Let’s go on an Escapade! With Dolce – Post + Giveaway

April 11, 2016

Let's go on an Escapade

 

Hello! My name is Dolce and I’m a fiction writer. My new contemporary romance novel, Escapade, will be released on Monday April 11, 2016 by Dreamspinner Press. I’m very excited to meet you, and truly hope that you enjoy Escapade!

I started writing fan fiction around nine years ago as a hobby during the summer between undergrad and graduate studies. I was working a telemarketing job to pay the rent (and support my diet of cheap white wine and chicken souvlaki from the nearby greasy spoon) and found myself with a lot of free time. Writing was a fun way to be creative and get some scenes out of my head. It also brought me to a fandom community that was supportive and caring, where I met many dear friends that I am still close with to this day.

I have a background in theatre and music. My writing started very script-like—very barebones. My style has grown through the years, but I still tend to prefer simple. I write in a way that mimics, in my mind, the eye of a camera or the view of an audience. We live in a world where most watch television and films regularly, and I definitely try to tell stories in a similar style. Luckily, the wonderful editors at Dreamspinner helped me get some of my floating limbs and eyeballs under control!

Escapade was inspired by my own summer reading experiences. When I was younger, I would stock up on romance paperbacks from the library before I went on vacation. There were many different genres and scenarios, but the pairings were only men with women—no same sex couples. I wanted to write a romantic comedy that featured two men falling in love in an exotic, beautiful location with lots of adventure and fun. It might sound silly, but it’s always been a dream of mine to have my book published and available in an airport bookstore. Maybe someone who feels left out by the standard romance novel pairings on the shelf would pick up my book to read on vacation.

DOLCE Escapade blue trio art

Escapade is light and something to read at the beach, but also tackles realistic issues people face. Loneliness, the prick of discomfort you feel when you’re single amongst couples—even if you don’t want a relationship, balancing your personal and professional life, and growing into adulthood with your family.

The main character, Lucas, deals with all of those things. He is wealthy and successful, but in the eyes of his family, he’s still just Lucas. The secondary main character, the charismatic Jack McQueen, deals with the same issues, though he comes from a completely different place compared to Lucas. My hope is that in reading Escapade, readers see both characters growing together to conquer loneliness with love, laughter, and kindness.

I wrote Escapade over the course of about five months. It began in a writing challenge where a friend prompted me to write a story about someone needing a date for their ex-boyfriend’s wedding. I didn’t give myself any sort of word count goal per day, though I knew that this was going to be novel-length based on the journey I wanted the characters to go on.

Escapade came at a time when I was about to make a jump from working two time consuming jobs to one that had more of a freelance vibe. Something in my gut told me I should move on to the freelance job to free up time for writing. Looking back, I’m so, so happy I did it!

Research for Escapade was fun! Not to spoil anything about the plot, but I had a chance to write luxurious accommodations and activities that I’ve never included in my other stories. I’m a foodie and love incorporating cooking/meals into my stories. It was cool to learn that, if you vacation in the Bahamas, you might drink Kalik beer or eat fresh conch. Now I just need to manage a beach holiday of my own!

Music plays a huge role in Escapade. I love soundtracks and while I wrote Escapade, I listened almost exclusively to music from the eighties. Something about that era of music fit with Escapade. Fun, sexy, a bit silly—songs that when the DJ throws them on, you know all the words (even if you’re a bit tipsy) and want to dance. Here is a link to a playlist I made while writing, that includes lots of songs from my process:

https://play.spotify.com/user/dolcepiccante/playlist/1Pq1vipoL6ravQ1iCAd7Ne

 

Strangely enough, when I was editing Escapade, I listened to a mix of pieces from the Star Wars soundtracks, especially “Rey’s Theme” “Cantina Band” and “The Imperial March.” I have no idea where that mix came from, but I listened to “Rey’s Theme” for hours on end while editing in a café. Maybe that’s why one of my next planned projects has to do with a futuristic world!

All this talk about music and the beach makes me want to go on holiday. Please leave a comment with your favorite song (or songs) that you would put on a vacation playlist for a chance to win an Escapade eBook! I will randomly pick the winner in three days. My choices would definitely include some tropical Duran Duran (much like the Escapade soundtrack), along with the Beach Boys and Weezer.

Thank you for taking the time to read my guest post! I hope you enjoy Escapade!

Love,

Dolce

Check out Escapade today!

DOLCE Escapade Cover

 

BLURB

Twenty-nine-year-old Lucas Thompson is at the top of the corporate ladder. But when his lifelong friend and ex-boyfriend invites him to his last-minute destination wedding in the Bahamas, Lucas realizes his corporate success can’t hide his private loneliness. Nor will he be able to escape seeing his family at the wedding—and having to explain, yet again, why he’s rich, handsome… and still single.

Fate and a taxi ride change everything when Lucas meets the charismatic and clever Jack McQueen, who just so happens to be a male escort. Jack’s presence on Lucas’s arm at the wedding keeps questions at bay, but their pretend relationship turns into something more after ten days of sun, sand, and sex. And before the trip is up, both men will discover that what started as a simple escapade in paradise might just lead to their very own happily ever after.

