Where Do You Get Your Ideas? w/ Pat Henshaw + Giveaway

December 14, 2017

Where do you get your ideas

 

Short Order, the 8th and last of the Foothills Pride stories, releases on December 13. When I was thinking about blog pieces to write, I realized that a lot of readers want to know how an author gets an idea and develops it to use in a fictional piece, in this case a novella.

Since John, a minor character in When Adam Fell, is one of my favorite peripheral characters, I knew I wanted to write about him finding his happily ever after. I also already knew from Adam that John had a troubled past, but had finally found himself by becoming a sous to celebrity chef Adam.

But whom could I put with John? For reasons readers will discover in the story, John is leery of tall, dominating men, so his lover would have to be someone smaller, not the tall, dark, and handsome guy of romance cliché.

When my husband and I had a layover for a cross-country flight, we sat in a waiting room where a short, wiry man from the airline went from customer to customer explaining to those who needed it how the airplane’s Wi-Fi worked with their computers. The young man had a quick sense of humor and was very patient. The instructor also had a tattoo of computer parts—a motherboard, some chips, and a screwdriver on one of his his forearms.

His look and his personality traits were perfect as a foil for serious, driven John. But what kind of tattoo would John’s lover have? Whatever it was would have to reflect his passion, just as the computer parts obviously were an integral part of the airport instructor’s life.

A more important question was whom John needed in order to stop shutting himself off from people and be able to grow into a loving relationship. The more I thought about it, the more I realized he needed nourishing and patience. What better person for that than someone who loved plants and saw plants as a way to change the world?

I’d read a piece sometime back about a project to bring plants into inner city school rooms and public housing. Not only would the plants enrich the air, but they also responded to TLC on the part of their owners. In addition, they wouldn’t be an added expense for those who were trying to make ends meet.

As I read the article, I could feel the writer’s passion about getting a grant to put common, easy-to-grow houseplants in at-risk households and classrooms. Wouldn’t John’s perfect mate have this same passion? And John’s need to be lovingly looked after would parallel that of a plant that would produce gorgeous blooms.

John’s backstory, his horrific experiences in San Francisco after his parents had disowned him, came from a tiny article in the Bay Guardian that I’d read years before and that lingered in my mind. Remembering it, I now had all the pieces for my story. Now I just had to sit down and write.

I’m not sure this really answers where ideas come from and how they become a story, but these are the pieces that came together for Short Order.

Do you have bits and pieces running around in your head from things you’ve heard or people you’ve seen that you wish were parts of a book? What are they? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have somewhere we could all share these snippets?

I’d love to hear from you and am offering a $10 Dreamspinner Gift Card to one randomly selected person who answers this piece.

Happy holiday, everyone!

Peace.

Check out Short Order today!

 

ShortOrder_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

When recent horticulture graduate Dr. Fenton Miller arrives in Stone Acres, California, he thinks his only concern is which job offer to accept after spending the holidays working at his cousin’s plant nursery. But after he rents a room from another shorter-than-average man, sous-chef John Barton, Fen falls in lust.

While he’s attracted to Fen, John’s got bigger concerns when two men from his past arrive in town and pressure him to return to San Francisco. Although John tries to stop Fen from getting involved, Fen realizes his lover is in trouble and is determined to protect him.

As the holidays get closer and Fen makes his own enemy, the joy of the season gets lost in the ill will around them. To ensure love triumphs, Fen and John must stand tall to show that short, dark, and handsome is a recipe for love.

 

Author Bio:

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she  promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

Author media links:

Website: http://patbooked.blogspot.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pat.henshaw.10
Twitter: https://twitter.com/phenshaw
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Pat-Henshaw/e/B00BPDEDEA/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6998437.Pat_Henshaw
Google+: https://plus.google.com/+PatHenshaw
Email: patoisca@yahoo.com

 

Exclusive Excerpt:

[Previously in the story, Fen and John had gone out on a date for a beer at the local Stonewall Saloon, and John had said goodnight with a “See you next time.” Fen’s been wondering when that would be.]

Next time turned out to be a couple of days later after I got back from work. I felt like a tractor had run over me, and I smelled like fir-tree resin. My apartment, on the other hand, smelled like I could eat it. Any doubts I had about John’s cooking ability dried up as I walked into my kitchen to survey my frozen dinner choices. Talk about haves and have-nots. Whatever he was making downstairs smelled delicious.

I was just settling on a Hungry-Man spicy fried chicken and mashed potatoes dinner, a gourmet delight ready to go in six-to-eight minutes, when he knocked on my door. I was so tired I carried my rock-solid dinner with me.

“What the hell is that?” John recoiled, taking a step back and staring at Mr. Hungry-Man.

It wasn’t hello or how are you, so I stood still to get my bearings. I held up the box and peered at it.

“Dinner. Why?” Nothing seemed to be falling out of the box. Why was he getting so upset?

He laughed a few rusty barks, which quickly turned into guffaws. Tears streamed down his face.

“Hey, not all of us are cooks.” I lowered the box. “You need something? Cup of sugar, maybe?”

His laughter tapered off and died. He wiped his cheeks with his fingers, then stared at the tears a minute, surprise shining from his eyes. Finally, he looked at me, his eyelashes stuck together in a few places. “Yeah. I need you.” His voice slid over me like smoky molasses. It slowly dripped into my imagination.

If I’d been less tired, I would have jumped him right there. But while the spirit was willing, the body was wilted lettuce. He’d asked for help. I could give him help. Just barely.

“Sure. Let me take a shower and eat, then I’ll be right down.” I started to close the door, but he grabbed my Hungry-Man and walked it back to the freezer. He shoved it in with the others. His face scrunched in a grimace.

“Just put on some shoes and a coat. You’re eating downstairs.”

My tired brain recorded one more whiff of the aroma coming up from his kitchen, and I did as he commanded. It was next time, and I was sorta ready.

His place, like mine, was furnished in jewels from the past. As I expected, our floor plans were almost identical except he had a front and back door. His fireplace was alight with a warm, cheery fire. His rooms ranged from stately and formal to cozy and intimate. But none reflected the holiday season: no tree, no garland, nothing.

“You should come down to the nursery.” With a groan, I sank into the dining chair he’d indicated. “We can fix you up with a tree and evergreen swags.”

He put a plate in front of me without comment. The best-looking roast beef and new potatoes stared up at me. I started to drool. While he set his plate down and sat, I breathed in the home-cooked meal and then sighed.

“This looks perfect. Thanks. I’d call it pot roast, but I’m sure it has some fancier name.” I was babbling, trying desperately to be polite and not dig in like the starving man I was.

