Unless you’re in a celebrities inner circle, you’ll continue to see exactly what is played out for you on the big screens and on the red carpet. And sometimes that “sight” is a well-oiled, fine tuned story. With the use of social media and the internet, it’s become harder for celebrities to hide behind their illusions as well as they used to, but it’s still there. If Hollywood wants you to believe that two people are in love off set, then you can bet money that it will be hard for you to believe otherwise. Because some illusions are better than real life.

How about you? Have you ever been a part of something only to realize later that it was all an illusion? Not real at all?

About Illusions

IllusionsFS

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

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

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

BLURB

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

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

Unfortunate Son: The Winner!

January 12, 2015

And now the big reveal… the ebook of Unfortunate Son goes to Missy1980! Please send me an email at shaeconnorwrites@gmail.com and let me know what email address your Dreamspinner account is under, and I’ll get the information over to them to add it to your bookshelf. Congratulations!

Happy reading, all! :)

Unfortunate Son: Thanks and Shout-Outs

January 12, 2015

One last post to wrap things up before I give away the ebook of Unfortunate Son and then head over to Twitter for more fun and games! I want to give a few big shout-outs.

First, I owe huge thanks to Travis Irons, for being a fabulous cover model and super excited about the book project. I get to see him this weekend for the book release party, and I’m super excited about that!

Second, thanks to Burkhart’s Pub here in Atlanta, which will be hosting the release party, and which served as the basis for the bar in Unfortunate Son that hosts the drag show during which Evan’s friend Cory performs as Coco Lamé. Thanks also to the Armorettes, the Infamous Camp Drag Queens of the South, who inspired the Stilettos, the troupe with which Coco performs.

And last but never least, thanks to my editing team, D. M. Grace, Tia Fielding, CJane Elliott, Charley Descoteaux, and J. P. Barnaby, and to my Senior Editor, Jane, and all the other editors, proofreaders, designers, and production staff at Dreamspinner. I couldn’t ask for a better bunch of folks to work with.

One final question: What one thing about the information you’ve seen for Unfortunate Son makes you want to read it more than anything else?

Check back in after 5PM for the contest winner reveal! :)

Unfortunate Son: Cover Art

January 12, 2015

Okay, I know what you really want to talk about—that cover art!

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We had the photo shoot for the Unfortunate Son cover two and a half years ago (!!), and the only reason it had to stay under wraps for so long was because I was so slow in writing the book. Travis was amazing, as was the photographer (who has asked to remain anonymous but for his website, www.feedyoureyes.net).

And I am so, so happy with Paul Richmond’s work on this design. It’s simple but powerful, highlights the gorgeous image, and evokes exactly the mood and style I was hoping for. The basic design will also carry through the other books in the series beautifully.

I’ve always been very happy with my cover art from Dreamspinner. I’ve got a background in graphic arts myself, and that makes me pretty picky about all things design related. Dreamspinner is a winner every time. I especially like the ones that are different. I understand that readers have certain expectations, especially when it comes to romance books, but I prefer something that stands out from the crowd. One of my favorite covers is Visible Friend by K.Z. Snow, which was designed by Anne Cain (and won the Rainbow Award for Best Overall Cover in 2011).

What are your favorite Dreamspinner book covers? What do you like about them?

Unfortunate Son: Parents in Gay Romance

January 12, 2015

So as I said up front, Unfortunate Son is the first book in the Sons series. At this point, that will be three books total. Book two, Wayward Son, is about to head into editorial production and will be out in May/June. I’m writing book three, Nobody’s Son, and will have it submitted by the end of March (come hell or high water).

Each book in the series ties into the previous one, though I’ve worked to make them stand alone. Wayward Son will focus on Mikey, Riley’s friend who moves to Atlanta during the events in Unfortunate Son, and will be a ménage featuring Evan’s friends Cory and Jimmy, who are an established couple. Nobody’s Son focuses on Shaun, who works for Jimmy at his resort, and Jimmy’s old porn buddy Con.

As you can tell by the series title, the books each focus in part on a son and his relationship with his parents. Things turn out differently in each story, but in Evan’s case, his parents have already lost a son—Evan’s brother Charlie died while Evan was a teenager—and that helps drive their efforts to reconcile with Evan. A lot of books in the genre have dealt with relationships between sons and their parents, in most cases because parents can’t come to terms with their son’s sexuality.

But some stories have had wonderful parents in them. I mentioned Strawberries for Dessert in another post, and Jonathan’s father is a great example. He doesn’t necessarily understand his son’s sexuality, and it takes him a while to warm up to Cole, but he loves his son unreservedly. What are some of your favorite relationships between main characters and their parents in gay romance?

Unfortunate Son: Excerpt

January 12, 2015

I think it’s time for an excerpt from Unfortunate Son. In this snippet, Evan and his parents have had a confrontation over them hiding things from him, and his mother was injured in the process. They’re in the emergency room, and Evan is overwhelmed by everything that’s been happening over the previous couple of weeks.

Evan stood just outside the curtain that hid his mother’s emergency room bed. The doctor had arrived a few minutes earlier, and the tiny space hadn’t allowed for Evan to stay during the examination. To his relief, his mother had roused briefly when the paramedics arrived at the house, and though they’d still taken every precaution, strapping her to a backboard before moving her to the stretcher, she’d been able to answer a few questions as they took her to the ambulance.

There had never been a question of who would ride to the hospital with her. Evan had given his father one hard look, and Charles Day had backed away toward his own car.