 

BUY LINKS

Dreamspinner eBook
Dreamspinner Paperback
Amazon eBook
Amazon Paperback
Barnes & Noble (eBook and Paperback)
Kobo eBook
All Romance eBook

 

DOLCE Escapade Blue text art

AUTHOR BIO

Dolce is a twentysomething New Yorker who loves to write, cook, sing, and laugh. She got her start writing fan fiction and is excited, and a touch frightened, to make the jump to original fiction. She is a big fan of the band Muse, who inspired her to choose a single word for her pen name: DOLCE. Plus, Cher has the one name thing going for her, too. Everyone loves Cher.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Website: www.dolcewrites.com
Tumblr: http://haydolce.tumblr.com/
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/dolcewrites
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dolcewrites
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/dolcewrites/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29457376-escapade
Redbubble: http://www.redbubble.com/people/dolcewrites

Purging my Demons with Wade Kelly

March 25, 2016

Hello good people. This is Wade Kelly here with a special guest post. I’ve had a busy week. On Monday, March 21, I had an audiobook release. Names Can Never Hurt Me is now out for your listening pleasure! I am so very excited as I believe Jack Amber captures the voice of Nick Jones so very well!

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Then, today, March 25, my new novel Bankers’ Hours has come out!

BankersHoursFS

When thinking of what to write about for my blog tour, I asked my fan group The Wade Brigade what kinds questions they would like me to answer. One person, Eric, asked this:

Eric asked: Unlike a lot of authors, you do tend to write CLEAR across the scale. Do you have to balance out writing a tough novel with something lighter? Does it wring you out when you write the tough ones, or does it help you work through your own demons? (If you have any?)‬

SCALE 2016_FB 850x315 8 titles

I found this a good one to answer here. Eric is right, I DO write clear across the scale. So much so, I came up with an “Angst” scale of my own for people to refer to when choosing one of my novels. I believe you need to be prepared  for what you read. I do not want a fan of lighthearted romance to pick up When Love Is Not Enough and have their heart ripped out with out them realizing it until it’s too late. I want happy fans. If you want your heart ripped out, then by all means read my angsty stuff! But I know that I have fans who only want the light stuff. I give it to them straight on what NOT to read.

That said, Bankers’ Hours is on the lighter end of the scale. (Refer to my angst scale image) BH (as I often refer to it,) is #3. If any of you have read my stuff, so far My Roommate’s A Jock? Well, Crap! is rated #2 on the one end, with When Love Is Not Enough on the other end at #10. When I was writing Bankers’ Hours, I was having fun. I was in a relatively good place emotionally for most of the writing of BH and I hope when people read it, they will have fun. Of course it wouldn’t be a Wade Kelly novel without a little angst. I hope some of the struggles are realistic and the emotions my characters go through come across genuine.

Several other novels are not so light and fun. To answer Eric’s question—yes, I work through my own demons when I write. When Love Is Not Enough ( WLINE) was born out of pain. In 2010 when I wrote it I had lost all my friends because I had the audacity to write a book with gay characters. (That book is out of print right now.) I was shunned for portraying homosexuality as acceptable. I was supposed to condemn it, and I had not. This cost me my church family, my friends, and nearly my marriage. Also during that year, I was going through an adoption. This was the toughest year of my life and it poured out through my writing. The main character Jimmy Miller, commits suicide. (this is known at the beginning of the novel.) I had to focus my pain somewhere, and Jimmy, Darian, and Matt came out of that pain. Since then, I have been messaged by many readers who that me for that book. I can see it was needed, and part of me is thankful for the pain I went through because it made my characters very genuine. The sequel, The Cost Of Loving (TCOL) features the persecution I went through involving the church.

My Roommate’s A Jock? Well, Crap! was written right after WLINE. YES, Eric, I had to balance out the tough novels with something light. JOCK was fun. I needed fun after writing Jimmy and Darian. They felt such pain and I had to think of something lighthearted. Cole is my sarcastic self and was written when I was feeling really good about myself.

Names Can Never Hurt Me, is the book in the middle of my scale. I wanted to get back to some angst, but I wanted to come at it from a different side. Instead of writing the character angst happens TO, I wrote from the POV of the love interest of the guy with a hard back story. Nick Jones is sort of slow on the uptake and kind of stupid at times, he’s sort of a slut, but he’s got a heart of gold. RC is my opposites attract love interest for Nick. RC has the really though backstory. This gives some angst, but it isn’t first hand knowledge, which gives it a lighter feel. I actually do the same thing with No! Jocks Don’t Date Guys ( JOCK 2) as I use a harsh backstory in Alonzo’s life, but the main character, Chris, finds out about it after the fact. When the rough stuff is not experienced first hand, it is not as intense.

I wrote NAMES, and a book called Misplaced Affection back to back and both are much heavier than JOCK. So, to balance out the pain, I wrote JOCK 2 and BH back to back. I need the fun!