He laughed and pointed to my plate with his fork. “Just eat. It is pot roast. My variation on straight Yankee Pot Roast.”

Even though his eyes twinkled, he said it without a grin. I laughed. In response his smile lit up, and he laughed with me. Now I knew the green light was on. We could become friends with benefits. Or even landlord and tenant with a booty bond. Tonight, if I wasn’t so damned tired and hungry.

We ate in silence. Now I felt more than ever like we were becoming friends.

As I sopped up the last of the gravy with a piece of roll, I looked around. Since I worked in the glut of Yule paraphernalia, I again noticed how beautiful but bare of holiday cheer the rooms were.

“You don’t celebrate Christmas?” I wondered if maybe he was Jewish or atheist or something.

“Not really.” He grimaced. “You’re probably up to your eyeballs with it now.”

I nodded. “I could use your help tomorrow night if you’ve got the time.”

“Sure. With what?” He looked interested, which I took to mean he wasn’t just humoring me.

“I picked out a tree and need to get it up the stairs.”

“Huh?” He sat back and looked like he was studying me. “So even though you work in the middle of the holiday crap all day, you want to bring it home with you?”

I nodded. I wouldn’t exactly call it crap. Besides, who didn’t like the holiday season? Bright lights, often cheerful people, foods and snacks made with tons of sugar. True, a lot of annoying songs, but I could overlook them. One more verse from Trini Lopez, though, and I’d have to shoot someone—probably myself.

He took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Well, you smell good. I’ll give you that.”

I laughed softly as my dick perked up, but I was too tired for any follow-through. “I smell like a fucking Christmas tree.” My eyes were drooping.

“And I smell like a pot roast.” He got up and started clearing the plates and utensils. Ordinarily, I would have helped, but I couldn’t move. It occurred to me I was going to have to go outside and get my ass up the stairs in order to be home. Then I drifted.

As we tackled the stairs, I tilted into him like I was drunk, only I wasn’t. Just so fucking tired. His body felt wonderful next to mine. I could snuggle and sleep on him.

We’d reached the top of the stairs, and I was panting. I handed him my key and muttered, “Can you unlock it for me?”

He opened the door.

I leaned, resting against his back.

“Thanks for dinner, handsome,” I slurred.

Then he turned, and I kissed him, a little sloppy and a lot off center. But I managed to make it lips on lips.

He stepped back, a shocked look on his face, but lust shone from his eyes.

 

Other titles in the Foothills Pride series:

What’s in a Name?
Redesigning Max
Behr Facts
When Adam Fell
Relative Best
Frank at Heart
Waking the Behr

Jenn Burke’s Fave Canadian Places to Set a Book + Giveaway

December 13, 2017

Jenn Burke's Top 5 Places

Whenever possible, I prefer to set my books in Canada because, well, I’m Canadian. Setting my books close to home is fun, and I don’t see enough books set in the True North. But there are only so many books I can set in the Ottawa area, so here are some other locations I’ve got on my radar.

 

Toronto

Toronto is Canada’s largest city. Seriously, it’s huge. At last count, the GTA—Greater Toronto Area—is home to nearly 6 million people, and it’s just as cosmopolitan as, say, New York City or L.A.

The CN Tower in Toronto

Why I want to set a book here: The Toronto area is so diverse. You’ve got upscale areas and rundown areas; harbourfront and countryside (or close enough). You’ve got major business and industry located there, as well as huge national sports teams, and museums, and tourist attractions like Canada’s Wonderland, and…yeah, you get the idea. It’s a treasure trove of a setting.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: A few! I’m working on plotting out a Toronto-set paranormal mystery featuring a demon who broke free of his summoner and a witch-knight with PTSD and a service dog who have to work together to solve a series of murders.

 

Prince Edward Island

PEI—also known as the Island—is Canada’s smallest province. With a population of just under 150,000 people, only slightly more people live there than in the Ottawa suburb I grew up in! It’s largely a rural community with a focus on farming (potatoes!), tourism and fishing. Fun fact: you can drive from the east point of the Island to the west point in about three hours.

Wind turbines on the east point of Prince Edward Island

Why I want to set a book here: I love PEI with a passion. It’s my favourite place to visit. The pace of life is so much slower than Ontario or other urban centres, so you really feel like you get a chance to breathe while you’re there. There’s a rich history, too—PEI is the home of Canada’s most famous literary heroine, Anne of Green Gables, and it’s the birthplace of Canadian Confederation (kind of like the US’s Declaration of Independence). It’s like a small town in province form.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I have a sweet contemporary mostly plotted, about a university student who has to abandon his dreams of a mainland career to take over his family’s goat farm and goat soap business suddenly to support his sister, and a school acquaintance who comes to his rescue when times get tough.

 

Almonte

Almonte, Ontario, holds a special place in my heart because it’s my adopted hometown. We moved here in 2013, and it was honestly the best choice we ever made. It’s just far enough away from Ottawa to be out of the hustle and bustle of the city, but close enough that it’s easy to access Ottawa’s conveniences, and it still has a lovely small-town feeling to it.

almonte-1

Downtown Almonte, Ontario

Why I want to set a book here: On our first night here, someone told us that Almonte is this really interesting mix of yuppie and redneck—and it’s totally true. You have the wonderful ruralness of the Ottawa Valley and Lanark County mixed with the hipster/yuppy artist vibe of upscale gift shops and galleries. There’s a Riverwalk right next to the Mississippi River (not that Mississippi River…this is another one) where you can watch the water as it works its way through rapids and a couple of dams.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I have ideas for a couple of contemporaries, one of which involves a sugar shack farmer (someone who collects maple syrup) and his best friend, and the other is about a kids’ hockey coach and the father of one of his players.

 

Alberta foothills

I spent a good chunk of my early years in Edmonton, Alberta, and the prairies will always have a place in my heart—but some of my best memories come from spending a week at a horseback riding camp and ranch in the Alberta foothills when I was 10 years old. It was an incredible experience.

Why I want to set a book here: When you think of a book set in the West, you normally think of the western or southwest states. Canada has a west, too—one that is often overlooked. I would love to introduce readers to this area that was dear to me in my childhood.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I have thoughts about a LGBTQIA+ guest ranch set in the foothills. I’d like to write a romantic suspense in this setting, but the plot isn’t jibing for me yet.