Evan didn’t know where his father ended up after that. He tried to tell himself he didn’t care, but he looked around anyway. A few dozen feet down the hall, he could see the edge of the waiting room, mostly deserted at midafternoon. His father sat in the first row of seats, looking like a washrag that had been wrung out and tossed, crumpled, into a corner.

Despite everything, Evan felt a stab of empathy. He knew his mother’s fall had been an accident, a stupid accident, but the image of his father’s hand striking his mother would not leave his mind. He couldn’t forgive and forget, not yet. Maybe not ever.

“Mr. Day?”

Evan focused on the young woman who stood holding the curtain open. He didn’t know if she was a doctor, a nurse, or some random person off the street, and at that moment, he couldn’t care less. “Is she okay?” he asked, taking a step closer. He felt someone else step up next to him, probably his father, but he didn’t shift his focus.

“The bleeding stopped, but she’s in and out of consciousness. We’re having a portable X-ray brought over, but you can see her for a minute if you want.”

His father took a step forward, and Evan almost reached out to stop him on pure instinct, but he managed to hold back. Yes, he was still pissed as hell, but the fact was that this was his wife in the hospital, and Evan couldn’t actually stop him from seeing her.

Instead, he followed behind. The young woman, apparently a nurse, warned them not to touch her or jostle the bed, since they were still concerned about a possible neck injury.

His mother looked tiny in the bed, her skin pale even against the stark white sheets. A stabilizer had been wrapped around her neck, an IV inserted into her arm, and a clip-on monitor attached to her finger. Machines beeped, and the noises of the ER drifted in, but the sounds faded as Evan watch his father bend close, careful not to touch, even as Evan could see him straining to hold himself back.

More of his anger drained away. He still didn’t know why they’d hidden the money from him, and he couldn’t think about forgiveness for that until he knew why, dammit. But he knew his parents loved each other, even if he wasn’t so sure how they felt about him. He couldn’t hold that against them, could he?

I sure as hell can, he thought.

Something bubbled up inside him, a well of emotion so tangled and dark he couldn’t sort it out. Anger, resentment, and frustration swirled together into a blackness he couldn’t fight. Didn’t know if he wanted to fight.

His skin crawled, and he had to get out of there right that second or the top of his head was going to blow right off his body.

He spun on his heel and fled.

Unfortunate Son: Favorite Characters

January 12, 2015

Evan’s love interest in Unfortunate Son, Riley Yeats, is the black sheep of a high-profile, old-money Atlanta family. With his slight form, blond curls, and youthful looks, he’s the epitome of the gay male type known as “twink.” Riley is totally not Evan’s type—he likes Latino men, a trait that came from the inspiration, Travis—but Evan can’t help but be drawn in.

Unlike Evan, Riley isn’t based on anyone in particular. He has some aspects that were drawn from people I’ve met, or characters I’ve read in other books, but he developed mostly on his own as I was writing. In some ways, he ended up reminding me of Cole Fenton from Marie Sexton’s Coda series. As Marie knows from all the times I’ve said so, Cole and Jonathan’s story, Strawberries for Dessert, is one of my all-time favorite books, and Cole one of my favorite characters. So it’s not surprising that a glimmer of him would eventually end up in one of my books.

In fact, let’s talk about that a little. What are some of your favorite characters from gay romance books? Sam, Mitch, and especially Randy from Heidi Cullinan’s Special Delivery come to mind immediately for me (I’ll talk more about them when it’s time for Wayward Son, the second book in the series.) Aaron and Spencer from J.P. Barnaby’s Survivors series hold a special place in a lot of hearts. Who are tops on your list?

Unfortunate Son: Finding Inspiration

January 12, 2015

Unfortunate Son tells the story of Evan Day, aka Trevor Hardball, who was kicked out of the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and then shunned by his parents, both for being gay and for his discharge. His friends Cory and Jimmy helped get him back on his feet and get him started in gay porn, but after five years, Evan’s a little disillusioned and looking to change things.

The character of Evan is based (loosely) on the cover model, Travis Irons. At the time I conceived the book, nearly three years ago now, Travis had been a gay porn model for about five years, and like Evan, he was looking toward what came next. We met through mutual friends, and after a couple of conversations, I knew there was a story to be told there.

As an author, you never know where a story idea is going to come from. Sand & Water was based on the Beth Nielsen Chapman song—a single parent raising a child alone after the other parent’s death. My novella En Fuego was sparked (pardon the pun) by an image of a firefighter rescuing a kitten after a fire.

Have you heard interesting stories for where your favorite authors have gotten inspiration? Have you ever inspired anyone to write a story?

Unfortunate Son Release Party

January 12, 2015

UnfortunateSon_small

Hi all! Shae Connor here to celebrate the release of my novel Unfortunate Son (Sons Book 1). This is only my second novel, and I’m super excited to finally have another one out. My first novel, Sand & Water, came out way back in August 2011, so it’s been a while!

I’ll be posting throughout the day today, and I’ll be giving away an ebook copy of Unfortunate Son (available through your Dreamspinner bookshelf). Just comment with an answer to my question from any of my posts here today, and I’ll use a random generator to choose a winner. Feel free to comment as much as you like, but just one comment per post will count as an entry. Comments must be in by 5 p.m. Eastern US time, because that’s when I’ll choose a winner. :)

(I’ll also be taking over Dreamspinner’s Twitter account from 6:30 to 7:30 tonight, so be sure to check in there, too!)

To start things off, let’s talk about 2015. I cannot believe it’s here already. Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Did you keep any resolutions in 2014? Have you gotten used to writing 2015 for the date yet?