I just finished writing JOCK 3 and poured my feelings into my characters. Right now I’m writing JOCK 4. Both of these are being written when I have some major emotional upheaval in my life so that will probably translate into tougher emotions. IDK. It’s the JOCK Series so it is supposed to be light. I’m trying! But the JOCK books will end up across the scale, but no higher than a #4.

I think that writing what you feel does help purge the demons. I can also put a happy ending on something that doesn’t feel so happy to me at the time as a way of searching for hope in myself. My goal when I write is to touch on real life situations and connect with what readers feel, and then to give them hope.

So if you are looking for an escape that is somewhat light, then maybe you’d like Bankers’ Hours. It’s quirky and meant to make you laugh, and maybe cry a little. Or, if you like audiobooks, Nick Jones is the character I think shows the most growth of all my books in Names Can Never Hurt Me.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I will leave you with an excerpt from Names Can Never Hurt Me, but after you read that, look for my other excerpts and blog posts for my blog tour for Bankers’ Hours.

The links to all the posts are on MY BLOG, to be updated daily. There are prizes to win and contest rules on those blogs. I hope to see you there!

This is the official tour list of stops:

February 24 – Prism Book Alliance
March 18 – MM Good Book Reviews
March 22 – Long and Short Reviews
March 23 – My Fiction Nook
March 24 – Oh My Shelves
March 25 – Divine Magazine
March 25 – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
March 28 – Love Bytes
March 29 – Gay Book Reviews
March 30 – The Novel Approach

For LINKS to all the stops, hop over to MY BLOG.

The BUY LINK for Bankers’ Hours is HERE.

The Names Can Never Hurt Me audiobook HERE.

Here ya go….

 

“Are you going to hide up here all night, or are you going to introduce me to your friend?” My mom smiled pleasantly, but I knew she was irked that I hadn’t already introduced him while we were all down in the kitchen. Not officially anyway. She stood in the middle of my room with her hands clasped behind her back. Waiting. If I didn’t do as asked, she’d probably stand there all night. I could comment about her being intrusive, but really, did I need to? I wasn’t bothered.

“Sorry, Mom, this is RC. RC, this is my mom, Cathy Jones.”

RC held out his hand and shook hers. “RC? Is that a nickname or your initials?” Leave it to Mom to broach the very question I had been dying to ask for a while but hadn’t.

He cleared his throat. “Um, they’re my initials, but also a nickname. My full name’s Raffael Charles Coppola, ma’am.” He looked unsettled as he told her.

“Raffael Coppola,” she repeated. “What a great Italian-sounding name.”

“Yes, ma’am. My father was Italian. My mother’s Greek.”

My mom smiled at RC and looked over at me. “I’m going to lie down and read before bed. Try not to be too loud in here.” She turned and walked out.

I knew her comment contained a double meaning of some sort. We weren’t loud before. She left the door open, and I was fine with it. We weren’t doing anything. I turned my attention to the TV and shot someone else. After a couple of minutes, I asked that burning question, “So, why do you go by RC? Raffy’s a pretty cool nickname.”

“That’s not what they called me in school,” he replied very quietly.

I noticed RC had stopped shooting when his character stood motionless and got killed by the advancing enemy soldier, so I looked over at him to see what was wrong. He was staring at the floor, controller limply held in his grasp. “RC?”

“I was a fat kid in school,” he whispered, however it was very quiet in the room after I paused the game so I could hear him well. He wasn’t looking at me. He was looking down, but I highly doubted he was counting carpet fibers. He continued slowly, “Kids weren’t very nice.”

RC sat very still and he didn’t look up. Am I supposed to say something? I didn’t know what was appropriate to say. “Um, yeah, I know. Kids can be mean. I’ve done some really shitty things.”

“Everyone called me Raffael until second grade. My mom liked my full name, and that’s how I got introduced. Then I remember eating a ham sandwich at lunch one day and some kid had just learned that capicola was a type of ham. He started laughing and slapping the table as if he’d heard some funny joke. When another boy asked what he was laughing about, he said my named rhymed with a type of ham. The whole table started laughing, and by the end of the day everyone was calling me Capicola instead of Coppola.”

“That’s not so bad. I like ham.” I tried sounding positive, but it didn’t help.

Without reaction to my comment RC said, “They all laughed and started making pig sounds. I was already fat and ridiculed by some kids, but when those other kids started oinking whenever I walked by, it only amped up the harassment because then almost all of my class was making fun of me. It went on all year. When I returned in third grade, I hoped it would change, but it didn’t. There were less random oinks in class, but I after threw up on the bus one morning the nickname changed from Capicola to Ralph.”

“That’s not bad. We have a neighbor named Ralph. I don’t see how that’s so awful when you could easily derive Ralph from Raffael.”

He looked at me then, and the pain in his eyes was dreadful. “It is when ‘Ralph’ is accompanied with retching sounds. It never stopped. The noises and euphemisms for vomit continued through high school. Kids didn’t oink as much, but they pretended to throw up when they passed me in the halls. I was called Vomit, Yackhead, Pukeface, and Upchuck. Kids asked questions like ‘Did you lose your lunch?’ or ‘Can I toss your cookies?’ I made the mistake of crying in front of someone in fifth grade, and that’s when it solidified into shameful taunting for the rest of my life. No one ever called me Raffy. It was always something derogatory.”