 

Cape Breton

Cape Breton is part of Nova Scotia and is situated off the province’s east coast, connected to the mainland by a causeway. Unlike PEI, Cape Breton is not at all a tamed environment. There are a few farms, and towns polka-dot the landscape, but mostly it’s filled with wilderness and mountains. It reminds me a lot of the Rocky Mountains in Alberta—smaller, of course, but the same level of wildness.

Part of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia

Why I want to set a book here: The wilderness of Cape Breton calls to me. When my family visited this summer, I was inspired over and over again by things I saw. Like a barely visible cabin tucked on the side of a mountain, only detectable because of powerlines and a hole cut in the trees. Or a distillery in the middle of nowhere that uses spring water from the nearby mountain to make absolutely delicious single malt whiskey.

Any ideas or works-in-progress: I had some thoughts on a story set in the same world as The Gryphon King’s Consort, but nothing has really jumped out at me yet. I’ll need to keep thinking about it!

Thanks for joining me on my wishful tour of Canada! If you’ve ever visited Canada, please share your favourite spot in the comments section—and if you haven’t visited Canada, let me know where you would like to visit.

 

Check out The Gryphon King’s Consort today!

 

perf4.250x7.000.indd

 

Dreamspinner Press
Amazon US
Amazon Canada
Amazon UK
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

 

Blurb:

Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love.

 

Jenn_07_cropped_550x579

Author Bio:

Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

Jenn is the author of The Gryphon King’s Consort from Dreamspinner Press and the co-author of the critically acclaimed Chaos Station science fiction romance series (with Kelly Jensen) from Carina Press. She’s also the author of Her Sexy Sentinel, a paranormal romance from Entangled Publishing.

She’s been called a pocket-sized and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters…because her geekiness knows no bounds.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

 

Thank you so much for joining me on The Gryphon King’s Consort blog tour. Enter for your chance to win one of two $25 store credits for Dreamspinner Press!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Celebrating Chanukah w/ Avery Duran + Giveaway

December 12, 2017

Celebrating Chanukah

 

Thank you so much to Dreamspinner Press for hosting me today to talk about my novella, Ahava is Love. Ahava is Love came out this summer, but the majority of the book takes place during Chanukah, and the themes of the holiday – faith, miracles, and resilience – run through the story.

I thought it would be fun to celebrate with a Chanukah blog party. Since no celebration is complete without food, conversation, and gifts, I’ll spend the rest of the holiday visiting different blogs to share recipes, stories, excerpts, and a great giveaway. Tonight is the first night of Chanukah, and I hope you’ll join me for the rest of the holiday!

In the fall of 2000, I lived and worked in Brooklyn, NY. I loved my job and was enjoying the city life, yet I felt like something was missing.  I just couldn’t put my finger on what it was. In a real life plot twist, I was speaking to a friend about my need to shake up my life, on the same day she had just spoken to someone who mentioned they were interviewing for American group leaders for a 10-day trip to Israel. She suggested I apply; I took her advice, and I got the job.

On December 25th, 2000 (my 31st birthday), not knowing any of my fellow voyagers, I boarded a plane to Israel. I spent the next 10 days traveling with a group of young adults. Being in a land with such history, making new friends with diverse backgrounds, seeing members of my family who had settled there, celebrating Chanukah while in Israel, all added up to one life changing experience. For me, it was not about romance, I did not find love or a happily ever after with someone else—but I did find myself, and I came home much more comfortable in my own skin.

When I was thinking of writing for the World of Love line, I was intrigued by the concept of taking my own adventure to the next level. What would happen if one of the group leaders fell in love with another? Layering romance (and sexytimes) on top of such a meaningful experience would be so powerful. Same sex leaders share a room, so if there is a mutual attraction, resistance can be futile – and frustrating!

I loved writing this book, using my journals, pictures, imagination, and a whole lot of research to create Josh and Yaron’s world. Josh is frustrated with where his life is going and hopes a change of scenery will help him find his way. To that end, he accepts a position as a group leader for a tour of Israel. He meets Yaron, the Israeli security guard for the group, who lost his boyfriend in a terrorist attack a few years earlier. Yaron now lives his life without strings, looking for the next good time. Their chemistry is off the charts, but they are in different places – both emotionally and physically. Making a relationship work between them would really take a miracle.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know a little about me and my writing process. I will be sharing more over the coming days, so please join me when I visit the below blogs. They have been kind enough to host me to celebrate Chanukah with Ahava is Love!

Ahava is LoveAhava is the Hebrew word for love, I think you’ll enjoy falling in love with Josh, Yaron – and Israel!

Check out Ahava is Love today!

 

AhavaIsLove_postcard_front_DSP

 

Dreamspinner
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Australia
Barnes & Noble
Google Play
Kobo
Books2Read
Add to Goodreads

 

Blurb:

Brooklyn Realtor Josh Perlman desperately wants to settle down. Unfortunately he can’t find a man who wants the same. Tired of disastrous dates, he travels to explore his heritage.

Yaron is an Israeli security guard and medic charged with looking after Josh and his pilgrimage group. For Yaron, the need to protect has become more a duty than an honor since he lost his long-term boyfriend to a terrorist attack—a loss that continues to haunt him.

As they embark on their journey through the Holy Land, it’s hard to deny the attraction that sparks between Josh and Yaron. Yet with America calling Josh home, and Israel, and the death of his lover holding Yaron prisoner, it seems only a miracle can keep them together.

But Israel is an ancient land, one that has seen miracles before. Surrounded by structures that have been destroyed and rebuilt time after time, Josh and Yaron might just learn that their futures can be found in the wisdom of the past.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

 

AveryPortrait

About the Author:

Parent Association President by day, Romance Author by night, Avery Duran enjoys the best of all worlds. She’s a minivan-driving, cupcake-baking, soccer mom, who works outside the home while raising three rambunctious boys. Easily distracted by shiny things, Avery found making up stories in her head was an effective way to fool people into thinking she was paying attention. Eventually she decided to write down one of those stories, and her alter-ego was born.

She’s always been a voracious reader, Avery’s mother still brings up the time her school called because she refused to stop reading during math class. Avery is pleased to confirm that she has managed just fine without whatever important math lesson was being taught that day.

A native New Yorker, she often incorporates her favorite city into what she writes. During the day, while driving, watching endless YouTube videos, or animated shows with her offspring, she plots her stories. At night, when her husband and children go to sleep, Avery sits in a quiet house and puts those words on paper. She loves spending her down time creating a world filled with people loving and laughing their way to happily-ever-after.

She’d really love to hear from you!

Author Social Media Links

Website & Blog:  http://www.averyduran.com/ Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Avery-Duran/e/B018RE20I0 Facebook https://www.facebook.com/the.avery.duran Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TheAveryDuran Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/averyduran18/ Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/averyduran0234/ Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14742913.Avery_Duran BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/avery-duran

 

Giveaway

Win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

PLUS, enter to win a $5 Dreamspinner Gift Card. Simply tell us what one of your favorite adventures has been in the comments and you’ll be entered!

 

Other Tour Hosts

Dec 13: V’s Reads
Dec 14: Pointedly Blunt Reviews
Dec 15: Samantha Macleod
Dec 16: Ebs and Her Reads
Dec 17: Pick a Genre Already

Bobby and Paolo by Joe Cosentino

December 8, 2017

Bobby & Paolo

 

Dreamspinner Press was like a far-off panacea for me. I had read so many of their terrific novels, secretly wishing I could join the ranks of their talented writers. After majoring in theatre at college (you guessed it, I’m a drama queen), I acted professionally in film, television, and theatre opposite stars like Nathan Lane, Rosie O’Donnell, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. That morphed into becoming a playwright, director, and now college theatre professor/department chair. However, the thought of being a Dreamspinner Press author continued to haunt me. So, with laptop in hand I adapted my hit one-act play, An Infatuation, into a novella and sent it off to Dreamspinner Press with an email and a prayer. I was elated two months later when the contract arrived!

Many readers told me that novella made them laugh, cry, feel incredibly romantic, and remember their first love. That little story changed many people’s lives—including mine! Since An Infatuation was loosely based on my high school days, I next wrote a companion novella, A Shooting Star, loosely based on my college days. The two e-book novellas did so well that Dreamspinner Press released them together in my own paperback anthology, In My Heart (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention).

The writing bug had bitten. Dismayed that classic fairytales were vacant in terms of gay characters, I next had lots of fun writing The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Open Skye Book Reviews Favorite Audiobook of the Month), my comical gay take on my favorite fairytales. Dreamspinner Press published the first very popular e-book novella and audiobook (performed by the multi-talented Joel Leslie), and I just finished writing the second novella in the Adventures from Fairyland series now.

Finally, in recalling my amazing trip to the magical, gorgeous, and romantic island of Capri, I wrote a short novella also published by Dreamspinner Press, A Home for the Holidays. In the story, Bobby, a young, Italian American law student traveling to Capri during the winter holidays meets his quaint Italian relatives, and falls in love with his handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo. In reading the e-book novella and listening to Joel Leslie’s versatile performance in the audiobook, listeners felt as if they could see, hear, taste, and touch the captivating characters and romantic locations. Many also begged to find out what happens to new couple Bobby and Paolo after they leave Capri and head for Bobby’s home in Philadelphia. Since I was writing my two other popular MM series (the Nicky and Noah mysteries and Cozzi Cove), I thanked the readers for asking, and filed that away for future. The future is now in The Perfect Gift, Bobby and Paolo’s holiday story, book two, published by Dreamspinner Press.

The two-part novella begins a year after A Home for the Holiday ends. Bobby and Paolo are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and junior fashion designer. When Paolo proposes, Bobby’s family and friends are intent on giving the couple a gaudy, elaborate wedding against their wishes. Bobby and Paolo jump through quite a few holiday hoops and finally have their perfect December wedding (December Grooms). A year later, since it’s again Christmas time, the couple tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in their area featuring elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. They exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with Bobby’s eccentric family and hilarious friend Jared. While playing department store Santa, Bobby’s father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who Bobby assumes is his father’s replacement, brings the young couple to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Bobby and Paolo (An Unexpected Present)?

Will there be a third Bobby and Paolo holiday novella? It’s up to the readers. This time, if they ask, I’ll follow orders right away.

Thank you, readers, for your love, support, and requests for more Bobby and Paolo holiday stories. And thank you, Dreamspinner Press, for making my holiday wish come true. I hope everyone enjoys my special holiday gift novella to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love.

 

 

What reviewers said about A Home for the Holidays (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 1):

“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words

“Joe Cosentino’s holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays, delivers in every way that a romantic, feel-good story should. Every book I read by this author continuously pulls me in and wraps me up like a warm blanket.” Kathy Mac Reviews

“The one thing you can’t escape when reading Cosentino’s books is his humour; it’s what draws me back time and again to this author. Sometimes the humour is subtle, sometimes it’s unashamedly overt – every time it is hilarious.” Boy Meets Boy Reviews

I’m going to go on record saying that Joe Cosentino pretty much has me at hello. His writing style is incredibly smooth with beautiful details that never feel like too much or too little. Even in this very short story, I felt like I was right there in Capri with Bobby. Both the scenery and Bobby’s emotions are painted with lush, vivid detail…exceptional writing and beautifully gift-wrapped love story.” AM Leibowitz

 

 

Excerpt:

“Hi, Mom. What are you doing?”

“Sitting home alone like a dog.”

That’s Mom’s logic. If their house isn’t full of people eating and carrying on, she’s alone.

“Where’s Dad?”

“In his den, watching the game on TV as usual.”

I’m Bobby McGrath. Since this is my story, I should tell you more about myself. I have frizzy red hair, green eyes, and a swimmer’s body, thanks to the pool at my gym. The swimmer’s body is thanks to the pool. The red hair and green eyes are courtesy of my dad’s side of the family, which my mom calls the Bad Seed. And I passed the bar. I don’t mean I’m a recovering alcoholic. I aced my bar exam, and I’ve been a junior lawyer for nearly a year now.

“Bobby, are you listening to me or thinking about one of your cases?”

“I’m listening, Mom.” I sat on the window seat in my Victorian apartment’s turret and gazed out at the carolers appropriately dressed in Victorian garb as they sang in front of the department store across the street. That’s the department store where my father is manager and plays Santa every December. “How did Dad’s physical go with Dr. Sherman?”

“He said Dad’s overweight. Like we didn’t know. For that we shelled out a thirty-dollar co-pay.”

“Did you mention how Dad’s been forgetting a few things lately?”

“I told him how your father forgot to take out the garbage, sweep out the garage, and chase the squirrels out of our summerhouse in the backyard.”

I couldn’t help thinking Dad’s memory lapses were intentional.

“Dr. Sherman asked Dad some questions, like Dad’s birthdate and our anniversary.”

“And?”

“Your father never remembers things like that, so I answered for him.”

“Mom, you shouldn’t have—”

“Your father’s fine, except for an enlarged prostrate.”

“That’s prostate.”

“Don’t correct your mother, especially now.”

“What’s wrong?”

“You know I don’t like to burden you with my problems.”