RC looked away. I guess looking at me as I sat there with a stupid dumbfounded expression glued to my face was not helping alleviate his embarrassment of the personal pain he had endured in school. He’d just revealed the truth behind his nickname RC, and I gave no reaction at all. I should have, but I didn’t know what to say at first. I’d been one of those guys. I was the jerk in school who pointed out the flaws in others and laughed when they puked on the bus. I was never as malicious as RC had experienced, but I also knew I was not very different from that now. How often had I judged others in my head, yet without verbal aspersions?

The main reason I hadn’t called RC fat when I first saw him was because Marcy said it. Hearing her cut somebody down made me feel bad. If I’d have done it first, I don’t think I would’ve apologized. I compared people, but I didn’t look at someone and automatically think fat, ugly, poor, Asian, bad hair, needs a bath…. Okay, I did think that with RC. He’d looked scruffy and unkempt and I postulated he needed lessons in proper hygiene. It was only because I didn’t know him. Once I’d found out about the job and the skin issues, it all made total sense. And now, he looked way better.

However, after hearing someone from his past would make him feel so worthless, I was angry. Raffael was his name, not Ralph or Capicola or—for fuck’s sake—Vomit! And Raffy was my friend. I’d never had a friend who had been bullied like that. I had always been the one joining in the torment of others. I never instigated, but I think it was because I feared getting caught. But if someone else started the teasing, I’d had no qualms assisting… back then. I was different now.

It happened in high school. Somewhere between eighth and tenth grade, our little “gang” gelled, and it wasn’t an issue excluding others. We didn’t need to make fun of them or bully them for being ugly or fat. We tended to stick to our own. We were the “pretty people,” as M-L had put it. Others stayed away by default. We became a gang without the hate crimes. We didn’t beat others up or stuff them into lockers. We hung out and partied and drank and had loads of sex and talked about careers and college and the future. Our gang became a stagnant bubble of “senior year” even though most of us had graduated college and found the careers we’d talked about in high school.

So when RC described his past, I couldn’t help but consider it could have easily been me tormenting him. It wasn’t, and it wouldn’t be now, but it could have been. I felt terrible thinking I had it in me to hurt him like that.

I finally worked up my nerve to whisper, “I’m sorry.”

RC straightened and took a deep breath. He stood up and shrugged it off. “If that was the worst thing to ever happen to me, I think I’d be grateful. But the rest is a story for another day.”

“You didn’t need to say all that to me. Not if it’s painful.”

“Yeah, I did.”

“Why?”

“Because it’s like you said three weeks ago… I feel comfortable around you. I know lots of things about you, but we hadn’t gotten around to me yet. I didn’t want to dump it all on you at once, but I felt like I should start with something. After your mom asked my name, it seemed like the right time.”

My heart warmed. “You feel comfortable around me?”

“Yes. It feels like you’re the first friend I ever had. And if you give me shit over it, I’ll pound you.”

 

BIO:

Wade Kelly lives and writes in conservative, small-town America on the east coast where it’s not easy to live free and open in one’s beliefs. Wade writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference by making people think. Wade does not have a background in writing or philosophy, but still draws from personal experience to ponder contentious subjects on paper. There is a lot of pain in the world and people need hope. When not writing, she is thinking about writing, and more than likely scribbling ideas on sticky notes in the car while playing “taxi driver” for her children. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry.

My social media:

Web: www.writerwadekelly.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wadekellywriter
Facebook Fan group, The Wade Brigade : https://www.facebook.com/groups/247976895406172/
Blog: writerwadekelly.blogspot.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterWadeKelly
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/writerwadekelly/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5141623.Wade_Kelly

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/advanced_search_result.php?keywords=bankers+hours&x=0&y=0

Second-Story Man Second Giveaway Winner!

May 30, 2015
The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

Hi all. Robert P. Rowe here. All good things must come to an end and so it is with the Release Party for Second-Story Man. I have to turn control of the Dreamspinner Press blog back over to the publisher. Don’t forget that the book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Now comes the time to announce the winner of the ebook giveaway. If you saw the previous post you can see that the competition is tough. Meeting in a sex education class, or dialing a wrong number, or finding that certain someone hidden behind a mask are all great accidental meetings.

It’s most interesting that all of the stories seem to carry the same theme—two souls destined to meet.

But the story that really got to me came from Su. I liked the comparison of Second-Story Man to a fairy tale—that is intentional. I also found some significance in the library meeting. Read my book and you’ll see why. Finally, I thought that the answer itself was somewhat of a fairy tale. Like all good fairy tales there are those evil characters that cause trouble but the happy couple will survive and live happily ever after.

I hope that I can add to Su’s happiness by awarding the final giveaway ebook of Second-Story Man. Go to this address and click on email right below the picture:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Send me your email address and I’ll pass it on to the good people at DSP to add an ebook onto your shelf.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. I really enjoyed reading your stories and I hope that you will enjoy reading mine.