“All right. I should get on my laptop to do some research for a—”

“I’m worried about your sister.”

“Which one?”

“Both of them.”

I took a sip of Lemon Zinger tea and braced myself for a long story.

“They work so hard at their jobs and taking care of the kids, they never see their husbands.”

My sisters’ know-it-all spouses? “Is that a bad thing?”

“Watch your mouth, mister. I’m your mother. In my day we never disrespected our parents, no matter how wrong they were about everything. And we never took drugs.”

“I don’t take drugs, Mom; neither does Paolo.”

“But plenty of young people today are drug addicts, Bobby. They say they’re nervous. If young people are nervous, they should do what I do, and take a Prozac.”

As Mom rambled on about the sad state of our youth, I glanced over at the antique cherry coffee table to a framed picture of Paolo and me smiling in front of the Mascobello villa in Capri, Italy. That’s where I met Paolo, when I visited my extended family. Don’t freak out. Paolo is a very distant cousin. He has dreamy sapphire eyes, wavy chestnut hair, more muscles than a daytime television star, and a little-boy pout that makes me want to take care of him for the rest of his life. Which I do. Since Paolo was quite the playboy in Capri, I had my doubts about our relationship. But we’ve been living in boyfriend bliss here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, for a year now.

 

Check out The Perfect Gift today!

 

PerfectGift[The]_postcard_front_DSP

Dreamspinner Press
Barnes & Noble
Amazon

 
Blurb:

Back in America after finding “A Home for the Holidays” and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?

The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.

 

Author Bio:

Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. 

http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/JoeCosentinoauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/JoeCosen
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4071647.Joe_Cosentino
Amazon: Author.to/JoeCosentino

Julia Talbot’s 5 Favorite TV/Film Shifters

December 8, 2017

julia talbot shifters

 

Hey, y’all!

I’m here to give you a little info about Fangs and Catnip, my very first Dreamspun Beyond from Dreamspinner Press.

Carter is the new manager at the Dead and Breakfast Inn, and he falls for vampire silent partner Fallon, who is sure they don’t need a were-cougar as a manager…

I love shifters. Love them. The owner of the Dead and Breakfast is a bear shifter named Tanner, and Carter is a mountain lion. If y’all love shifters like I do, stick around here for my five favorite shifters in movies and TV.

 

5. Teen Wolf. I love the whole cast, but I especially love Derek Hale, because he’s older, a little death wish obsessed, and obnoxiously hot. I like the Teen Wolf spin on were-ism, too, where they don’t fully shift unless *spoiler spoiler spoiler* they evolve.

4. David Kessler from An American Werewolf in London. Played by David Naughton. Plagued by the dead. He cracks me up, and the werewolf effects are so BAD now, but I still have love love love.

3. Paul Gallier in Cat People. OMG y’all. Yes, I am aware Malcom McDowell is old now. He wasn’t then, and as twisted as this whole movie is, he was omg hot. Like take me instead if her hot. See it! Uhn.

2. The Harry Potter shifters. Prof. McGonagall turns into a cat. Remus Lupin is a werewolf, Sirius Black is a grim… This makes me happy. I love a magical world where shifters are varied and are not all young and broad shouldered and man boobie popping…

1. Oz, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Oh, Oz. Let me count the ways I love you. Oz was an accidental werewolf. (check trope, boop.) He was completely willing to be chained up during the full moon. (Bondage. Boop.) The one thing he loves the most is the thing that sets him off (tragic hero. Boop) He’s played by Seth Green with this immense humor and subtlety. (boop) Oz is the most like the shifters I write off all of these, and that’s why he’s #1.

 

XXOO

Julia Talbot

 

Check out Fangs and Catnip today!

 

perf4.250x7.000.indd

 

Blurb:

A romance worth fighting for—tooth and claw.

Solitary vampire Fallon Underwood gets all the social interaction he needs being the silent partner at the Dead and Breakfast B and B high in the Colorado mountains. Change is hard for Fallon, so when his business partner, Tanner, suggests hiring a new manager for the inn, he’s adamant that they don’t need help, especially not in the form of bouncy werecat Carter Hughes.

Carter is a happy-go-lucky kitty, and he loves the hospitality industry, so the D and B ought to be a great place for him. He falls for Fallon as soon as he picks up one of Fallon’s novels, and begins to woo the vamp with gifts. When Fallon finally succumbs to Carter’s feline charms, the results are unexpected, to say the least. Their mating will have irreversible consequences—for their bodies and their hearts.

 

Author Bio:

Stories that leave a mark. Julia Talbot loves romance across all the genders and genres, and loves to write about people working to see past the skin they’re in to love what lies beneath. Julia Talbot lives in the great mountain and high desert Southwest, where there is hot and cold running rodeo, cowboys, and everything from meat and potatoes to the best Tex-Mex. A full time author, Julia has been published by Dreamspinner and Changeling Press among many others. She believes that everyone deserves a happy ending, so she writes about love without limits, where boys love boys, girls love girls, and boys and girls get together to get wild, especially when her crazy paranormal characters are involved. She also writes BDSM and erotic romance as Minerva Howe. Find Julia at @juliatalbot on Twitter, or at www.juliatalbot.com “The mountains are calling, and I must go”

www.juliatalbot.com
https://twitter.com/juliatalbot
https://www.facebook.com/juliatalbotauthor

CC Bridges’s Last Stop on the Tour + Giveaways

December 6, 2017

CC Bridges

 

Thank you all for joining me on the last stop on this blog tour! Stick around until the end for not one, but two different giveaways (one exclusive to this blog!).

I love writing science fiction, because I love creating and exploring new worlds. The thing about the setting in Angel 1089, is that it’s not a far off planet. But rather it’s our own Earth, scarred by natural disasters, to the point where the privileged have abandoned the planet to live in cities floating in the clouds.

But the people down below haven’t given up. They’ve scavenged and formed their own version of society. This cobbled-together world is where Gabriel 1089 finds himself trapped, prevented from returning to the floating city of Heaven after losing one of his wings in a fight with demons.

Jeff Werth, the man who rescued Gabriel, opens his eyes to this new world. And while Jeff and Gabriel grow closer, Gabriel also comes to love the city itself, and the people who’ve fought to make a new world here: Jeff runs a junkyard and helps fix old equipment, Ronnie runs a restaurant/community center to keep the people together, Hank and Ian provide their own form of entertainment. Can Gabriel find his place here?

 

Giveaway time! To win a signed paperback copy of Angel 1089, leave a comment on this post answering this question: What job do you think you’d want to have in a post-apocalyptic society? Winners will be chosen Dec 11th, 12:01 am EST.

To win one of four $10 Dreamspinner gift certificates, check out the following link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/16f80d4e4/?

 

Excerpt

Gabriel followed Trixie out of the truck, feeling very small as Jeff drove away. Since he’d awoken in Old Trent, Jeff had been the one constant fixture.

Kayla took his hand, her skin warm. Perhaps he was the one made wrong, his own body temperature too cold for humans. Unmodded humans, dammit. He was still human.

“Don’t go too far,” Kayla told him. “It’s easy to get lost if you’ve never been here before.”

As she led him through the walkway between the fences, he grinned at how she’d taken on the adult role. He resolved to hold on very tightly, knowing he would be lost if he didn’t have her. Trixie trotted along on Kayla’s other side.

Once they passed through the gate—and there was no checkpoint to keep anyone out—the market stretched before them, a maze of tents and stalls, filled with items of every color imaginable, on racks, in piles, thrown on the ground, hanging from hooks and poles. Some tables held tiny mechanical parts—neural nodes with twisted wires, specialized circuits, and in one case an old-fashioned metal hand, probably from back before synth-skin was invented. Others displayed anything from decorative jewelry to old rubber tires, pipes, and water purifiers. Gabriel saw crates clearly marked with the Heaven Corp logo, and he clenched his fists. So this was where the demons disposed of their thievery.

People gathered around barrels of fire, selling whatever meat they were roasting. The scent burned his nose and made his belly roil, nothing like the bland nutricubes he’d grown used to eating. Still, it smelled far better than the pit of garbage they circled around, surrounded by flies and bees and other creatures Gabriel didn’t look at too closely.

They lived so differently, these people of the earth. They were dirty and rank, they ate animal flesh, and they were loud, crowding in on Gabriel as he and Kayla tried to move past the more popular stands. He hunched his shoulders in, afraid of strangers walking past, not wanting anyone to accidentally brush his wing. He wanted no one but Jeff touching him.

He could almost feel Jeff’s hands on him now, running down his back and making him shiver. Kayla looked up at him, and Gabriel realized he’d actually shuddered. What was it about Jeff that made Gabriel want that gentle caress again?

 

Check out Angel 1089 today!

 

Angel1089_postcard_front_DSP

Dreamspinner
Amazon
Kobo
Barnes and Noble

 

Blurb

A deal with the devil….

Gabriel 1089 is an angel—an enhanced and cybernetically modified human designed to protect the city in the sky called Heaven. He follows Heaven’s orders and fights its enemies. But when an attack by demons leaves him trapped on the earth below, missing both a metal wing and his network-enabled halo, he’s cut off from his home for good and at the mercy of one man.

Jeff Werth is used to demons in need of his mechanical expertise showing up on the doorstep of the junkyard he runs in Old Trent. However, he doesn’t expect to be stuck with an injured angel. Jeff owes the demons for saving his daughter’s life, so he does what they demand—he nurses the angel back to health and keeps close track of him as a possible pawn in the high-stakes war between Heaven above and the demons below. But he doesn’t expect the effect Gabe has on his heart, or having to choose between his daughter and the man he’s come to love.

 

Bio

CC Bridges is a mild-mannered librarian by day, but by night she writes about worlds of adventure and romance. When she’s not busy solving puzzles in an escape room, she can be found diving into comics or binge-watching superhero movies. She writes surrounded by books, spare computing equipment, a fluffy dog, and a long-suffering husband in the state of New Jersey. In 2011, she won a Rainbow Award for best gay sci-fi/futuristic novel.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ccbridgeswriter
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ccbridgeswriter
Blog: http://blog.ccbridges.net/
Website: http://www.ccbridges.net

Sucker for Submission Calls by Kris T. Bethke

December 5, 2017

 

Sucker for Submission Calls

Hi there! I’m Kris T. Bethke, and I’m here to talk about how my new release, Hearts and Hazelnuts came to be.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I’m a sucker for submission calls. And when I saw the one for the States of Love collection, I was hooked. I loved the idea of a romance taking place in each of the 50 states, and was quick to put in a claim. But authors were claiming states so fast, I missed out on my first choice.

(It was New York, for those who are curious. Both because it’s where I’m from, and because I wanted to showcase a part of the state that wasn’t New York City. Don’t get me wrong, NYC is amazing. But there’s more to the state that just that. :D )

So I thought I was destined to miss out on this collection. Some months later, I was trolling through the list again (because I was curious) and I saw Montana was back up for grabs. This time I was a little more cautious, but I had a story in my head that would be perfect. So I put it together, planned it out, and sent it in.

And was once again denied, because someone else was quicker than me.

I was disappointed, sure. But I knew whomever had both of these states would do a great job, and I once again thought I was destined not to be a part of the collection.

Fast forward to October of last year, when I thought I’d take a look at the list again. I wanted to see what was claimed and contracted, and what stories I would have to look forward to as a reader. And I was totally surprised to see a few states up for grabs again. And one of them was Oregon.

Cue the spotlight and the ringing bells.

I’ve long had a love affair with the Pacific Northwest, and Oregon and Portland in particular. There was a fire in my belly to write this story, but I wanted to find something that would set it apart. A lot of research later, I had my answer. Hazelnuts. And a whole story to go with it.

But this time, I hemmed and hawed about sending in the claim. I knew, right down to my toes, that I’d get denied again. Still, nothing ventured, nothing gained, so I put together my synopsis, sent in the claim, and held my breath.

Turns out, third time really is the charm.

For the next three months, I lived and breathed Oregon. Arm chair traveled and researched, got into my MCs’ heads and really found out what made them tick. I wrote massive revisions when they were asked for, and the result is something I’m supremely proud of.

Jordan and Beck fall in love with each other while already being in love with their home state. And I fell in love too. All over again.

I may have been disappointed in the beginning of my journey, but in the end, I was telling the story that needed to be told. Right place, right time, everything fell into place. And I couldn’t be happier with the result.

Has that ever happened to you?

 

Check out Hearts and Hazelnuts today!

 

HeartsandHazelNuts_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.

Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

 

Author Bio:

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head, and weekend naps are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with a very fluffy cat and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal. Kris believes that love is love, no matter the gender of the people involved, and that all love deserves to be celebrated. And she loves to hear from readers, so feel free to drop her a line.
Email: kristbethke@gmail.com
Blog: kristbethke.com
Twitter: @KrisTBethke
Facebook: www.facebook.com/people/Kris-T-Bethke/100014524539852

 

 

Why Superheroes? by Charles Payseur

November 30, 2017

Why superheroes

 

With the release of my third Spandex and Superpowers story, Comic Book Romance, it’s a question that’s been on my mind a lot recently. I mean, superheroes are hot (in more ways than one). You can’t go to the movies without tripping over a crowd of superhero properties, and television and other media have certainly followed suit. But then, as much as I love seeing superheroes on the big (and little) screen, there’s a part of me that can’t help but be a little…disappointed. Not just that these stories steer well clear of containing any M/M relationships despite dripping with attractive guys with bulging muscles and sizzling smiles. But that they are mostly rather…dark. Now, some have attempted to put a lighter side to things, even a funnier side to things, but most of them involve hundreds if not thousands of dead bodies and plotlines that rely on pain, trauma, and loss.

 

So why superheroes?

 

Well, I grew up with them. Not the current crop of films and not the older movies either. I grew up with Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. The show was delightful, fun, and full of campy storylines that involved danger and risk, yes, but that also kept things light and romantic, and never got lost in the angst or pathos. Plus, well, Dean Cain. But when I think of why I am drawn to writing superheroes, it’s to channel that sense of fun, that sense of campy adventures and over the top villains. Of daring-dos and secret identities that really don’t seem that secret. That don’t take themselves entirely seriously. And that’s why I started writing the Spandex and Superpowers series. I wanted to imagine a more modern setting, where crowd-funding and day jobs are still very much a consideration, but where the heroes and villains hadn’t taken on quite so much of an edge.

 

So I write about talking alien gorillas and ancient shark gods and volcano machines and villains who enjoy a good maniacal laugh. And, most of all, I write about heroes and villains finding some connection, finding something truly magical to keep them going (and no, I don’t mean mystic hammers). I write about superheroes because when their lives are so much larger than life, then so to must be their loves. And there’s something deeply satisfying about writing about a certain superhero reporter meeting his match in a man who doesn’t have powers, but makes up for it in will, tenacity, and an amazing ass.

 

Comic Book Romance is my third story, and the longest in the series to date (though still very much a quick read). It follows Calvin Kant as he moves to a new city and gets a new lease on life…while in the middle of a supervillain prison break. I always have lots of fun writing these stories and they can stand completely on their own, so you can start wherever you want. There’s even more on the way, with a fourth story coming out as part of the 2017 Advent Calendar. Definitely keep your eyes open for “The Werewolf Before Christmas.”

 

In the mean time, I’d love to hear your answer to “Why Superheroes?” Why do you love them, or hate them? Are you drawn to the heroic chuckle of Adam West’s Batman, or the chiseled lightning of Chris Hemsworth’s Thor? And what kinds of heroes (or villains) would you love to see get an M/M treatment?

 

Check out Comic Book Romance today!

 

ComicBookRomance_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:
A maximum-security supervillain prison plus a new colleague with a reputation for attracting trouble. What could possibly go wrong?
Calvin Kant is what anyone would want in a reporter—an excellent typist, a dogged investigator, and an upstanding citizen. Oh, and a superhero. At least, his alter ego, Maxim, is. Fleeing a messy situation at his last job, Cal arrives in Capital City without much direction—until fellow reporter Liang Lu sweeps him into a dangerous assignment.
A supervillain prison break leaves them trapped and in peril, with Cal juggling his growing attraction to Liang with his need to protect his secret identity. And that mess Cal’s running from could catch up with him at exactly the wrong moment, leaving him vulnerable. Luckily Liang’s got more than good looks going for him, and together the two men might just save the day—and each other—and find their own comic book romance.

 

Author Bio:
Charles Payseur currently resides in the frozen reaches of Wisconsin, where his partner, a gaggle of pets, and more craft beer than is strictly healthy help him through the long winters. He works an incredibly boring day job so that his nights can be filled with spaceships, magic, and attractive men kissing (and maybe a bit more than kissing…). His work can also be found at Less Than Three Press, Lethe Press, Circlet Press, and in Lightspeed Magazine’s Queers Destroy Science Fiction!
When not writing fiction and poetry, he contributes to a number of blogs and review sites, and runs a home for his thoughts on short speculative fiction at Quick Sip Reviews (www.quicksipreviews.blogspot.com). On Twitter as @ClowderofTwo, he annoys the internet with far too many cat pictures and cocktail recipes.
He can also be reached at:
Twitter: @ClowderofTwo

The ’90s to Now w/ Ken Harrison

November 29, 2017

90s to now

 

Linear Park may not be the first time my fiction has been in print, but it feels like the first time. This is probably due to the fact that my last published book was in 2002, a collection of erotic short stories titled Ten Thick Inches. It was my third published short story collection, the other two being Daddy’s Boys in 1998, and Young, Hung & Ready for Action in 2001. Here it is, fifteen years later, and I have that same sense of pride and wonderment that I had when I published my first book. Although the feelings may be the same, the publishing process has changed quite a bit.

204430_4687022376634_1375419721_o

Back in 1998 you had to send out notices well before your title was released asking for interviews and reviews in physical newspapers and magazines. You also had to call bookstores and ask if you could have a promotional event. It took a lot of time and effort to coordinate all of it. The list of newspapers and bookstores was like gold, so you kept it close and safe.

My most memorable event was at an independent bookstore in Sacramento, CA called The Open Book. It was held in the coffee shop, which was on a raised level overlooking the bookstore. I was promoting Ten Thick Inches at the time and read the last story in the collection. As I read, people shopping stopped and listened, and some of them came into the coffee shop and sat. Of all the events I’d done, that will always be my favorite.

When I self-published Ten Thick Inches to raise funds to begin Seventh Window and to move into publishing, I had no idea how much was about to change. I then published two books by MJ Pearson, The Price of Temptation and Discreet Young Gentleman, both of which sold well and gave me a sense of pride.

In 2007, while I was working with NL Gassert on The Protector, my five-year relationship had fallen apart due to my partner’s heavy drinking and my refusal to see the problems staring me in the face. My own issues with alcoholism were beginning to show, but I was too wrapped up in anxiety, depression and fear to notice.

By the time The Protector came out in 2008, I was renting a room from a friend and working on promoting it the old fashion way. It was all I knew, and I was working on auto-pilot. Not only that, but I had cases of books in storage and print sales were on the decline.

By 2010 I had taught myself how to code an e-book using HTML and CSS. I’d also learned enough Photoshop to save money on book covers by designing them myself. But it was too late. While I was stewing in a dark place, publishing changed, and I was too far behind to catch up.