Don’t forget to check out my website and blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

Second-Story Man Giveaway Countdown

May 29, 2015
The bar is getting ready to close.

The bar is getting ready to close.

The final countdown for the end of this Release Party has begun. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. The book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

A central theme for Second-Story Man is that there are no accidents—everything happens for a reason. With that theme in mind I invited blog readers to enter my giveaway contest the prize is an ebook version of Second-Story Man for the person who has the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Well the responses have been so wonderful I just had to share them with you. Here we go.

Deborah says:
Congratulations on the publication of The Second-Story Man, Robert! Fun way to hold a contest. My now-husband and I met in Human Sexuality Class in college. We were in the same discussion group, talking about our sexuality and its influences before we even started dating. Then of course we did start going out, and attending class together was like getting marriage counseling as we dated. Our 20th anniversary is this summer, so I guess it worked.

Steven Traugh says:
First of all, congratulations on your book! I’m looking forward to reading it. What a fun contest. When I decided it was time to marry, I moved to a cottage on the founding estate of Palos Verdes (an exclusive neighborhood along the beach outside Los Angeles) so that I could meet the “right kind” of girl. Imagine my surprise when I found the love of my life at work–teaching in the inner city of Los Angeles! It was love at first sight and now, 27 years later, she’s still the “right kind of woman.”

Susan says:
I was visiting my sister who was still in college and she convinced me to go to a costume Halloween party. I dressed as a flapper and met a cowboy (not too original) that I eventually wound up dating when I moved back to my hometown.

Angela says:
To answer your question i did meet my (now) husband at Carnival, at the food stand he was dressed in a funny shirt and jeans and i was dressed as an indian LOL We talked a bit and when it was time to go home he walked me to my friends place (where i stayed during the carnival festivities). We got married 4 years later and this weekend we will be married 13 years

Su says:
What an interesting contest and thank you for a chance to win a copy of your book Second Story Man. I enjoyed the book brief and the Repunzel story came to mind, with the prince climbing up the side of the tower to find the one of his dreams

I wondered which of my life stories would be interesting to you, maybe the one of how my current partner stealthy pursued (or indirectly courted) me as he knew I was very shy or how I met another man who has become my lifelong best friend. Both are quite sweet stories, but I might go with the best friend one. When I was about 13 I was starting at a new school, due to being bullied at my old one, and I immediately sought my haven, the library! After a few weeks of avoiding as many other students as I could, I was quite dismayed to find my hiding place in the library occupied by a dark auburn haired boy that I had admired from afar. His socked feet were resting up on another chair, his black rimmed glasses resting half way down his nose and he was reading one of the books that I had left there during the lunch period. He looked up and smiled (sigh) and his pale blue eyes were slightly enhanced by the enlarging effect of his reading glasses. I was not sure how to react or what to say, so thankfully he saved the day by saying he was looking for this book and would I mind sharing it with him. From that day forward he started to chat to me around the school and became my protector, as quite a few other students were jealous of our friendship. Yes he was my first crush and people thought we were dating, but we more like soul friends than anything else. I should say that he had seen me hiding in the library and decided to make friends with me. We shared our shy first kiss together and eventually, when he was about 16, as I knew something was worrying him, he told me his biggest secret and his fear. To be honest I was sad about it, but also fearful for him as I knew his parents were less than understanding and we pretended to be together until we went our separate ways when we went to university. We always remained in contact and after graduation we both worked for the same company and yes he family did reject him when he came out, but I was there for him and always will be and visa versa. So that is the story of how I met my closest and lifelong friend and protector.

Theo says:
Hi, congrats on the new release!

the interesting meeting story I have is not mine but my sister’s. She met her ex-boyfriend when she called her friend but got the wrong number. Problem was, the wrong number was owned by a man with the same name as her friend. When this man insisted he didn’t know her,she exploded quite spectacularly before realizing she dialed the wrong number. she apologized and they became a couple.

H.B. says:
Thank you for the excerpt!

I met my best friend two years before we got to know each other and actually became friends. We were both about ten and she was in the same summer program as me but we never talked to each other. She was just some other kid I was passing by and was passing by me. When I had to transfer elementary school to a school that covered grade 6-8. She saw me and I saw her it was like insta-friends.

Trix says:
I met my best friend in line for an a cappella concert at college our first year. I thought “who is that cool girl in the flowered dress?,” and it turned out she had seen me around the dorm. She doesn’t remember it, though…

All of your stories were so wonderful and original. It was really hard deciding would be this morning’s winner. But I had to choose one so I chose Trix. My reasons were simple and here’s what I told her:

Great story Trix. It’s funny how often people can see a complete stranger and instantly realize, “I know that person.” That’s a theme in my book too. There are no accidents–everything happens for a reason.

There’s still time to enter for tonight’s giveaway, but you’d better hurry. I’ll be signing off just after midnight Eastern Time.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Cover

May 29, 2015

I’m back. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. The book can be found here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

As I mentioned in an earlier posting, book covers really make a difference in grabbing readers attention. Since art direction is what I do in my real job I couldn’t resist doing a little bit of it here too.

Dreamspinner Press art director Paul Richmond sent me a number of samples from various artists to give me an idea of what style I might like and what was available. I just looked at the art—not the name of the artist—and just so happened to land on Paul. A number of his covers had a great painterly quality along with some very handsome men.

I had such a clear idea of what I wanted the cover to look like that I had to send Paul my own sample. Just because I’m an artist doesn’t mean that I can draw anything. I have my limits. I do what I’m good at and then I hire someone else to do the things they are good at. My sample was created with a combination of SketchUp (a 3D computer drawing program) and Photoshop.

The composition is what I really wanted to convey. My challenge was to convey handsome men and yet not clearly depict their faces. I wanted my readers to be able to fill in the faces with their own imagination. For that reason the over-the-shoulder shot works best. It puts Carlos’s muscular shoulder at the edge of the frame and makes Michael appear to be the object of his affection. At the same time, as the title indicates, it appears that second-story man Carlos is up to no good.

So here is my sample composition.

My humble cover sample.

My humble cover sample.

This is where the real magic comes in. Paul took my sample and reworked it slightly to adjust the composition. He sent me a line drawing that I made a few notes on and I also gave him color direction. I knew that I wanted a cover in shades of blue to indicate that it is nighttime. I also wanted light streaming in the window from some off camera streetlight to illuminate Michael. I wanted Michael to glow like an angel.

Paul sent me his first color pass and I again made some minor notes. Carlos had gotten a little pale for a Latin man and I wanted the title to have a little more punch. Well, the final product came out great. Far better than anything I ever could have done myself.

Second-Story Man Cover

Second-Story Man Cover

In the end the book has a wonderful cover that clearly promises an unusual meeting. And that brings me back to this mornings posting. I promised an ebook giveaway of Second-Story Man to the reader that had the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner for an ebook copy of Second-Story Man just before Midnight Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too.

If you posted your answer this morning and didn’t win don’t worry—you’re still in the running.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. You can also contact me right here at Dreamspinner Press on my author page. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man ebook Winner!

May 29, 2015
Wouldn't a paperback look nice on your nightstand?

Wouldn’t a paperback look nice on your nightstand?

Congratulations Trix, you’re the winner. I really liked your story of meeting your best friend because it sounds so much like destiny. If you hadn’t met in line you would have met some place else.

Go to this address and click on email right below the picture:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Send me your email address and I’ll pass it on to the good people at DSP to add an ebook onto your shelf.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the contest. It was a tough choice. Keep adding your contest entries throughout the day and I’ll be back again at 10PM Eastern Time tonight to choose another winner.

Don’t forget to check out my website and blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

P.S. If you entered the contest this morning, or anytime throughout the day, you’re still in the running for tonights giveaway.

Second-Story Man Places

May 29, 2015

Hello again. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. If you haven’t checked out my bio you really ought to. It can be found along with the book here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Now that you’ve read my bio you know that my day job keeps me busy as an art director. I also have this huge fascination for movies and television from the mid-century. Life seemed so simple and uncomplicated then—and the movies of the era made it less complicated.

I fell in love with that world—the backlot world of Universal Studios. While I was writing Second-Story Man I kept imagining the backlot as the home for my characters Carlos and Michael. Carlos has invaded Michael’s World so the reader gets to explore Michael’s World along with Carlos.

Now for those of you who can’t wait for a tour here it is in pictures.

The Brownstone Hotel from across the street.

The Brownstone Hotel from across the street.

This first image is of Michael’s Brownstone Hotel. Carlos climbed through the open window just above the segmental pediment. Just like now the street was deserted, but it was late at night when Carlos came sneaking in. This is a view from across the street.

Michael's room with the dresser and mirror.

Michael’s room with the dresser and mirror.

Here is the interior of Michael’s room. It’s just a small hotel room with a little kitchen. Michael had left his computer on the dresser just below the mirror. That’s where Carlos spotted it.

Michael's room and his queen sized bed.

Michael’s room and his queen sized bed.

Here is another view of Michael’s room. His orange desk is next to the bed by the side where Carlos sleeps.

This alley hides more than memories.

This alley hides more than memories.

This alley plays an important role in the story.

The Hide Away with its rainbow flag.

The Hide Away with its rainbow flag.

Another location featured in the novel is The Hide Away, a gay bar. This is an exterior view. Just to the right is the alley that connects to the next block. The alley is a shortcut to and from the bar.

The Hide Away interior from just inside the front doors.

The Hide Away interior from just inside the front doors.

Inside of The Hide Away Carlos is forced to endure many a night hanging out with the pool boys. Michael hangs out with his friends over by the far exit door.

The Hide Away from the other side.

The Hide Away from the other side.

This is Michael’s point of view across the bar to where Carlos hangs out by the pool table and the main entrance. Notice that the bar itself separates the room into two halves.

It’s not so unusual to meet someone in a bar. It’s more unusual to meet someone who climbed in your window. I’m running a contest to find out an unusual way that you met someone. All that you have to do is answer this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner for an ebook copy of Second-Story Man just before 11AM Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too. I’ll be here answering questions for a little while longer, then I’m back tonight at 10PM Eastern until Midnight.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Excerpt

May 29, 2015
The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

The Brownstone Hotel with an open window or two.