Despite some successes with titles by Xavier Axelson, Drake Braxton and Brian Centrone, I still couldn’t compete. Other presses had rightfully staked their claim in the market while I was still getting my footing in the new business structure. My drinking was also getting worse, bringing back memories of my failed five-year relationship. I was alone, scared, lost and drinking more often with each passing day. How long would it be until it all fell apart?

In March of 2015 I had had enough and took the first step to sobriety. While in recovery I met a tall, dark and handsome man named Randon. We became friends, texting, hanging out and talking about our lives and our past. One of the first things he said to me was, “I can’t be friends with you if you’re going to drink.” I liked his blatant honesty.

By the summer of 2015, Randon and I began talking on the phone and texting every day. By August I brought him to Colt State Park, where we talked about how much we loved Karen Black and the film, Burnt Offerings. It was at that point when we realized we were more than friends.

In December of 2015, I decided to close the publishing company and become what I called a regular person. It was a difficult decision, one that broke my heart. I had spent years trying to keep the company afloat and felt as if I was letting myself down and the authors I’d worked with. Randon was there to listen and remind me of the success I’d had with publishing, and let me know that I wasn’t a loser. I sure felt like one.

For the next year and half, Randon was concerned about me. He felt that I seemed lost, like I didn’t know what do with myself. Although he was concerned, he didn’t push or make a big deal out of it.

In August 2016, Randon moved in with me. Getting him situated and comfortable kept me occupied, but I was still searching for a project to make me feel fulfilled. Randon mentioned writing something, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to that. Although Randon insisted that my closing the publishing company didn’t mean I failed, in my mind it did. The last thing I wanted to do was go back to it.

And then the seed of a story using Linear Park as a backdrop planted itself in my mind, but I wasn’t sure I wanted to write it. It wasn’t until I was looking for something to read and went to the Dreamspinner web site that I thought about writing again. I don’t know what made me look at the Publish with Us section, but I did. And there it was, a call for submissions for a line of books called States of Love. And yes, under the list of unclaimed states was Rhode Island. Although I told myself not to bother, all I could think about was Linear Park.

I didn’t tell Randon about the story. I wrote the first draft in short bursts when he was sleeping, I tend to be an early riser. A couple of times he woke up to the sound of me frantically slamming at the keyboard, but he never said anything. He hadn’t mentioned it until I was done with the first draft and told him about the submission guidelines for States of Love. He was thrilled.

I composed the query letter, read it to Randon and had him by my side when I sent it off. When they wanted to see the story, Randon was there when I emailed it. It was an exciting time and I felt the need to remind Randon that they may not accept it. All he said was, “They’ll take it. It’s good.”

Dreamspinner did accept Linear Park, which gave me a sense of pride I hadn’t felt in a very long time. Also, while going through the editing process, Randon and I were married. It was a small ceremony in City Hall, quiet and simple. The way we wanted it. We refinanced the house to put his name on the deed and are now making plans to renovate portions of it. We’re supporting each other and building a life together.

IMG_20170814_113257

And now Linear Park is out, Randon is by my side; I’m working on another book, and living a sober life. Everything has come around, back to where it all started. It’s as if I have a second chance at life.  Who says dreams can’t come true?

 

Check out Linear Park today!

 

LinearPark_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.

When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

 

Author Bio:

Back in the nineties, Ken Harrison wrote erotic short stories for several gay skin magazines and published three short story collections (Daddy’s Boys; Young, Hung and Ready for Action; and Ten Thick Inches). He stopped writing in 2001 to start a small press, Seventh Window Publications, and worked with several great authors and artists. He closed Seventh Window Publications in December 2015. After a year and a half away, he realized that publishing was a big part of his life and went back to writing.

When he isn’t writing, he enjoys cooking, web design, blowing bubbles in the park, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining. Halloween is his favorite holiday and his house is a popular stop for the neighborhood kids. He believes that the only thing better than telling a good story is watching people enjoy his food.

Ken lives in Rhode Island with his husband, who is an avid reader.

Blog: booksandbytes.blog
Instagram: www.instagram.com/ken9063
Twitter: @Ken_Harrison

Define Romance by SJD Peterson

November 28, 2017

 

Define Romance

 

Growing up with Disney I believed in fairy tales, Prince Charming, and happily ever after’s. Hearts and flowers defined romance for me. My daughter however, had a different view. She grew up loving horror movies, especially Resident Evil. Her idea of romance was marrying Leon and the two of them riding off into the sunset and taking out a horde of zombies along the way.

Throughout the years, my definition of romance has changed. In my twenties and early thirties, a romantic evening was one in which the kids went to bed early and my man and I curled up on the couch with a big bowl of popcorn. When the kids were teenagers, date nights were a must and a weekend getaway even better to keep the romance fresh. Now that I’m a single empty nester, it’s back to Disney. Just like my youth, the only Prince Charming in my life is when I pull out old VHS tapes of Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella.

In my newest novel Romance Redefined Ben and Hugh have yet another definition of Romance. Problem is, Ben’s definition is the polar opposite of Hugh’s.

 

Check out Romance Redefined today!

 

RomanceRedefined_postcard_front_DSP

 

Blurb:

Opposites attract, but are some differences too drastic for a romance to survive?

On the surface, Benson Howard Winthrop III and Hugh Bayard have a lot in common: they’re young, handsome, and blessed to be one of the wealthiest couples in the country. Surely they have everything anyone could want. But Ben is no longer satisfied with their long-running relationship. Hugh’s need to control every situation is suffocating him, and Ben needs to know if he can make it on his own merits by following his passion.

But Ben’s mother isn’t about to let her son live in a rundown apartment as a struggling actor. She’s determined to get him back to his rightful place at the top of the social ladder—and back with Hugh.

Rekindling their romance will require more than doing what’s expected. Ben and Hugh need to understand and embrace each other’s differences. They’ll have to support each other even when one makes a decision the other doesn’t agree with. For their passionate love to grow, they will need to redefine the meaning of romance… only then can they find true happiness.

 

So, what about you? How do you define Romance? Leave a comment and one lucky person will win their choice of an ebook copy from my backlist. Good Luck!

~Hugs~

Jo

J

Meet Jo Peterson

SJD Peterson, better known as Jo, hails from Michigan. Not the best place to live for someone who hates the cold and snow. When not reading or writing, Jo can be found close to the heater checking out NHL stats and watching the Red Wings kick a little butt. Can’t cook, misses the clothes hamper nine out of ten tries, but is handy with power tools.

FACEBOOK | WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

AUTHORS AMAZON PAGE