Hello again. It’s Robert P. Rowe taking over the Dreamspinner Press blog to tell you about my novel Second-Story Man. You can find my book here:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

But you can read an excerpt here and now:

A hot August night is always good for an open window or two, and I’d spotted one on a deserted street. It looked like an easy climb. From the entrance stair it was a short hop onto the balustrade, an arm’s reach to the segmental pediment, and one last stretch across the brownstone wall. By the time I reached the second-story window, I figured out the climb wasn’t as easy as the construction-site scaffolds I was used to. Biker boots aren’t made for climbing. A tank top was great for showing off my brown-skinned muscles, but for climbing up a building it was stupid—I was all scratched up. If I’d planned this, I’d’ve worn a heavier shirt, with long sleeves.
My raw hands throbbed, but at least I made it. I peered inside. The room was dark, but the streetlight showed me enough. Just what I was looking for: a laptop on the dresser. I’d seen ’em at the pawnshop going for five or six hundred—that’s all the money I needed. Across from the dresser was a bed with some white guy—sleeping like a baby. His blanket was pushed down. The guy was half-naked because of the heat, and leaner than me. If I had to, I could take him.
I climbed in without a stir from the bed and headed straight for the computer. Shit! What was that? My own reflection in the dresser mirror made me jump. Suck it up, Carlos—you can do this. Still, my nerves were on edge. How did that gringo not hear my heart pounding? My sweaty hands were shaking as I struggled to unplug the laptop. Suddenly, something caught my eye. The reflection was big and looming up behind me—
Everything went dark. Sound was muffled. I was suffocating.
Gasping, I struggled against a fabric trap, clawing to free myself until I felt a full body blow take me down to the hard floor. The wind was knocked out of me, and the gringo was on top of me. Then I felt an excruciating whack across my forehead, and my world spun out of control.

Oh, man. What happened?
My head was whirling. I wasn’t sure I could open my eyes.
I took a deep breath, then forced one eye open. Too bright. Blurry. I think I was still in the same room. I opened the other eye, tilted my head. Man, did it hurt. A table lamp was glowing and I must’ve been in the bed. Hey, where’s my shirt? I looked around and there’s that gringo, sitting in the chair next to the bed. How’d that guy manage to get the jump on me? He was still half-naked, wearing some boxers, and he was holding—a bat!
“What the… I’m gettin’ the hell outta here.” I started to get up, but my head was spinning and— “Where’re my pants, ya faggot?” I was naked in this guy’s bed. “What’d ya do to me?”
“Me? I didn’t do anything. I picked you up at the bar. On the way home you got gay-bashed. I brought you up here because I think you might have a concussion. You’ll need to get some sleep.”
“Hey, man, I’m no faggot,” I yelled, making my head hurt all the more.
“Really? Then why are you naked in my bed?” Man, he was right. This really didn’t look good. “Whacking you with a bat could get me into trouble. Climbing in my window could get you into trouble. Nobody will bother to investigate some random gay-bashing.”
“So what now?” I felt trapped, but I defiantly dared him to answer. “Ya wanna fuck me?”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I don’t waste my time with straight guys—too much drama.”

***

This is a very unusual way to meet and it sure doesn’t seem like these guys are off to a very good start. But stranger things have happened. In fact I’m hoping that you’ll tell me some strange way that you’ve met someone special in your life.

I’m running a contest to give away an ebook copy of Second-Story Man. All that you have to do is have the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

Post your answer in the comments and I’ll be choosing a winner just before 11AM Eastern Time. Feel free to post any other questions or comments that you may have too. I’ll be here answering questions for another hour.

Here are links to my website and my blog:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Second-Story Man Release Party

May 29, 2015

Hi everyone. I’m Robert P. Rowe and I’ve taken over the Dreamspinner Press blog site to tell you all about my novel that has just been released today, ‘Second-Story Man.’

Here’s the address to find the novel at a discount for the release party:

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/AuthorArcade/robert-p-rowe

Many readers choose books by simply following their favorite author. But how does that author become a favorite in the first place? Somebody has to take a chance and then they tell their friends. This release party should give you a chance to get to know me, and my writing—and maybe help you decide to give me a chance.

The next thing that draws a reader in is the title. These are just about the most important words in the book—especially for the first time novelist. The title has to be intriguing—it has to promise the reader something.

I carefully chose the word play of ‘Second-Story Man.’ The obvious definition is for some sort of a thief. But the title also offers the subtle promise that the story of our lives is not written in stone—we have the power to change that story—we have the power to choose a second story for our lives. I’m never satisfied following the same path everyday and neither are my characters.

They say, “you can’t judge a book by its cover,” but people do anyway. For that reason the cover has to grab your attention. Dreamspinner Press art director Paul Richmond created the cover, but I created the cover concept. I’ll tell you more about that later. For now I hope that you’ll just enjoy the cover.

Second-Story Man Cover

Second-Story Man Cover

‘Second-Story Man’ is a 260-page, 95,000 word novel and believe it or not the most important words aren’t even in the book they are in the blurb. These are the words that will get a reader to decide to open the book or move along to the next option. Here’s the blurb:

Offering a would-be thief a second chance is risky—especially when he could steal your heart.

Carlos had it all: a good-paying construction job, a truck, a rental house and his girl. Then he lost his job and everything else along with it. Desperate, he turns to crime—only to fail in his first attempt when he accidentally climbs into the wrong window. Carlos has to rethink his life when his victim becomes his only friend.

Michael has lost too many times in love. Prince Charming won’t be knocking at his door, with its do-not-disturb sign permanently in place, when fate finds Carlos climbing into his window. Michael’s compassion for this down-and-out lost soul turns to friendship. But Michael can’t allow things to go any further and still feel safe from heartbreak.

There are no accidents, and the second-story man discovers that in life and love there can be a second story.

***

When I signed up for this blog I was told that most authors have some sort of contest and offer some sort of giveaway. That sounded like a great idea to me. I wanted to offer a trip to Hawaii to the hottest single guy. I couldn’t think of a better way to promote myself than to let some lucky guy really get to know me.

Sadly I was informed that DSP really wants to promote the book instead. They recommended a contest that offers an ebook copy of ‘Second-Story Man’ as the giveaway. It seems rather ordinary to me, but I guess they know what they are talking about.

In an effort to make the contest a little more extraordinary I decided that the winner should have the best answer to this question:

“What’s the most interesting accidental way that you have met someone special in your life?”

It would be nice if this person became a love interest, but meeting a friend will do. It just needs to be an unusual meeting. Of course, I’m asking the question because it’s an unusual meeting that triggers the events of ‘Second-Story Man.’

Again, the reader with the most interesting answer will be the winner of the giveaway. I’ll be announcing the winner later on this morning.

I’ll be posting more about the book and answering your questions too. I’m here until 11AM Eastern Time. You’ll have to do the math to figure out what time that is where you live. Send me your comments, questions and answers.

Oh, and here are some links to my blog and my website:
Website: http://www.robertprowe.com/
Blog: http://artofrobertrowe.blogspot.com/

If you missed this Release Party contact me through my Contact page on my website. I’m always interested in your comments.

Blog Release Party! A Most Unusual Courtship & A Most Unusual Wedding

April 16, 2015

AMOSTUNUSUALCOURTSHIP_FINAL

MostUnusualWedding[A]FS

 

Well hello everyone! Good morning/afternoon/evening in whatever part of the world you’re reading this in! I’m Nancy M. Griffis and I’ll be your hostess with the mostest for the next few hours! This is my very first blog release party and also, probably not coincidentally, my first novel (and novella) with Dreamspinner, though definitely not my last!

My latest novel, A Most Unusual Wedding will be released this coming Monday, 4/20/15, and its novella prequel, A Most Unusual Courtship, came out on 4/13/15. Courtship, by the way, is going to remain free so you can scoop it up asap into your hot little hands… or kindle, or nook, as the case may be… and see how it all began before the big event! As a little bonus, all books at Dreamspinner are on sale, so you’ll be able to take twenty-five percent off!

I originally came up with Courtship in response to a charity anthology call for submissions a few years ago with the theme as Leather. I’ll admit that I figured it would end up a lot spicier than it did with that theme, but Gerald (the leathersmith) is a very proper Victorian man. Raised by his grandfather after the deaths of his parents, Gerald was an only child who lived mostly to create beauty through leather. As a powerful and wealthy mage, Leo is far more forward and goes after what, and who, he wants with considerably more brashness. Of course, he’s a noble, a middle child, and has traveled the world as well, so he’s a fair bit more cosmopolitan than Gerald, who’s never even left London. This is a definite case of opposites attract.

For those of you wondering how Wedding came about, I was working on other novels after Courtship and taken quite by surprise when Leo started yammering in my ear about getting married. He was very definite on the matter. I thought it couldn’t be too hard to do a full-on novel but then the research began! Let me just say that you don’t know what you don’t know about a time period until you actually start writing about it. I mostly write contemporary urban fantasy or futuristic scifi, so this was my first historical novel, which was somewhat intimidating. There are so many excellent historical novels out there and I really wanted to do it justice. Even though Wedding is an urban fantasy novel as well as historical, I wanted to get as realistic a feel for it as I could possible portray. I didn’t want to take any shortcuts because it was also a fantasy novel. I hope all the research (from underwear, to food, to types of carriages) comes through in the writing and builds a proper world for the reader.

So. I’ll read pretty much any genre of novel. It’s non-fiction I need to set my mind to. ;o) How many of you out there love mixed-genre books? I can count three that Wedding and Courtship belong to: historical, urban fantasy, and gay romance. Do you prefer your history without any make-believe? Or perhaps you like your fantasy in a world of the author’s creation? Or are you someone who lives by ‘the more genres the better!’ philosophy? Let me know! :D

And if you’ve already read Courtship, I’d love your feedback!